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Apple teases launch of mysterious, 'fun' products

Apple Computer confirmed on Tuesday that it plans to introduce some "fun new products" next week, but declined to say more about what those products might be.

Apple Invite 28 February 2006
Apple Computer confirmed on Tuesday that it plans to introduce some "fun new products" next week, but declined to say more about what those products might be.

In an e-mail sent to journalists, the company merely said the invited scribes should come to Apple's Cupertino, California, headquarters next Tuesday to learn more.

"Come see some fun, new products from Apple," the company said in its invitation.

Unlike past invitations, which hinted at which product Apple was targeting, the current invitation includes just a picture of a calendar with only the date 28 February on it.

At January's Macworld Expo, Apple introduced the first of its Intel-based Macs, including a revamped iMac and the MacBook Pro laptop. The company also updated its iLife and iWork software products, but announced little in its music business, which now makes up more than half of the company's overall sales.

Sam Bhavnani, an analyst at market researcher Current Analysis, said he thinks Apple may introduce a 17-inch MacBook Pro as well as a redesigned iBook with a 13-inch widescreen display.

"The reason to expect an iBook announcement is so that Apple is able to have sufficient quantities shipping in time for back to school," Bhavnani said in an e-mail interview. "The fact that Apple started shipping Intel products ahead of schedule means it is serious about winning 'switchers,' and key to getting Windows customers will be to have systems that cost significantly less than [US]$2,000."

Bhavnani said that an ideal iBook would arrive in time for the education buying season, cost US$999, and include Intel's Core Duo chip.

Separately, NBC said Tuesday that it is making available for free download the pilot episode of its new legal drama "Conviction" in the US. The network will start selling other episodes for US$1.99 once the show begins its run in early March. The pilot episode is free through March 3 for US-based customers.

"We believe we have a youthful and energetic cast that should appeal to a new audience that is increasingly comfortable with this downloadable format as a viewing option," NBC Entertainment Group CEO Jeff Zucker said in a statement.

Bhavnani said he also expects to see Apple make more out of its recent pact with Nascar.