Apple to unviel new products
Apple Computer Inc is widely expected to unveil cheaper portable music players and Macintosh computers next week at its annual trade show as it seeks to change from a niche technology player to the mainstream champion of the "digital life."
Apple rumor websites and analysts have been buzzing in recent weeks about an iPod digital music player that uses a relatively inexpensive flash memory microchip to store songs, rather than the more commodious and expensive hard disk drives currently used in the devices, which cost $250 to $600.
Opinions are divided on whether Chief Executive Steve Jobs will also unveil a Macintosh computer for less than $500, excluding a monitor.
An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
Apple now sells more iPods than Macs, with analysts forecasting 4 million or more iPods to be sold in the December quarter, double the number in the prior period for the device, which debuted in 2001.
"A flash-based iPod would be going after what we'd call the low end of the market and could certainly bring more people into the Apple experience," said analyst Tim Bajarin of market research firm Creative Strategies.
That is something that Apple has largely failed to do for years, as its high-design computers have garnered less than 5 per cent of global PC sales.