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Apple Paris Expo Might Hold Surprises

By Blane Warrene MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Aug 30, 2004 12:35 PM PT

The Apple Expo 2004 will open its doors tomorrow in Paris amid the buzz that an expected new G5 iMac might be released at the show.

Apple Paris Expo Might Hold Surprises

The buzz is partly due to a delay in the release of the G5 iMac. Traditionally Apple has held back on impending product releases, but after experiencing shortages in supply on overwhelming demand for the iPod Mini, the company broke stride and discussed the iMac delays in a July earnings conference call.

Company officials delicately addressed reasons for an iMac product line refresh, suggesting G5 PowerPC production problems at IBM for the delay. September was identified for the release. That coincides with the Expo this week, and so it initiated a vast rumor mill across Macintosh community sites.

Positive Outlook

It was perhaps this recent peek inside of Apple's operations that has helped keep Wall Street analysts bullish on its stock, even with it up 55 percent this year to date. Numerous firms touted the company's stock in the last week, expecting an expanding market for the iPod and continued profitability from a growing hardware and digital entertainment product line.

However, Apple might be looking to expand its reach into other areas as well -- and more about this might come out during the Expo. Standing out in an otherwise familiar Expo agenda is a conference track dedicated to Apple's platform for the health care industry.

Word on the street is that Apple is adding an emphasis on healthcare to its growing list of enterprise activities and might have announcements forthcoming for the sector. This would be a natural extension to its already expanding markets in biological and chemical research.

IDC senior analyst Scott Tiazkun indicated he believes aligning with vertical markets is what firms are doing to maintain a competitive edge.

"This makes sense from a technology perspective as this stuff becomes more commoditized, it has to be tailored to specific industries," he added, suggesting that while companies want prepackaged apps, they also do need them customized and seek to avoid the cost of doing it themselves.

Mum's the Word

Apple today confirmed that Phillip W. Schiller, the company's senior vice president for worldwide product marketing, will be giving the keynote address at the Paris Expo. However, retreating under the blanket of anonymity, the company would provide no clue to any forthcoming announcements during Schiller's presentation.

A company spokesman in Paris for the Expo did point out that iPod posters blanket the keynote and exhibit halls -- perhaps a simple observation, perhaps a clue of an impending iPod-related announcement.

Design Innovation

Mac loyalists expect standard-setting designs from Apple, and they recently have clamored for a "headless" iMac, one without a gooseneck arm holding the flat panel display.

As the rumor mills churned since July, several sites have publicized rumblings of a new all-in-one G5 iMac, with the core of the unit tucked away behind a new flat panel display.

Creative Strategies President Tim Bajarin had previously told MacNewsWorld that adoption of a new iMac might depend on how Apple breaks with design trends.

Neither Apple nor IBM have yet to comment further on the possibility of G5 processor delays beyond previous estimates of the fourth quarter.

The Expo schedule includes several tracks across three primary sectors: digital music, design and the small and medium enterprise.


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