Originally created 01/10/01

Apple pitches new lineup

SAN FRANCISCO - Embattled Apple Computer Inc. will try to re-establish itself by offering faster processors in its computers and DVD and CD drives that give users the ability to burn their own music and movie discs.

In a keynote speech Tuesday before a crowd of 5,000 at Macworld Expo, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs introduced the items as part of a powerful new lineup of products that the company hopes will reinvigorate its business.

Acknowledging that Apple had fallen behind the competition by previously offering only 500 MHz processors, Mr. Jobs announced the new Power Mac G4 will include a faster 733 MHz G4 chip.

The Power Mac will also include a DVD and CD drive, called a superdrive, that will allow users to burn their own music and movie discs, and will have a new software program called iDVD that will allow users to make their own DVD movies. The company already bundles iMovie, which helps users make their own movies, with current Apple offerings.

Apple will also make its belated way into the digital music arena with iTunes, which will allow users to burn MP3-format songs onto CDs in a simple and user-friendly interface.

"IMovie, iTunes and iDVD are going to be the passport to this digital lifestyle era, and that is where we are going," said Mr. Jobs, flanked by giant posters bearing the company's "Think Different" logo and portraits of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and Charlie Chaplin.

Mr. Jobs said the long-awaited Mac OS X operating system will not ship with new machines until summer. He also presented a new PowerBook G4 made of titanium that weighs 5 pounds and is 1 inch thick.

Apple is struggling to keep up after having lost its lead to Dell Computer Corp. in its traditionally strong education market and failing to woo PC users away from IBM compatibles. It's facing its first nonprofitable quarter in three years.

But while an upbeat Macworld might raise morale, it won't quickly change the fact that demand for Macs remains weak and inventories are way too high despite holiday-season price cuts, according to a report Monday by Salomon Smith Barney.

Apple's earnings report for the quarter that ended Dec. 31 is due next week, and the company has said it will lose between $225 million and $250 million. Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial are projecting a loss of 64 cents per share.


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