With the Mac mini as its focus, Forbes has launched the annual online rumour season for Macworld Expo predictions.

Its latest report recaps recent rumours reporting that Apple may launch an Intel-powered Mac mini at the world's most essential Mac show.

It repeats recent comments from analysts at UBS and Piper Jaffray, and adds a dose of industry speculation to spice up the mix.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told Forbes: "Apple could announce an Intel-based product whether they ship it or not, but they do have a history of showing a product and shipping it within weeks."

Maybe yes, maybe no

The report turns to Bob LeVitus and Andy Inahtko for industry comment.

LeVitus acknowledges that Apple likes to "surprise" Mac watchers, while Inahtko isn't convinced of a January launch, instead predicting the first new Intel-powered Mac would ship before Apple's disclosed June launch point.

Recent speculation has also conceived of new PowerBooks containing Intel chips.

Place your bets

One other Apple product may see an upgrade at the show, setting the scene for more activity from the company focused on the digital hub and the converging home: iLife 05.

iLife 05 will be outdated as of January 1, 2006. This suite of applications includes solutions for movie-making, image-snapping and DVD-creation: iMovie HD, iPhoto and iDVD.

Apple is likely to add an 06 to the name and hone these products to meet consumer's evolving needs.