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This week in gadgets

Logo - NY TimesJanuary 21, 2005 | The New York Times

By Steven Musil, Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Despite its booming sales, the iPod isn’t impressing everyone.

Dell Chief Executive Kevin Rollins is dismissing the iPod as a “fad” and claiming the new Mac Mini won’t dent the PC market. In an interview, Rollins said that the number of headlines Apple grabs does not worry him and that the company isn’t “in the same league” as Dell.

“It’s interesting the iPod has been out for three years and it’s only this past year it’s become a raging success,” Rollins said. “Well, those things that become fads rage, and then they drop off.” But Rollins was careful to add that this wasn’t meant as any kind of disparagement of Apple. “They’ve done a nice job,” he said.

There’s also rancor in the ranks of Mac fans, as European shoppers petition Apple to bring EU pricing for the Mac Mini more in line with that of the United States. The petition’s writers also claim the higher EU pricing is counterproductive for Apple’s business strategy and will serve to discourage potential PC-to-Mac switchers.

The Mac Mini sells for $499 in the United States–around 268 pounds. However, the same Mac in the United Kingdom costs 339 pounds, or about $632.

Rumors of the Mac Mini’s imminent unveiling at last week’s Macworld Expo landed a 19-year-old Harvard student in big trouble with Apple. Apple sued the publisher of Mac enthusiast site Think Secret and other unnamed individuals, alleging that recent postings on the site contain Apple trade secrets.

Nicholas Ciarelli, the publisher and editor of Think Secret, warned earlier this week that he would be struggling to pay for his defense. His plea for help did not go unheard.

Ciarelli said in a later article on his site that he is being represented free of charge by Terry Gross, a lawyer who once represented the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an agency that is backing two other Macintosh sites that are in Apple’s legal crosshairs.