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Apple to offer Cube rebates, retailers say

Faced with lower-than-anticipated sales, the company is planning to unveil rebates later this week on its recently introduced PowerMac G4 Cube, according to Macintosh retailers.

    Faced with lower-than-anticipated sales, Apple Computer plans to unveil rebates later this week on its recently introduced PowerMac G4 Cube, according to Macintosh retailers.

    Apple Power Mac G4 Cube
    Apple plans to offer a $300 rebate to consumers who buy a PowerMac G4 Cube along with an Apple monitor, according to resellers familiar with Apple's plans. One of the dealers said that Apple is also going to offer $200 rebates on its PowerBook line of notebook computers.

    With the rebate, the price of the lowest-end Cube drops to $1,499, not including a monitor.

    An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

    The apparent move comes less than two weeks after Apple warned that revenue in the quarter that ended Sept. 30 would be "substantially below expectations" because of weak September sales. Apple will have more to say when it reports its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings Oct. 18.

    The Cube has not lived up to expectations in its short life. Apple touted the Cube in a national TV ad campaign when it unveiled the product this summer. Sales have been slow, however. In fact, Apple cited weaker-than-anticipated sales of the Cube as one of the causes of the company's slowdown.

    David Bailey, an analyst at Gerard Klauer Mattison, said rebates would be a swift response to disappointing demand.

    "If they were to do it, I think it would be welcome," Bailey said, adding that a rebate might increase interest in the Cube heading into the holiday gift-buying season. "It appears that initial weak demand for the Cube was somewhat caused by the price being high."

    Consumers have also complained about "mold lines," or hairline seams, in the clear cubical case that arguably mar the industrial design.

    A drop in the PowerBook price would also make sense, Bailey said. "It's been quite awhile since the PowerBook has been refreshed," he said.

    Apple shares have fallen more than 60 percent since the company issued its warning. On Wednesday, shares closed down $1.25 at $19.63.

    On Monday, Apple announced that Mitch Mandich, senior vice president of worldwide sales, would retire at the end of the year. An Apple spokeswoman on Tuesday declined to comment on whether his departure was related to the sales skid.

    News.com's Jeff Pelline contributed to this report.