SAN FRANCISCO—Apple CEO Steve Jobs is taking the concept of “mini” to the Mac computer and a flash-based iPod.
During his keynote Tuesday at the Macworld conference and expo here, Jobs introduced a Mac computer that almost fit into the palms of his hands and that is Apple Computer Inc.s latest answer for Windows users wanting to switch platforms.
“People understood the iPod mini, and I think theyll understand the Mac mini as well,” Jobs said, referring to the 4 GB iPod launched at last years Macworld.
The Mac mini will be available Jan. 22 in two models that start at $499, Jobs said. It comes without a monitor, keyboard or mouse, instead connecting with a users existing equipment.
“We supply the computer, and you supply the rest,” Jobs said. “We want to price this Mac so that people thinking of switching will have no more excuses.”
Apple also is making the iPod even smaller than the iPod mini. Jobs launched the iPod shuffle, Apples entry into the flash player market that incorporates its song-shuffling technology.
The iPod shuffle began shipping from factories Tuesday. On one end, it includes a USB 2.0 connector that also can be fitted with a lanyard for wearing it around ones neck.
“It is smaller than most packs of gum, and it weighs about same as about four quarters, or under one ounce,” Jobs said.
The iPod shuffle comes in a 512 MB and a 1 GB model, priced at $99 and $149, respectively. Along with digital music, it can double as a USB drive and lets users determine how much memory to devote to each function, Jobs said.
Not everything was about miniaturization during Jobs keynote. He also introduced Apples productivity suite replacement for AppleWorks in a move that could pit Apple more directly against Microsoft Corp.s Office suite for the Mac.
The iWork suite builds atop Apples existing Keynote software for creating presentations by also providing a word processor called Pages. AppleWorks had become outdated because it was developed before the move to Mac OS X and long before Apples digital-media suite, called iLife, existed.
“We created [iWork] from the ground up to take full advantage of Mac OS X and iLife,” Jobs said.
iWork is slated for release on Jan. 22, with pricing at $79. It will include Keynote 2, an update that adds 10 new design themes and expanded animation features.
As for Pages, Jobs called it “word processing with an incredible sense of style.”
Thats because it not only provides standard word-processing functions but also comes with 40 Apple-designed templates for creating everything from a form letter or brochure to a family newsletter or menu, Jobs said.
In a demonstration, Phil Schiller, Apples vice president of worldwide product marketing, showed how the templates open with placeholder text, graphics and folders and let users grab photos from iPhoto to insert them into documents. The templates also automatically adjust when users add, move or resize elements.
Throughout his keynote, Jobs heralded 2005 as the year of high-definition video in the home and previewed HD video support coming to a range of Apple software. He even put aside competitive differences and shared the stage with Sony Corp. president Kunitake Ando after lauding Sonys HD camcorder, the FX1.
Jobs said the next version of iMovie—one of five digital-media applications in iLife 05, which is due out Jan. 22—will support the editing of HD video. Jobs displayed Sonys camcorder as an example of the devices capturing the high-quality movies.
Also on the HD front, Apple is launching an HD version of Final Cut Express in February to complement its current HD support in Final Cut Pro, Jobs said.
Along with iMovie, the iLife suite includes iPhoto for digital photo organizing, iDVD for DVD creation, GarageBand for digital audio recording and iTunes for playing digital music.
In iLife 05, Apple is adding greater photo editing capabilities in iPhoto and advanced features for slideshows and creating photo books. The application also will support more formats, including MPEG-4 for video and RAW for digital images, Jobs said. .
Rounding out the suite, iDVD is gaining 15 additional themes for creating DVD slideshows and will support all DVD formats. GarageBand will be able to record as many as eight tracks and will include a feature for transcribing music as it is being played.
As he did last year, Jobs brought out singer and songwriter John Mayer to demonstrate the new GarageBand features. As Mayer played the piano, a screen displayed GarageBand instantly translating the music into notes.
Not to leave Apples core Mac OS X software out of his keynote, Jobs also reiterated that the next version, named Tiger, would be available in the first half of the year.
While announcing few new features for the operating system, he recapped the major changes coming in Tiger, including the Spotlight search capability, Dashboard and an update to QuickTime 7 media player.
Jobs demonstrated some of the information “widgets” planned for Dashboard. Dashboard is a feature that lets user toggle to a display of a range of small applications that can display common information or perform quick tasks.
The widgets included a world clock, dictionary, thesaurus, calculator, measurement converter, and flight and stock trackers. Hundreds of third parties also are creating Dashboard widgets, such as an eBay Inc. auction tracker that Jobs displayed.
“This has evolved into something we think will be a big hit in Tiger,” Jobs said of Dashboard.
Discussing Tigers much-anticipated Spotlight search capabilities, Jobs downplayed the raft of other desktop-search tools hitting the market such as those from major search companies like Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp.s MSN unit.
Spotlights key difference, Jobs said, is that it is integrated throughout the Mac OS and into applications such as Apple Mail.
“Theyre great, but theyre nowhere near as great as Spotlight because when you build it into the core OS, you can do things you cant do with a tool sitting to the side,” Jobs said.
Editors Note: This story was updated to correct the storage capacity of the iPod mini and the iPod shuffle.