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Rumor: mini packaging and an Apple event

Update 7:30p: More of our friends around the Mac web are starting to dig out the details on the expected hardware updates tomorrow, and they could be substantial. MacRumors, Hardmac, Engadget Onemorething.nl are all pointing to the following details:

2 new Mac mini models, with USB and display configuration matching the spy shots (color us surprised!)

4 iMac models, with an entry-level 20" and 3 high-powered 24" SKUs

MacPro refresh including 16-core models (!)

DisplayPort standard across the line, and minor updates to the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule

We'll be waiting eagerly by the Apple Store door...

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It's time to take part in a late winter tradition. I don't mean digging out from beneath another Nor'Easter. We're talking Apple rumor time, and we've got two.

The word on the street is that Apple will hold a press event on March 24th to announce some new hardware. What that may be -- and who will deliver the news (our money is on Phil) -- is unknown.

The Mac mini has been tagged as needing an update, and we recently saw a video that claimed to show a new model. Likewise, iMac rumors have been swirling about for a while now.

We haven't seen official word yet, but we'll let you know if and when we do. Mark your iCals for the 24th with the status set to "tentative."

Also from the mill is the above image of what is supposedly the new Mac mini retail packaging, as posted by the Dutch site One More Thing. From what we can tell, the mini on the box bears the same army of ports that we saw in the video: FireWire 800, mini DisplayPort + micro DVI, and five USB ports.

In a recent talkcast, I called a big old "Bogus" on that model, citing all those USB ports as the issue. If I'm as wrong as wrong can be, you'll be the first to know.

Even though the current Mini features its port lineup on the back of the box, something doesn't look quite right about this layout. Is that processor icon in the center an NVIDIA GPU, or an Intel chip? Maybe the box is legit, maybe it's a fake based on the info from the video.

What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

Update 7:30p: More of our friends around the Mac web are starting to dig out the details on the expected hardware updates tomorrow, and...