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Wednesday, February 22, 2006, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

Analyst sees new Macs, Pro apps, full-length video at special event

Analysts for American Technology Research have started to weigh in with their product predictions for Apple's recently announced special media event, which is set to take place during the last day of February.

"We believe Apple will take the opportunity to round out its Intel Mac portfolio 6 - 9 months ahead of plan with a new widescreen consumer notebook (likely called "MacBook") and entry-level Mac mini, both of which will include a remote control and Front Row software," analyst Shaw Wu wrote in a research note released to clients early Wednesday morning.

Wu believes some of the strong selling points of the new consumer notebook will be its unique design, small size and widescreen display. He believes pricing should fall in the $1299-$1499 range.

The analyst also sees the possibility that Apple will announce that its Pro software applications like Aperture, Final Cut Pro, and Motion are now Intel native and may be ready as early as March. "We believe this is a good time to let its professional customers know," Wu wrote.

Rounding out his predictions, the analyst also thinks there is a "greater than 50 percent chance" that Apple will roll out the first full length feature films that will be available for download from the company's iTunes Music Store. He also sees Apple reaching the 1 billion iTunes downloads milestone by the time the Feb. 28th event rolls around.

While Wu also vouches knowledge of an ongoing development at Apple to produce a widescreen video iPod, he believes the device is not yet ready for prime time.

"Keep in mind the current video iPod has only been out since October and continues to be a top seller, the least seasonally impacted out of the iPod family," the analyst wrote. "Areas we would like to see the video iPod improve are its video battery life and more robust TV connectivity."

Despite his predictions, Wu is sure to point out that Apple chief executive Steve Jobs could have some unanticipated surprises tucked up the sleeve of his black turtleneck and "may make an announcement that no one anticipated."

"We will not attempt to guess what it is and let Steve surprise us," he added.

American Technology Research continues to rate Apple shares a "Buy" with a price target of $101.