Jobs: New Intel Macs are 'screamers'

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the first Intel-based Macs, almost a half a year ahead of schedule.

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SAN FRANCISCO--Addressing a packed crowd of the Mac faithful, Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs on Tuesday served up the first Intel-based Macs, introducing a new high-end laptop and a revamped iMac.

The new machines both include Intel's Duo dual-core chip. The iMac will come in the same sizes and sell for the same prices as the current models, but the Intel chips make it two to three times faster, Jobs said. A new laptop computer, called the MacBook Pro, will be available in February, he said.

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Video: Debut of first Intel-based Mac
At Macworld, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils an updated, Intel-based iMac.

In addition to the crop of new Macs, Jobs announced a new version of the iLife suite that adds a tool--iWeb--designed to make it easy to create Web sites with video, audio and blogs, and new features meant to simplify the sharing of photos over the Web and the creation of podcasts.

Jobs said Apple would transition to an all-Intel lineup of Macintosh computers by the end of 2006.

"We're a little ahead of schedule," he said, with Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini joining him onstage dressed in a head-to-toe "bunny suit," the protective suits that workers wear in chipmaking facilities. "These things are screamers."

The release of the new Macs comes just seven months after Jobs shocked the computer world with an announcement that Apple would move to Intel chips, after years of using the PowerPC hardware made by IBM and Motorola.

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Jobs said last June that Apple would have computers ready to ship by June of this year. Beating that mark by almost half a year will help ease a transition some feared would result in several quarters of diminished sales, analysts said.

"The critical thing they delivered on is what people, including analysts, were expecting," said Charlie Wolf, a financial analyst at Needham. "They have begun the Intel transition sooner rather than later."

Still, Jobs took pains to dispel any notion of a current slowdown in Apple sales. In an uncharacteristic announcement, he said the company had a record $5.7 billion in revenue for the quarter that ended in December. Apple's retail stores alone accounted for $1 billion in revenue, he said.

That included sales of 14 million iPods in the holiday quarter, with more than 32 million of the music devices sold over the course of 2005. Those figures, at least as much as the new products, impressed analysts.

"They could have announced dog food and the stock would have been up five points," Wolf said.

The new iMac line will include a 17-inch, 1.83GHz version, selling for $1,299, and a 20-inch, 2GHz version for $1,699.

Once released in February, the MacBook Pro line of laptops will include a $1,999 model running at 1.67GHz and featuring a 15-inch screen. That version will also come with an 80GB hard drive and a new infrared sensor to use with the Apple Remote control device. A second version will feature a 1.83GHz processor and a 100GB hard drive and cost $2,499.

"The MacBook Pro is the fastest Mac notebook ever, obviously," Jobs said.

Focus on creating media, not selling it
The company was light on the media announcements that have come to define Apple events in recent months. Jobs did say, however, that the iTunes store will begin selling clips from "Saturday Night Live" and that more than 8 million videos have been sold through the iTunes online store since October.

The iTunes Music Store has now sold about 850 million songs and is on track to pass the 1 billion mark in the next few months, selling about 3 million songs a day, he added.

He also introduced a new, $49 FM radio and remote control accessory

About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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