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Friday, June 01, 2007, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

Apple to focus on Macs at upcoming developer conference

When Apple chief executive Steve Jobs takes the stage at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference later this month, he's likely to confine his focus to the Mac platform, according to one Wall Street analyst.

"Similar to previous WWDC events, we believe Jobs' keynote will most likely be Mac-centric," American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu told clients in a research note on Friday. "We anticipate the focus will be on Mac OS X Leopard, its next-generation operating system, and introduction of new Macs."

Leopard

Wu believes the most anticipated announcement will revolve around its undocumented secret features in Leopard, noting that many in the user community are hoping Apple will announce "virtual machine" technology that allows users to run multiple operating systems simultaneously.

"If so, we believe this would serve as a major catalyst for Mac sales," he said. "We continue to believe the key reason Leopard was delayed until October was to give developers time to test secret features."

MacBook Pros

The analyst also cited sources who indicate that new MacBook Pros — the first notebooks from Apple to incorporate LED-backlit displays and features of Intel's new Santa Rosa platform — are also "likely" to see an introduction at the event.

"We view this as a positive step as this further differentiates the high-end MacBook Pro with higher performance, enhanced graphics and video capability, superior displays, and better battery life vs. the more mainstream MacBook," Wu wrote.

MacBook mini

Less likely but still "possible," according to the analyst, would be an introduction Apple's much rumored ultra-portable sub-notebook. "We believe there is a fair likelihood that Apple will introduce a new subnotebook named 'MacBook mini,' which uses NAND flash as primary storage," he explained. "We last talked about this groundbreaking product in early March and while our sources indicate that it could ship sooner rather than later, we believe it will more likely arrive in late 2007-early 2008."

The American Technology analyst said he has been told that timing of the sub-notebook will be dependent on NAND vendors' willingness to accelerate price declines, making NAND economically attractive for Apple to use in lieu of HDD storage.

The last time Apple had a subnotebook was in 1997-98 with the PowerBook 2400, which weighed 4.4 pounds and had a 10.4-inch screen.

Steve Jobs is scheduled to deliver his WWDC '07 keynote speech in San Francisco, CA on Monday, June 11, 2007.