Apple on Tuesday announced that its upcoming Apple Expo Paris show wont be opened by a "formal" keynote address, much less one by CEO Steve Jobs. The notice—just a sentence on the expos Web site—countered recent reports that Jobs would open the event and appeared to splash water on the growing firestorm of speculation over new product introductions.
Apple Expo Paris, scheduled to begin September 20 at that citys Palais des Congrès. Instead of the expected keynote address, there will be a question-and-answer session for the media with company executives.
However, Apple observers said the company had made no official announcement previously that there would be a keynote presentation at Apple Expo Paris, by Jobs or anyone else. However, Jobs will still reportedly attend the show.
Late last week Apple enthusiast site AppleInsider reported that Jobs would present the Apple Expo Paris keynote and that he was expected to make "at least one major [product] announcement during his presentation."
This fueled online speculation that Jobs would announce new computer hardware, such as updated PowerBooks or new dual-core Power Mac G5 desktops. Other rumors suggested that the company would follow Wednesdays expected iPod phone announcements with a media player that could handle streaming video.
The AppleInsider report suggested that Apple would introduce the last Power PC-based version of the PowerBook line prior to the switch to Intel processors. It said that the updates had run into problems that could cause delays or even cancellation of the update.
On the other hand, in August, The Mac Observer Web site offered the prediction by Caris & Co. analyst Mark Stahlman that: "We believe that Apple is preparing new G5 PowerMacs based on IBMs dual-core 970 PPC, G5 Mac Minis based on a new IBM low-power processor, and new G4 PowerBooks based on next generation processors from Freescale Semiconductors," some, or all of which could be revealed at Apple Expo Paris.
Historically, since Jobs return to Apple, the CEO has helmed all new product announcements, whether at Apple Expo Paris or the U.S.-based Macworld Expo conferences.
The one exception was at Apple Expo Paris in 2004, when Phil Schiller, Apples senior vice president of hardware product marketing, revealed the current generation of iMac G5 desktops. Jobs was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer at the time. The 2001 Apple Expo Paris was cancelled due to the events of 9/11 in New York City.
With no keynote by Jobs on the horizon, some Mac watchers have given up hope of an announcement of new Apple products in Paris.
One poster on the Macintosh Achaia message boards wrote, "Seems that there wont be an SJ [Steve Jobs] keynote at Paris. So forget anything of value being introduced."
However, other posters in the forum looked for excuses for the supposed change. One pointed out that Apple Expo Paris is close to the end of Apples fiscal year, and that introducing new products that might not be immediately available could play havoc with the companys finances. Another poster suggested that announced but unavailable products could hurt current sales, significantly affecting the companys bottom line.
Apple Expo Paris has seen the introduction not only of the iMac G5, but also updated PowerBooks and new iBook configurations.
The Paris-based show took on more significance for Apple and Apple-watchers after the company pulled out of the annual summer Macworld trade show in 2003, subsequent to promoter IDG World Expo moving the show from New York City to Boston. With IDGs cancellation of Macworld Tokyo, this left Apple Expo Paris at the sole large mid-year event Apple attended.
As a result of the Apple Expo keynote announcement, the new-product spotlight has fallen even more on Wednesdays announcement in San Francisco. Previously, this was expected to be all about an iTunes-enabled cell phone, or perhaps new iPod models, but now some are speculating more diverse hardware announcements.
Apple representatives could not be reached for comment.
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