This morning's DigiTimes has a report that's guaranteed to make the Mac rumour-mill churn away that little bit faster – it claims Apple will release a new iMac in 2004 with a magnesium-alloy case.

The report states: "The new iMac Apple Computer is going to launch in the first quarter of next year will have a magnesium-alloy case and a high proportion of plastic parts for cost reduction."

The report from Taiwan's respected tech industry publication cites "sources" for its claims. DigiTimes explains that iMac sales have been lacklustre in the quarter "due to higher prices".

Macworld's online poll this week confirms the iMac to have lost the edge for sales against competing products in Apple's range. Just four per cent of readers who voted would like to see an iMac under their tree this year, with the majority of voters hoping for other Apple products.

The report also claims Apple suspended plans for a tablet PC-like Mac in September, because of costs.

DigiTimes believes the new iMacs will appear in January or February.