Wired is now featuring a new Cult of Mac story about John Fraser, a Minnesota guy who's developing the iBox(or whatever it might be called), a low-cost, pizza box Macintosh for $250-350. The final product is still 4 months away from production, and may face various legal problems.
The pizza box shape was last used by Apple in the 1990s, on their LC, Performa and Centris product lines. The low-profile shape works great for many users, because it takes so little vertical space on a desk and can be easily toted around by those who do not need something as ultra-portable as a PowerBook.
My guess is Fraser will be forced to sell just the basic box with RAM, hard drive and whatever else he can legally install, leaving buyers to locate, buy and drop in their own motherboard. Maybe Fraser can sell all the parts in a kit and provide easy-to-follow instructions. This might make the process a little less painful for the less technical.
Whatever Apple does legally, it's still a very slick idea: build a basic flat pizza box that can house a standard Apple Macintosh G3 or G4 motherboard, hard drive, RAM and other parts, letting buyers provide their own operating system. For a few hundred bucks, it should offer many budget-conscious users a perfect desktop Mac, now that the CRT-based iMac is no longer sold by Apple.
Go iBox! :-)