Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Heir-Apparent Approaches

Move over, Bill Gates.

Steve Jobs vies for the Evil Empire title. And he's not just settling for silicon.

He's calling out consumer electronics manufacturers all across the electronic frontier.

Apple Computer is dead. Long live Apple, inc:

Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs on Tuesday made the company's long-awaited jump into the mobile phone business and renamed the company to just "Apple Inc.," reflecting its increasing focus on consumer electronics.

The iPhone, which starts at $499, is controlled by touch, plays music, surfs the Internet and runs the Macintosh computer operating system. Jobs said it will "reinvent" the telecommunications sector and "leapfrog" past the current generation of hard-to-use smart phones.

"Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything," he said during his keynote address at the annual Macworld Conference and Expo. "It's very fortunate if you can work on just one of these in your career. ... Apple's been very fortunate in that it's introduced a few of these."

He said the name change is meant to reflect the fact that Apple has matured from a computer manufacturer to a full-fledged consumer electronics company.

"I didn't sleep a wink last night," he said. "I was so excited."

During his speech, Jobs also unveiled a TV set-top box that allows people to send video from their computers and announced the number of songs sold on its iTunes Music Store has topped 2 billion.

Apple shares jumped more than 6 percent on the announcements, while the stock of rival smart-phone makers plunged.

Jobs demonstrated the iPhone's music capabilities by playing "Lovely Rita, Meter Maid," from the Beatles'"Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band," as the album's psychedelic album art graced a wide-screen monitor.

IPhone uses a patented touch-screen technology Apple is calling "multi-touch."

"We're going to use a pointing device that we're all born with," Jobs said. "It works like magic. ... It's far more accurate than any touch display ever shipped. It ignores unintended touches. It's super smart."

The phone automatically synchs your media — movies, music, photos — through Apple's iTunes Music Store. The device also synchs e-mail content, Web bookmarks and nearly any type of digital content stored on your computer.

"It's just like an iPod," Jobs said, "charge and synch."

Too bad I use Verizon--and don't have $499 US to throw down on a glorified mobile phone. The i-line looks like Apple's ticket to ride.

How long before Microsoft attempts the cross-over? Or Dell?

If they were wise they'd fuggetabated! Apple cleaned house with the i-pod and i-tunes. They can leverage that position to astounding heights while the computer giants burn millions playing catch-up. That horse left the gate a light-year ago.

Will the i-PDA be next?

Now that would have my undivided attention.

And my uninterrupted salivation!

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