July 16, 2003 12:04 PM PDT

Apple touts wares at low-key Macworld

In another sign of the waning influence of the East Coast Macworld event, Apple Computer made several minor announcements but no major hardware launches at the trade show this week.

On Wednesday, the Mac maker said it would start selling a standalone version of the audio tools included in its Final Cut Pro video-editing program. The Soundtrack software will sell for $299 and include more than 4,000 sound effects, along with tools for creating music scores.

In addition, the company unveiled a program where owners of the Adobe Premiere video-editing application can trade in those discs for a free copy of Final Cut Express (a trimmed-down version of Final Cut Pro) or for a $500 rebate on the purchase of Final Cut Pro itself. Adobe Systems said last week that a new version of Premiere will run only on Windows XP-based machines.

The announcements come the day Greg Joswiak, Apple vice president, is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the scaled-back Macworld show in New York. In the past, CEO Steve Jobs has delivered the keynote address at the East Coast show, which this year was renamed Macworld CreativePro from Macworld Expo to reflect a focus on graphic artists and musicians rather than on a broader audience of Mac users.

Apple has not introduced any new hardware products at this week's event, which, in past years, has been a major launching ground for products.

Instead, Apple made its major moves at its Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco last month. It used that event to unveil its Power Mac G5 and to offer a preview of Panther, the next version of the Mac operating system.

This week, the company added fuel to the debate over the performance of its new Power Mac G5, launching a new commercial that touts the desktop as "the world's fastest, most powerful personal computer."

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company also said earlier this week that it would start selling the iPod digital music player at all Circuit City stores as well as at Bose outlets.

In addition, a five-song EP of live tracks from Avril Lavigne will be sold exclusively through Apple's iTunes music store, with each song selling for 99 cents, the company said.

The moves all come ahead of Apple's quarterly earnings report, which is due at the close of regular trading Wednesday. The company is expected to report earnings of 3 cents per share, on revenue of $1.5 billion, according to analysts polled by research firm First Call.

 

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