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Apple's Mac Mini gets long-awaited refresh, starts at $499

The computer, for which you have to supply your own display and keyboard, hadn't been updated in two years.

Now playing: Watch this: Check out the new Mac Mini

Apple's Mac Mini, an entry-level Mac that requires users to bring their own keyboard, monitor, and mouse, has now been updated after two years of being ignored.

The new computer, unveiled Thursday an an Apple press event, features a fourth-generation Intel Core processor, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, and Intel's Iris and HD Graphics 5000. The computer previously started at $599, but Apple has dropped the price of the device to $499. The new Mac Mini starts shipping Thursday.

Apple also spiffed up its Mac lineup with a new 27-inch iMac that sports a Retina 5K display , among other updates.

Apple's new (and cheaper) Mac Mini Tim Stevens/CNET

Thursday's event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., was a modest and low-key affair, especially compared to the one that preceded it just a month ago. In September, Apple showed off two larger iPhones , both now available, and the Apple Watch , due in early 2015, in a flashy event that also featured the band U2.

While the iPhone is Apple's dominant revenue engine -- contributing to more than half of its sales -- the company is eager to bolster its other businesses. Front and center is its tablet lineup, which also got refresh Thursday with two new models, the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 . The iPad may be Apple's second biggest moneymaker at about 15 percent to 20 percent of revenue, but the device hasn't been selling as well as it used to.

At the same time, Apple's Mac business remains important, particularly as Apple makes its various devices work better together. While Apple has spoken against hybrid devices that switch between computers and tablets, its latest computer operating system, OS X Yosemite , includes features that allow users to "hand off" tasks. That includes letting users start a program -- such as writing an email or composing a text -- on an iPhone and then finish it on an iPad or Mac.

The Mac business now generates less than 15 percent of Apple's revenue from Macs. Apple in July reported Mac unit sales rose 18 percent to 4.4 million in the quarter ended June 28. CEO Tim Cook said the Mac boosted Apple's overall financial results, and the company saw strong sales in some regions weak for other PC makers.

Apple hasn't yet reported its most recent quarter -- that comes on Monday -- but research firm IDC last week said the company moved into the No. 5 ranking for global PC sales in the calendar third quarter. For the past several years, Apple has controlled a much smaller chunk of the market, but its sleek designs, such as the MacBook Air, have attracted customers.