US Report: Jobs says Apple ready to strike

Lightning didn't strike at Macworld Expo like it did last year, when Apple unveiled a new board of directors and a $150m (£91.5m) investment from rival Microsoft, but interim CEO Steve Jobs made a series of iMac-related announcements designed to prove that Apple is ready to reclaim the consumer market.

Lightning didn't strike at Macworld Expo like it did last year, when Apple unveiled a new board of directors and a $150m (£91.5m) investment from rival Microsoft, but interim CEO Steve Jobs made a series of iMac-related announcements designed to prove that Apple is ready to reclaim the consumer market.

"This is where we see a tremendous amount of growth for us ... and we're going to do it with the iMac," said Jobs in Wednesday morning's keynote.

He told attendees that Apple is focused on growth, now that it has proven it can post profits. He outlined the company's product strategy, based on G3 model computers, and announced that there had been more than 177 new software applications for the Mac to hit market in the past two months.

Jobs also confirmed investors' predictions that the company will post its third consecutive profit when it releases earnings next Wednesday.

"We expect to see some growth in the next six months," Jobs said. "Apple is coming back in a very big way."

Analyst Louis Mazzucchelli applauded Apple's step-by-step approach to its resurrection, which began when Jobs took over last year.

"They've had the discipline to do the steps he talked about, in order, and not try to do everything at once," said Mazzucchelli, a vice president at Gerard, Klauer, & Mattison Co.

Now, Apple has to get the word out that the iMac, which will hit shelves on August 15, is the simplest computer around, Mazzucchelli said.

"The easiest way to put your grandma or your second grader on the Internet might be an iMac," he said. "That's the story they have to tell."

To that end, Jobs showed a video featuring a race between a 26-year-old MBA student putting together a PC and a second grader assembling the self-contained iMac. The second grader beat his elder, who took three times as long, becoming entangled in peripheral connections and reading instructions.

Jobs said the iMac would contain a 56Kbps modem, faster than originally planned, and new software, including several games and a Williams-Sonoma cooking guide. He also ran through several upcoming software titles for the Mac, including Eidos' Tomb Raider II, Mattel's three most popular Barbie titles and Adobe Photoshop 5.0.

Joining Jobs were executives from Microsoft and Disney, who sealed their commitment to Apple.

As reported on ZDNN, Disney announced an iMac version of its Daily Blast site for kids.

Ben Waldman, general manager of Microsoft's Mac business unit, said Microsoft was committed to shipping Mac versions of its products, often with features that PC versions don't have.

"Microsoft will never again ship ported versions of Microsoft applications," Waldman said to an enthusiastic audience who hooted and hollered.

The Microsoft exec also demonstrated some features of Internet Explorer 4.01 for the Mac, including the ability to save Web sites and cruise them offline; a split screen that allows surfers to see search results and content at the same; and pop-up menus that summarize Web sites and documents.

Jobs also made some expected hardware announcements, including:

A new DVD drive; A Microsoft joystick; A Mac cradle for 3Com's PalmPilots and the Pilot III; A hub for multiple USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports by Entrega; and New Mac printers from Hewlett-Packard, Epson and Canon.

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