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Apple drops prices on higher-end Cubes

Having trouble rolling its Power Mac G4 Cube out the door, Apple cuts the price by $300 on the two fastest models of its sleek desktop machine.

    Looking to boost demand for its slow-selling Power Mac G4 Cube, Apple Computer has cut $300 off the price of the sleek desktop machine's two fastest models.

    The move, made over the weekend, cuts to $1,999 the price of the 500MHz Cube with a 30GB hard drive and 128MB of memory. A pricier model with a more powerful ATI Radeon graphics card, a larger--40GB--hard drive and 256MB of memory now sells for $2,399, down from $2,699. Both models are primarily available through Apple's online store.

    The price cut is the latest move to boost sales of the Cube line, which has sold only about one-third as many units as Apple had expected. Although Apple has pared much of its inventory glut to near-normal levels, executives said during last month's earnings conference call that the company will probably take until the end of March to reduce the excess supply of Cubes at retailers and distributors.

    CEO Steve Jobs reiterated his commitment to the unit at Apple's analyst meeting last week, saying the unit has found a niche among high-end consumers who appreciate its quietness, compact size and elegant design.

    The original 500MHz version, now the midlevel Cube, sold for $2,499 when it was introduced in July. The price was sliced when Apple launched a rebate on the Cube in November. A price cut made the rebate permanent in January.

    The third Cube in the product line, an entry-level model with a 450MHz processor, was priced at $1,799 when it was introduced in July. It has since been discounted with rebates and price cuts to $1,499.