10.01.12 - Mark
I usually don't put much faith in any Mac Rumor, but this one on sub $500 Macs piqued my interests for a number of reasons.
First is that selling a PC weenie on the quality of macs isn't that hard, especially when compared to selling the same users on forking over $1000 for low end hardware .You can argue until you're blue in the face but its generally fruitless (no pun intended) unless you want to try and sell used hardware - and thats even tougher. You really have to give Macs out for free before you'll convince most PC users (I've personally handed out a half dozen used Macs, and I know people who have given brand new powerbooks to stubborn PC users) A $500 Mac will do wonders for the market share.
Secondly is the feasibility of it. Is it possible. I think it is. Look at video game consoles and where they are at. An xBox will easily run Linux and costs just over $150 now and about $300 at first launch. These things already pack hard drives, USB, DVD optical drives, great video chipsets and CPUs that can run a GUI interface. Even the next xBox is slated to pack a IBM 970 processor (aka a G5) So is this rumor really far off? The cost of installing the OS and applications is negligible since Apple made that as well. The cost of adding a G4 or G5 into the mix will up the cost some as will a modem and ethernet - but those can't be more than $10 for a major company to add. So say apple pays $400 for each one, at $500 they're making a profit in addition to market share.
True we won't know for a couple weeks yet, but of the many rumors out there this one is interesting to say the least.