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Rumor has Apple updating Mac Mini

Long-overdue upgrade expected at next month's Macworld Expo, according to a report that cited an anonymous Apple employee.

Apple will announce an upgraded Mac Mini, according to a rumor reported by

Apple will announce a long-overdue upgrade to its Mac Mini during the Macworld Expo next month, according to a report.

The report was attributed to an alleged corporate employee at Apple who wished to remain anonymous--"to keep his job," Wired noted. While he was apparently comfortable disclosing that a new desktop would be announced in January, he balked at disclosing any other details.

Rumors have been circulating for more than a year that Apple was getting ready to kill the little cube, and Gizmodo speculated that the end was near when it reported in October that two European retailers were told they can no longer order the $599 box from Apple. However, it's possible Apple was simply gearing up to update the internal hardware in the Mac Mini, which has languished for quite a while with outdated chips.

The Mac Mini was an experiment in affordability and minimalism on Apple's part back in 2005. The small desktop was initially a hit with critics and consumers, but as the world's PC preferences tilted strongly in favor of notebooks over the last several years, Apple spent more time updating and promoting the MacBook and iMac all-in-one desktops than the cute little cube.

The Mini could desperately use a hardware boost, but Apple has made clear that it considers mobile computing the future of its business, and the Mac Mini simply doesn't fit in to that strategy.

CNET News' Tom Krazit contributed to this report.