A young computer boffin is planning to supply a low-cost upgradeable Mac called iBox that will retail for between $250 and $350, Wired reports.

John Fraser, a 21-year-old electronic engineer from Minnesota says the iBox will feature a case, motherboard, FireWire and USB ports, AirPort, Ethernet and a power supply. Customers will have to add their own processor, memory, hard drive and operating system. Fraser will also build fully-featured units for a fee.

Apple does not license its operating system to third parties. Fraser hopes to sidestep this by using older, off-the-shelf parts made by Apple and sold as spares. He also plans to use Apple-made motherboards pre-loaded with the Mac ROM.

Fraser said: "A clear demand exists for a low-cost Mac customers can outfit themselves with cheap, off-the-shelf parts."

Apple's legal team may object to the plan. Apple is notoriously protective of its intellectual property.