With the 20th anniversary this month of the original Macintosh approaching, Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs told MacWorld Expo attendees in San Francisco this week that 2004 would be a "great Mac year."
"Microsoft's copying us again -- it feels great," said Jobs, who also said 9.3 million Apple users -- about 40 percent of the company's installed base -- have upgraded to Mac OS X, the company's three-year-old operating system.
But Jobs didn't introduce any new desktops or laptops during his annual keynote address. Instead, he demonstrated a collection of new software designed to drive sales of Macs running OS X, and unveiled a lower-priced version of Apple's hit iPod portable music player.
Microsoft said it plans to ship Office 2004 for Mac in the spring and that it's also at work on a successor version. Adobe Systems and Macromedia also introduced new products for OS X. Apple also released Final Cut Express 2, a video-editing app. But the demo that garnered the most applause from Mac enthusiasts was GarageBand -- home-recording software that's part of Apple's new iLife '04 bundle.
On 16 January, Apple plans to release a new version of iLife, which packages five apps: iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand, which lets users record live keyboard and guitar performances with prerecorded music loops, and play software instruments driven by USB or MIDI keyboards. A new version of iPhoto supports collections of up to 25,000 photos. The iLife '04 apps run only on Mac OS 10.2 and 10.3. They'll also be included with new Macs.
Jobs said Apple has sold 30 million songs through iTunes since the online music store launched last April. Next month, the company plans to release in the United States the iPod mini, a smaller, less-expensive version of the iPod, which Jobs said has sold 2 million units. The US$249 iPod mini, about the size of a business card and a half-inch thick, will come in silver, gold, blue, pink, and green; it will include 4GB of storage, hold 1,000 songs, and run on Mac and Windows PCs. Apple plans to ship the player worldwide in April.
Apple also upgraded its entry-level iPod to 15GB of memory, from 10GB. The product also comes in 20- and 40GB versions.
For business customers, Apple introduced a version of its Xserve server with its latest 2-GHz G5 processor. It comes with 750GB of storage, the Mac OS X Server 10.3 operating system, and an unlimited client license, "just like Linux," Jobs said. "Unlike Linux, you can use it as a mere mortal."
Apple also released a new Xserve RAID storage with 3.5TB of storage capacity. For the first time, the system also works with Windows and Linux computers: It supports Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Professional, and Red Hat Linux.
Jobs: 2004 will be
By Aaron Ricadela on Jan 7, 2004 12:00AM