The chatter is moving away from iPod and back to the Mac, with analysts speculating that a new Mac mini with an Intel processor could appear at Macworld Expo San Francisco next January.

Analyst Ben Reitzes at UBS Investment has kicked the industry trend, raising his Apple price target and earnings estimates for the company, and issuing a 'buy' rating on the company's stock. He raised his price target to $74 from $65.

Other analysts appear ready to switch to a 'hold' position on the stock, saying it has already grown as valuable as they expected.

Reitzes sees strong iPod and iMac sales, and raised the possibility that "Apple may be ready to launch a lower-end Intel-based Mac earlier than its original June 2006 target, with the possibility of an Intel-based Mac mini at Macworld," Forbes reports.

Reitzes also predicts more video and digital entertainment announcements at San Francisco's Mac show.

The news follows a report from AppleInsider claiming that Intel-powered iBooks are already being worked on and may ship as soon as April or May 2006.

A new Intel-inside PowerBook will ship before the iBooks, that report said.