'The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated'
A THIN and smiling Apple Inc chief executive Steve Jobs launched a much thinner, curved iPod Nano music player and joked about the state of his much-discussed health on Tuesday.
But shares of Apple fell more than 4 per cent after the presentation, which had no major surprises for investors, amid a broad decline in the stock market. Apple last week invited reporters to a music-related event, stoking expectations of new players. Some had hoped for new computers as well as iPods, but that did not happen.
Jobs appeared thin but jaunty as he walked around the stage in his trademark outfit of jeans and long-sleeve black shirt in front of a screen that flashed "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" a quotation borrowed from Mark Twain.
Jobs introduced a curved aluminum and glass nano the best-selling iPod for US$149 with 8 gigabytes of storage, US$50 less than the predecessor model and a 16-gigabyte version for US$199, capable of playing back 24 hours of music or four hours of video. He also showed off a thinner, US$229 version of the Web-connected iPod Touch with rounded edges and 8 gigabytes of storage. At the high end, Apple is charging US$399 for 32 gigabytes.
Apple dominates personal digital music players, with nearly three-quarters of the US market in July, Jobs said, adding the product line-up was strong for the gift-giving season.
Even so, the company faces consumers jittery in the face of a sluggish economy. Jobs himself was mostly optimistic about Apple's position in the economy.
"I'm not an economist, I don't know if it's going to get better or worse, but I think Apple's faring reasonably well," he told CNBC after the event, a view matched by analysts.
"According to our data the overall category has been slowing, but Apple continues to do very well in the category." said Ross Rubin of the US market-tracker NPD Group,
Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter said the new offerings could translate into "a very nice fourth quarter".
Van Baker of Gartner agreed and praised the breadth of the line: "They've got everything covered from US$50 to US$400."
And Michael Abramsky, of RBC Capital Markets, said that the new nano "in the flesh is certainly more appealing than it's been. It was expected, but I think it will sell well in the holiday season."Reuters
Thursday, September 11, 2008
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