Apple Computers has lopped the Power Mac G4 Cube PC from its production lines, announcing that there is "a small chance" it will reintroduce an upgraded model in the future, but it has no immediate plans to do so.

The company says it will provide ongoing technical support for the Cube family of systems.

Apple first introduced the desktop Cube a year ago at the MacWorld trade show in New York. The unusual form factor measures only 7.7in cubed and Apple promoted the convection cooling system that renders the system essentially silent.

Apple released the newest version of the G4 Cube system in February, at the MacWorld trade show in Tokyo.

It has shipped for less than six months, but has apparently been overshadowed by the colourful iMac desktop PCs also unveiled at that show.

Apple cited slow initial sales of the G4 Cube among reasons for its deep fourth-quarter earnings warning at the end of 2000.

The Power Mac G4 Cube is cited as yet another example of Apple innovation, but with a few flaws, such as little room for upgrades.

The G4 Cube's fortunes echo those of the short-lived Next computer, also cube-shaped. Apple founder Steve Jobs launched Next computer after leaving Apple in 1985.

Apple acquired Next shortly after Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, eventually again taking the reins as chief executive officer.

Mac fans have picked up more of the G4 minitower computers than the Cube, according to the company. Apple tried to boost sales of the G4 Cube by cutting its price sharply back in January.