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Apple abandons Cube?

Hub masterplan loses... Hub

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The fate of Apple's glorious experiment of aesthetics over commonsense, the G4 Cube, appears to be as good as sealed.

MacUser UK reports that the 25-strong Cube team has been disbanded, leaving short term speed bumps as the only path for the ground-breaking computer. The Cube won rave reviews on its debut, with WSJ curmudgeon Walt Mossberg describing it as "simply the most gorgeous personal computer I've ever seen or used".

But the public stayed away. Barely 100,000 souls have bought a Cube, and despite heavy discounts, souped-up software bundles and CD-RW upgrades, sales continue to underwhelm.

A Bay Area reseller last week told us that despite the upgrade and price cuts, interest remained way below launch levels (the store had no Cubes on display), and MacWorld also reports that Apple has bought back 3000 Cubes from CompUSA, which acts as Apple's prime Stateside retail shopfront.

"When you sell only a couple of Cubes in a month, no price decrease in the world will matter," said one CompUSA salesman, according to the report.

Despite positioning itself as a digital consumer entertainment 'hub' in recent talks, Apple appears to be walking away from its most hub-like product: certainly the only PC from any manufacturer which doesn't actually look like a computer. And Cube-as-hub is a role it performs admirably... we can vouch for this.

Your correspondent is filing this story on a G4 Cube (no freebie), which is making less noise than the adjacent radiator, and no less reliable.

With original Be boxes now fetching $3000 on eBay, perhaps its time to invest in a Cube - not just for its utility, but for the potential antique value. We'll be sorry to see it go. ®

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