“The Consumer Electronics Show just ended, with nearly every major technology company showing off its latest gadgets,” Rex Crum reports for MarketWatch. “But the shadow of one company that wasn’t even there hung over everything that went on at the Las Vegas shindig: Apple Computer Inc. While the likes of Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., and Sony Corp. talked about digital-media convergence and taking on Apple’s iPod, Apple chose to stay close to home, preferring to save itself for the annual San Francisco Macworld Conference and Expo that begins on Monday.”
“And then, come Tuesday, all eyes will be on Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who’s expected to unveil the company’s newest products that he believes will cement Apple’s position as the company to beat in market for digital media products and market presence,” Crum reports. “Jobs typically uses his keynote address to show off at least one or two important product changes for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company. Although Apple usually guards its secrets closely, analysts are speculating that Jobs will unveil at least one of the following: a new iPod Shuffle, a PC that runs on Intel Corp. chips or an iMac PC that acts much like a digital television tuner and recorder.”
“While last week’s Consumer Electronics Show whipped up major interest in new products that seek to encroach on Apple’s territory, industry analysts say they see little to make them doubt the company’s ability to hold onto its top position in the digital music-player market,” Crum reports. “‘We’ve yet to see a successful competitor with a mix of different technologies from other vendors,’ said Shaw Wu, of American Technology Research. ‘We believe Apple is better positioned, with no legacy business to protect, and enjoys a cost advantage with its world-class supply chain and high volume.'”
‘Apple’s Macworld unveilings will come barely a week before the company is scheduled to report fiscal first-quarter results on Jan. 18. Analysts estimate Apple earned 53 cents a share on $5 billion in revenue, up from 35 cents a share on sales of $3.5 billion in the comparable period a year ago,” Crum reports.
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