January 1, 2009

Apple observers expect low-profile expo

Expectations for San Francisco's Macworld Conference & Expo are muted -- cross-cut with concern for the health of Apple Inc. leader Steve Jobs, observers said.

Company news at the the 25th annual conference, which starts Tuesday, is likely to be more evolutionary than revolutionary, said Michael Gartenberg, a vice president and research director for Jupiter Research, the San Jose, Calif., Mercury News reported Thursday.

Some Apple observers expect a preview of Macintosh computer's next operating system, upgrades for the iMac and a new design for the Mac mini, the processor Apple sells without a keyboard or a monitor.

Frankly, we would be a little surprised if there is a major announcement, Kaufman Brothers Senior Research Analyst Shaw Wu told the newspaper.

Speculation over technology has also been displaced by concern for Jobs' health, the newspaper said.

Apple announced weeks ago that Senior Vice President Phil Schiller will take Jobs' place at the conference.

Jobs battled pancreatic cancer four years ago and appeared gaunt during a June conference, the newspaper said.

In July, he told the Apple board his cancer had not returned, but he was suffering from complications from past surgery.