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Mini iPods, major iLife update focus of upcoming Expo keynote

December 23, 2003 - With rumors rampant, Think Secret can confirm that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will focus on the release of new low-end, 'mini iPods' and a major update to its iLife digital ensemble at his Macworld Expo keynote address on January 6 in San Francisco, Calif.

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Reliable sources inside and outside of Apple have confirmed Apple will announce the new pocket-size iPods in a number of capacities and in various colors, including stripes. Capacities will be 2 and 4GB -- meaning users could store some 400 and 800 songs, respectively. Prices will start at around $100US, Think Secret has learned. It is not known if the new product line will be available immediately after introduction.

It is also expected that current iPod models will be revamped to add body colors as well.

The addition of mini iPods is not unexpected what with recent comments by Jobs that such a device has been an Apple priority and MP3 industry watchers confirming the market is wide open for Apple to take a lead in technology and offer a better, faster, cheaper, low-end MP3 player.

The announcement of the new mini iPods will be the catalyst for a keynote that will concentrate primarily on music. Numerous sources have confirmed the keynote will be some two-plus hours in length and will be "music centric," as one source put it.

Jobs will also devote considerable time to Apple's software offerings during his presentation, with a number of new releases in store for users. Sources said Jobs will unveil a "total revamp" of iLife, the integrated iApp suite that Apple announced one year ago. Sources anticipate that the suite's core applications -- iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and iTunes -- will be updated across the board; Other insiders confirmed that Apple will announce iDVD 4 as well as iMovie 3.5.

Sources wouldn't rule out other software announcements from Apple during the keynote. Final Cut Express 2.0 is reportedly in the pipeline; if released at Expo, it would be the first upgrade to Apple's $299 prosumer DV editor since the slimmed-down version of Final Cut Pro was announced at MWSF 2003. It would also be the application's first significant release since Apple shipped Final Cut Pro 4 in June.

In addition, sources point to developments on the Emagic front which they say will emerge during Jobs' keynote. While sources confirmed the announcements will concern music compositing software, it's unclear whether they will involve an upgrade to Logic Platinum 6, the pro music production software Apple acquired when it bought eMagic in July 2002.

Finally, major announcements related to Xserve will also be on the agenda, Think Secret has learned.

Sources expect there will be no new CPU announcements -- either desktop or laptop -- in the upcoming keynote.

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