Apple set to release new products
'Some fun new products from Apple' expected to be unveiled next week at company's California headquarters.

NEW YORK ( - Apple Computer will announce new products at the end of February, according to an invitation sent to reporters.

The event will take place Tuesday at 1 p.m. Eastern at Apple's (down $0.69 to $68.39, Research) headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. The cryptic invitation simply asks recipients to join the company to view "some fun new products from Apple," without elaborating on what those products might be. Last week, a fake invitation circulated around the Internet claiming Apple planned to hold an event March 1 with U2 frontman Bono as a special guest.

While Apple is notoriously tight-lipped about product announcements leading up to such events, Apple's past invitation-only events have yielded such products as the iPod nano and the ROKR, the iTunes-enabled phone Apple launched with Motorola and Cingular.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster thinks the event will primarily center on new Intel-based Macs. The company launched its first Intel-based Macs at Macworld in January and said it will convert its entire Mac line to include Intel chips by the end of the year, significantly ahead of schedule. At Macworld, Apple unveiled its first two Macs to contain Intel chips: the iMac desktop computer and the Macbook Pro laptop.

Munster added that it is possible that Apple could release new iPods at the event. But he thinks it is less likely that Apple will release a larger, touch-screen iPod, as has been rumored.

"While it is difficult to predict exactly what Apple will announce next Tuesday, it is easier to predict what Apple will announce in the next 12 months," which he thinks could include new iBooks, new Power Macs, a larger-screen iPod, a new iPod shuffle, Airport Express for video and perhaps an Apple "iPhone."

Sam Bhavnani, principal analyst for mobile electronics and computing at research firm Current Analysis, thinks Apple will unveil a redesign of the iBook line, with a view to making the products available for the back-to-school selling season. He thinks that iBooks will come cheaper than the company's Macbook Pro line of Intel-based laptops, which replaced the company's Power Book line, targeted at professional users.

Bhavnani also thinks Apple will announce new content development deals, including a possible alliance with NASCAR. So far, Apple has signed deals with ABC, Disney, NBC and the NBA, making select content available on its iTunes music store.

Apple will celebrate its 30th anniversary April 1.

Munster does not own shares of Apple, but Piper Jaffray makes a market in the securities.


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