Apple dropped "computer" from its name but not from its identity. In his keynote speech Monday at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference...
SAN FRANCISCO — Apple dropped “computer” from its name but not from its identity.
In his keynote speech Monday at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco, Chief Executive Steve Jobs made clear that despite the company’s increasing focus on consumer-electronics devices such as the iPod and the new iPhone, Apple remains committed to competing in the PC market.
In addition to the standard jabs at Microsoft and Windows, the iconic CEO highlighted steps the company is taking to introduce and lure Windows users to Apple’s software.
Perhaps the splashiest is his decision to release a version of the company’s Safari browser for Windows.
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According to Jobs, Safari is the third most popular browser used on the Web, with about 5 percent market share, even though it was only available for Macintosh users.
Apple will distribute Safari with the other Windows software the company produces: its iTunes jukebox, which has been downloaded some 500 million times, Jobs said.
“We dream big,” Jobs said. “We’d love for Safari’s market share to grow substantially … We’re going to go try,” he said.
Analysts credit Apple’s decision to develop iTunes for Windows with boosting the success of its iPod music player, and with helping introduce Windows users to the Mac.
The company has said that in recent quarters, some 50 percent of new Macintosh purchasers have not owned a Mac before, and the company has steadily gained market share.
But Jobs also announced some steps that could help keep that momentum going.
Near the start of his presentation, he announced that the world’s largest independent video-game maker, Electronic Arts, was going to bring more of its top games, including Madden football and Tiger Woods golf, to the Mac.
Apple has long had a big disadvantage to the Windows environment when it comes to games.
Game makers tend to develop games for the PC first and then port them over to the Mac months later — if at all — meaning that a greater variety of games and most of the newer games are available only on Windows.
Much of Jobs’ presentation focused on Leopard, the company’s forthcoming update to its Mac operating system.
One of the key new features is a program called “Boot Camp,” which lets Mac users choose which operating system to run when they start up their computer, either the Mac OS or Windows.
Jobs announced that Boot Camp will be built into Leopard — it’s currently available for download as a free test version — and will work hand-in-hand with third-party programs that allow users to run Windows applications directly within the Mac operating system.
Apple will also ship a complete set of Windows drivers with Leopard, so that Windows applications will be able to use the Web cameras and other hardware features built into the company’s computers.
“This is the best way to run Windows on a Macintosh,” Jobs said.
To be sure, the company’s ambition goes well beyond computers these days. And with its much hyped iPhone nearing its June 29 launch, Jobs announced that developers could get in on that action also.
The company had initially said that programmers would not be able to write applications for the iPhone due to security and stability concerns. But Monday, Jobs announced the company had come up with a way to address those issues.
Its solution was to encourage programmers to write so-called Web 2.0 applications using the Ajax programming environment.
iPhone users would be able to run those programs through the Safari browser built into the iPhone, Apple Vice President Scott Forrestal noted.
Developers can write those programs immediately without having the phone in hand and without some kind of special programming kit, he said.
It remains to be seen whether that solution will satisfy developers or users. It could limit the sophistication of the programs that outside developers could write for the phone.
It also means developers won’t be able to simply port applications they’ve written for Macs over to the iPhone.
Several developers at the conference expressed disappointment about Apple’s approach, noting they’d essentially have to write two separate programs, one for the Macintosh computers and one for the iPhone.
“I’m not too thrilled about that,” said Robert Brennan, a programmer at the University of Alberta.
Nearly 5,000 attendees attended Jobs’ keynote address, but the crowd was relatively subdued compared with past Apple events, as Jobs kept most of the focus on Leopard, MarketWatch reported.
Some said they were disappointed Jobs hadn’t revealed more about the iPhone.
By far the loudest cheers from the audience during the speech were for iPhone images flashed on the giant screen behind Jobs, the Los Angeles Times reported, adding that Apple is struggling to keep expectations in check as it prepares to release one of the most hotly anticipated products.
After Jobs finished, , Apple’s shares fell $4.30, or almost 3.5 percent, to close at $120.19. The stock has been on a tear of late, surging nearly 40 percent in the last two months on anticipation of the iPhone.