Culture

Glitches mar Apple's Tokyo show

The iMac has been well received in Japan, attracting a large share of first-time computer buyers, but a faulty demonstration was not well received by Steve Jobs.

Apple Computer has taken its fruit-flavored iMac roadshow to Japan's Macworld Tokyo trade show, where it said the computer has been well received by consumers, particularly first-time buyers.

But a faulty demonstration involving iMacs at the show was not well received by Apple's interim CEO Steve Jobs.

Jobs made his first appearance at Macworld Tokyo since his return to the company he co-founded, and offered audience goers in one of the company's key markets a pitch nearly identical to the one U.S. customers heard in January at Macworld San Francisco.

Jobs showed off the already introduced blue and white Power Mac G3s and the five colors of iMacs at the confab, but the show was perhaps more notable for what didn't happen.

First among the day's glitches, a demonstration of Internet Explorer for the Japanese market by Microsoft executives crashed. Later, a demonstration of 50 iMacs connected to a server running Mac OS X--a demonstration which worked in San Francisco--temporarily failed for Jobs, according to Macweek.com.

Jobs appeared frustrated, the report said, and left the stage before the demonstration was completed.

Apple again did not say when its much anticipated QuickTime 4.0 software would ship. The new version, which adds live streaming capabilities that would give Apple a potential competitor to Microsoft NetShow and RealNetworks G2 media player software, was supposed to ship in January, according to Jobs. (See related story).

Mac OS X Server will ship later this month, Jobs said, and a Japanese version of the software will be available in April. Mac OS X Server is the renamed Rhapsody operating system based on technology from NeXT.

Apart from technology demonstrations, sales of the iMac have gone swimmingly in Japan.

Jobs said Apple shipped 800,000 iMacs between August 15 and December 31, making it the best-selling PC in both Japan and the U.S. during that period. Jobs also noted that 46 percent of buyers in Japan were first time computer users, and 16 percent were former owners of non-Apple PCs, meaning that the company is increasing its installed base of users with the system.

Online store set, Sony imitation pondered
Sales in Japan, already strong, should be boosted by the opening of an online store for the region.

Looking forward, Jobs told the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a major Japanese daily, that he hopes to expand market share for Apple in Japan, as well as the U.S., by imitating Sony.

Apple will come up with new strategies for linking computers with other electronic devices in networked homes, spurred by rapid growth in demand for PC video editing and the proliferation of digital devices, the report said.