Analyst: Look for Mac Pro at WWDC

Piper Jaffray analyst, Gene Munster, predicts that Steve Jobs will unveil an Intel-based replacement for the PowerMac G5 at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) on August 7. In addition to the Power Mac successor, likely to be dubbed the Pro Mac, he also expects Apple will demonstrate a preview version of Mac OS X 10.5 that features full Windows integration.

Mr. Munster thinks itis possible that we may also see a redesigned iPod nano with a scratch-resistant metal case, an Intel-based Xserve, and the debut of feature-length film downloads at the iTunes Music Store (iTMS).

The iPod nano is due for a refresh, and since the top-most complaint about the model is ease of scratching, Apple is likely to return to a metal case - A feature that worked well for the iPod mini. The possibility of movie downloads at the iTMS means that Apple may roll out the service without a true "video iPod."

Mr. Munster comments "Apple has been working on a movie download service for several months, and while we believe they would prefer to announce it along side a new video iPod with a larger screen, there is increasing pressure in the movie download space, with CinemaNow and Movielink making progress. As such, we believe it is possible that Apple could announce such a service at the WWDC with or without a new iPod."

Although possible, but not likely, Apple may introduce the iPhone, a new iPod with a larger display, a redesigned iPod shuffle, and a video-enabled AirPort Base Station.

With so many new product predictions, some people are bound to be disappointed when the product they want to see isnit announced. Mr. Munster thinks we should be looking forward to the next few months for the product releases.

"Ultimately we believe that all of the above products will be released within the next 6-9 months," he says. "We believe the better approach to Appleis product roadmap is to think of it within a 6-9 month timeframe."

Piper Jaffray is maintaining its "Outperform" rating for Apple with a target price of US$99. Apple is currently trading in the pre-market at $67.18, up 0.42 (0.63%).

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