Apple kicked off its annual Macworld conference today at a frenzied pitch with the launch of several major new products, including a multi-coloured iMac Notebook.
Along with this expected consumer launch, Apple previewed the next release of the Mac operating system and a new release called Quicktime TV.
The company, which appears to be riding the wave of a long awaited turnaround, opened the show in New York with a guest appearance from Noah Wyley, of ER fame, who played Apple founder and acting chief executive officer Steve Jobs in the recent film The Pirates of Silicon Alley.
Jobs then began with a review of Apple's recent financial performance saying the company had posted $200 million in profit for its third quarter, its seventh consecutive quarter of profit to date.
Jobs then went on to unveil Quicktime TV (QTV), which he described as "the Internet's highest quality network for Web based video and audio."
QTV integrates four key elements - Apple's Quicktime 4 player software, its open source Quicktime streaming software and the results of an Apple/Akamai collaboration - streamed content delivery service. Jobs said QTV is available now for download free of charge.
Jobs then went on to preview the next major release of the Macintosh operating system, MacOS 9, which he said would be available for $99 in October and includes 50 new features.
He said one new feature is Sherlock 2, an updated version of an advanced search tool available with the current version of the MacOS.
However, the highlight of Jobs' keynote speech, which was met with screams of delight and thunderous applause from the crowd, was the launch of the company's consumer portable iMac.
Called iBook, Jobs said the notebook is the "second fastest notebook in the world, second only to Apple's professional notebook."
The iBook features a 12.1 inch TFT display with 800x600 resolution, 4Mbyte of video memory built in, a 300MHz G3 processor. Also included is 32Mbyte of memory, a built in CD-Rom, 56Kbps modem, USB port, 10/100Mbps Ethernet and a full size keyboard.
Aimed at the consumer and education market, the notebook even has a carrying handle and is trimmed in rubber for extra durability.
It has around six hours of battery life, comes in either tangerine or blueberry and will be available from September for $1,799 in the US. European datesd and prices are to be announced shortly.
"One more thing," said Jobs, "It has wireless Internet connectivity."
While connected to the Net, Jobs passed his iBook through a hoop to prove his point. The connectivity, called Airport, was jointly developed with Lucent and works via a base station and Airport card that will cost $299 and $99 respectively. These will also be available from September in the US market.
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