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Jobs: Apple pegs growth to iMac

The Mac maker moves beyond merely surviving and is now showing it can grow again, Steve Jobs says at Macworld Expo.

NEW YORK--Apple has moved beyond merely surviving and is now demonstrating it can grow again, acting CEO Steve Jobs said in his Macworld Expo keynote address here.

Sales for the iMac consumer system are seen as a catalyst

MacWorld Expo '98
Show attendees take a peek at Apple's iMac. AP
in the Cupertino, California, company's comeback plan, Jobs revealed. The unusually designed, all-in-one desktop will ship August 15--with a 56-kbps modem, rather than the 33.6-kbps device originally announced, Apple announced today.

iMac or no, Jobs confidently predicted a profit for Apple's third fiscal quarter, due to be reported in the middle of next week. "I am very pleased to tell you that it will be our third consecutive profitable quarter," Jobs said.

The Apple cofounder also touted increased support for the Macintosh among software developers. "We're now going to demonstrate that applications are coming back to the Mac" and how this translates into growth for Apple, its developers, and the Mac market in general, he added.

Also today, Apple announced that the Rhapsody operating system will be renamed Mac OS X for Servers. A version will run on Intel processors as well as the PowerPC chips found in Mac systems.

The company further demonstrated Mac OS 8.5, previously known as Allegro. Its features include faster performance when saving files over the network--up to three times faster, according to Apple--and improved file search functionality. Its ship date is slated for late in the third quarter--September, according to executives.

Addressing attendees in person--contrary to Apple's statement that he would remain in California to attend to personal matters--Jobs said the iMac is vital to boosting market share beyond the four percent it garnered in the first quarter of 1998--in itself a slight improvement over the previous quarter. Its sales also are important to generating a quarterly profit.

The anticipation of strong sales ties into another key question about the company--the availability of software for the Mac.

As evidence of a reinvigorated Mac software market, Disney and Apple announced that the media and entertainment giant's fee-based online service for children, the Daily Blast, will become available for all Macintoshes, as previously reported by CNET NEWS.COM. Since the Daily Blast's introduction last year, the popular service has only been available on Windows-based PCs, a typical frustration for Mac loyalists.

Jobs also claimed that in the 63 days since the iMac was introduced, 177 new or upgraded versions of Mac software has been announced. Some of the new titles not previously available on the Mac include Barbie from Mattel, educational software such as the Encyclopedia Britannica, and games such as Tomb Raider from Eidos.

"This is not religion, it's business. If Apple sells more computers, we're going to sell more games," one developer said.

Microsoft also announced

Jobs speaks at MacWorld Expo '98
Steve Jobs addresses Macworld today. AP
a new version of the Internet Explorer browser for the Mac, which will have features that are not currently available on the PC version--a switch from common practice. While the features aren't breathtakingly necessary, Mac users in the audience were cheering at the thought of not being second-class citizens to PC users.

The event marked nearly a full year in power for Jobs since the stunning palace coup that ousted former CEO Gilbert Amelio.

The keynote itself was far less eventful and raucous than last year's summer Macworld keynote, when Jobs pulled off a major surprise with news of a $150 million investment and alliance with Microsoft. That show also was marked by open feuding between Apple and some of the licensees of the Mac OS, two of whom have exited the Mac clone business since then after Apple refused to license newer versions of the operating system.