Although Apple just posted some ridiculous quarterly numbers, it doesn't seem like it's going to escape the current economic conditions in the US unscathed -- like pretty much everyone else, monthly sales are down in Cupertino, according to the NPD Group. The drop is only one percent total, but it's against a two percent rise in overall PC sales, which could indicate that Apple's premium pricing is hurting it as shoppers turn to netbooks and other bargain machines. That dovetails nicely with chatter we're hearing today about updated Mac minis making a debut at Macworld -- although Steve famously proclaimed that Apple doesn't "know how to make a $500 machine that's not a piece of junk" during the last earnings call, it sure sounds like he's going to try, with a $499 2.0GHz mini in a new MacBook-esque unibody enclosure rumored to arrive onstage in January. If you believe Wired, it'll be accompanied by a $700 2.3GHz version with NVIDIA graphics, and both models will feature mini DisplayPorts -- nothing shocking there. We'll see when we see -- we've been waiting for the mini to be updated forever, and while Apple did just uncharacteristically slam rumors of a new model, times like these could lead to drastic measures.
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