Apple to unveil new products

Apple’s design team looks set to launch a new mini laptop computer and a film rental service, according to analyst reports from the US.

The product launches are likely to be unveiled at the annual MacWorld conference in San Francisco, which opens today. The design world will watch keenly for details of the new designs, overseen by Apple’s vice-president of design Jonathan Ive and its chief executive Steve Jobs.

Jobs will take centre stage tomorrow at the Moscone West convention hall, the conference venue . However, the event is expected to be much more low-key than the 2007 one, which saw the unveiling of the iPhone.

A number of major US studios, including Walt Disney studios, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros are believed to have signed up for the digital video-on-demand service through the iTunes store. However, only Disney allows Apple to sell digital versions of new releases the same day the films are released on DVD.

One theory is that smaller, lighter computers may supplement Apple’s traditional desktops. A slimmed-down laptop, analysts say, might appeal to executives who need a powerful system, but not the features of a notebook. Analysts are suggesting that Apple’s new portable products could include touch-sensitive screens similar to those on the iPhone.

The high-end Mac Pro desktop was revamped last week and Apple’s iPod product range was overhauled in September.

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