No Surprises, No Disappointments for Apple

Although industry watchers have speculated for months about new video iPods and the possibility that the company may offer movie rentals, Apple CEO Steven Jobs left the stage at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco without mentioning either.

During his talk, Jobs focused instead on the refreshed Macintosh line and the anticipation of the new Mac OS X Leopard.

While some may have been disappointed with that announcement, several analysts agreed that Apple Computer wanted to continue its strong momentum in Mac sales, give its developers a taste of its new operating system in the face of Microsoft’s upcoming rival Windows Vista release and save the consumer products for later.

“The Street is somewhat disappointed that today’s WWDC announcements are in line with expectations,” Gene Munster, a senior research analyst with Piper Jaffray & Co., in Minneapolis, wrote about the fallout from Jobs’ Aug. 7 keynote. “We believe the best approach to looking at Apple’s product roadmap is to focus on a 6-9 month timeframe.”

During the keynote, Jobs and other Apple officers pulled back the curtain on several products that had been anticipated, including the new Mac OS X Leopard, the Mac Pro desktop, which includes two Xeon chips that run up to 3.0GHz, and an Intel-based Xserve.

Click here to read more about announcements at Apple’s WWDC.

While the meeting lacked the excitement of a new and improved iPod or another Apple innovation, the announcement of the new features in Leopard was just what Tim Deal, a senior analyst at Technology Business Research, in Hampton, N.H., was looking for from Jobs, he said.

“The Worldwide Developers Conference is for professional-oriented products and I think that Apple was trying to build up developer loyalty and generate developer support,” Deal said.

Read more here about new features in Mac OS X Leopard.

Several analysts agreed that Apple appears to have tried to build on the success the Mac line had in the third quarter, when the company sold 1.3 million Macs, and continue that momentum into the fourth quarter.

Deal said he believes Apple wants to create a lot of anticipation for the spring 2007 release of Leopard as Microsoft prepares for the January release of its new operating system, Vista.

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