SAN FRANCISCO Apple Computer yesterday tried to polish its image with new software that lets Macintosh users easily create music and videos.
"People are wondering, Where is the PC going. Whats next? " Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs said. "Were talking about practical solutions for consumers in the digital age. Were showing what you can do with our stuff."
At a speech to a crowd of 5,000 at the Macworld Expo trade show, Jobs unveiled groundbreaking software and a powerful new line of personal computers the company hopes will revive its fortunes. He introduced:
A PowerBook G4 1-inch-thick laptop, weighing in at five pounds. The titanium-encased model comes with a digital video disc and 15-inch screen. It costs $2,599 to $3,499.
Free software, called iTunes, that makes it easier to download and write music CDs, organize a library of music and transfer music to digital MP3 players.
Faster PowerMac G4s, ranging from $1,699 to $3,499. The top-of-the-line PowerMac includes a DVD and CD drive, called SuperDrive. It lets users burn their own music and movie discs. It also features iDVD, which allows users to make their own DVD movies.
Mac OS X, a big overhaul of the 17-year-old Macintosh operating system. The software costs $129 and ships March 24. It will be included on Macs starting in July, about six months later than earlier hoped.
Apple stormed back to profitability on the strength of its colorful iMac and elegant iBook in 1997 and 1998.
But its product line has grown long in the tooth the past two years. Now Jobs and other top executives are convinced that new digital software goodies will offset soft Mac shipments and woo users from Microsoft Windows-based PCs.
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