Since founder Steve Jobs returned to the personal-computer maker in 1997, the Cupertino, Calif., company has risen from the near-dead on the strength of sleekly designed machines and other whiz-bang hardware. But over the past few months, as computer sales have cooled and Apple prepares to report its first quarterly loss in three years, the company has decided to try to remake its image into a purveyor of "killer apps," or groundbreaking software programs that computer users canit live without.
The corporate refocus comes with an concession from Appleis management that Apple can no longer fight the Wintel giant -- the powerful combination of the Windows operating system and Intel Corp.is microprocesser -- on the hardware front alone, say people who have met with Mr. Jobs and other top executives recently. The Apple officials believe that new Apple applications will give Wintel users a reason to supplement their existing Windows-based systems with Apple hardware, these people say.
In conference calls recently, Mr. Jobs disclosed that Apple plans to roll out several new software apps, hinting that two will be launched in the first half of 2001. In private, Mr. Jobs has described one of the applications as being "on a par with iMovie," and the other as "the greatest thing that Apple has ever done," according to people who spoke with him.
Just what are these new applications? Mr. Jobs wonit say. But analysts and Apple-enthusiast Web sites are guessing that Apple may unveil an application called iMusic, designed to make music recording and MP3 playing easy. Some of these sites believe that Apple recently purchased CD-authoring software and hard-drive formatting technology from software-maker Radialogic, a subsidiary of Prosoft Engineering Inc. in Pleasanton, Calif. A Radialogic spokeswoman confirms that the company has sold its music technology but declines to comment further.
The report also goes on to say that Apple is working hard to bring more bundled deals to its customer, and has "been getting more aggressive in working on incentives with hardware and software partners." That, according to an anonymous developer.
Please read the full report from the Wall Street Journal for more information. It is an excellent report.