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Apple poised to slash prices

Price cuts of up to 27 percent on Power Macs are expected within the next few days; the rest of the lineup will see changes later in February.

    Apple (AAPL) is set to announce price cuts of up to 27 percent on its Power Macintosh line of computers within the next few days, and the rest of the lineup will see a price update later in February.

    Power Macintoshes are Apple's systems for business and institutional users such as publishers, engineers, and multimedia content producers.

    The top-of-the-line Power Mac 9500s feature the PowerPC 604e processors, which are roughly equivalent to Pentium Pro processors from Intel. All of the Power Macintoshes include Ethernet connections for networking.

    The 9500/200, featuring a 200-MHz 604e Power PC processor, is currently priced at $4199 and is expected to see its price cut by 20 to 23 percent. The 8500/180, with a 604e PowerPC processor, and 8500/150, with a 604 PowerPC processor, are currently priced at $3699 and $2999 respectively; these are expected to get price cuts of up to 27 percent. All other models will receive similar cuts.

    Apple is expected to reduce prices on its other current models to make way for new models with increased processor speeds and other minor enhancements. At the top of the line, the 9500--used in medical, scientific, and publishing markets--will be replaced by the 9600, which will be offered in single and dual-processor versions with the 200-MHz 604e. It will be upgradable to faster processors as they become available.

    Both the 9600 series and 8600 series, the predecessor to the 8500, will be housed in a new chassis that has been designed for easier access to components such as memory and drive bays.

    Apple declined to confirm the price-cut ranges.