Ever since the rumours of the low priced headless Mac broke, the net has been rife with theories about how this unit might revolutionize the digital living room as a personal video recorder, a digital media mini-server, or something similar.
However, it seems likely that such a product would simply be a low end headless Mac, as initially rumoured. While the headless Mac would be the next step in Apple's offerings in the consumer space and would help capture some of those potential PC switchers uninterested in the all-in-one CRT eMac, we must not forget Apple's continuing push into enterprise. Currently, Apple has no headless machine appropriate for institutions. The Power Mac line, including the $1499 single CPU 1.8 GHz Power Mac, is too expensive. There is the iMac, but as an all-in-one like the eMac, it too is inappropriate for many institutions.
With other key factors for the enterprise push (such as Mac OS X 10.3 Panther) now in place, it is only logical for Apple to release a headless enterprise desktop as soon as possible. I've suggested that a headless Mac could be priced at $599 retail. However, for institutional purchases, it is plausible to expect it to be priced well under $499, especially for a model without an optical drive. The hard drive could even be removed for those institutions who plan to net boot the machines.
It is true the low priced headless Mac fills a hole in Apple's consumer desktop lines, but even more significant is the fact that it represents a viable low priced headless desktop for Apple's long overdue push into enterprise.