Apple CEO Steve Jobs today met the aspirations of show-goers to the tenth Macworld Expo Tokyo with the unveiling of several new computers during his keynote speech. Anticipation for the keynote had been building for weeks with the help of rumors spread online, and the crowd was buzzing when Jobs strode on stage with little fanfare at just after 11am. After the briefest of introductions, he was straight down to business.
"We've got five or six things to tell you about today, so let's get started," he said.
In the consumer sector, Jobs unveiled upgrades for Apple's existing iBook notebooks and a special-edition iBook -- a companion to the special-edition iMac desktop that the company has already put on sale.
The upgraded iBooks feature double the memory of existing machines and double the hard drive space, 64MB and 6GB respectively, but will be sold at the same price as the existing machines – £1,049 plus VAT. The special-edition iBook will pack a 366MHz processor and the same memory and hard disk configurations.
In the business space, Apple announced enhancements to its notebook and desktop personal computers.
The company's PowerBook notebook computers are being given a makeover. A new high-end machine features a 500MHz G3 processor that, Jobs said, does not slow down when the machine is switched to battery mode. It features a 100MHz internal bus, Ultra ATA66 drives, ATI Rage Mobility 128 sound system, DVD drive, two FireWire ports and support for Apple's AirPort wireless networking system. The machines also have a five-hour battery life, which, Jobs was keen to point out, was a "real five hours" and no exaggeration by the company.
The desktop range will include, from Friday, a new high-end machine with a 500MHz G4 processor, and prices will be reduced on existing machines.
As with his keynote at Macworld in San Francisco last month, Jobs also outlined some of what the company has learned about its customers and added details about those in Japan, the company's second biggest market.
Claiming a 7.8 per cent share of the local PC market, Jobs said surveys have found Apple to be selling more to first-time buyers in Japan -- 50 per cent of iMac buyers in Japan are first-time computer users, compared with 30 percent in the US, he said. Among buyers of the iBook notebook, 36 per cent are new customers locally, against 26 per cent in the US, while 65 per cent of buyers said they had not seriously considered buying anything else.