The iPhone and AppleTV dominated the discussion with the chief financial officer of Apple at an investment conference in San Francisco yesterday.
Peter Oppenheimer, appearing at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference, declined to give specific unit sales forecasts for the new products but anticipated they will be strong.
"AppleTV will change the way people gather and purchase their digital content," said Oppenheimer of the £199 AppleTV, due out later this month. It’s a set-top box that delivers digital content stored on a computer, including video purchased from Apple's iTunes online store, to a TV.
However, the usefulness of the AppleTV may be tied to the amount of video content available on iTunes. Today, he said, 400 movies and 350 TV programmes are available for download in the US, with more added all the time. He said Apple recently reached agreements with film distributors Paramount Pictures and Lion's Gate Entertainment to sell downloads of their movies on iTunes. TV and movie downloads via iTunes are expected to launch in Europe later this year.
The much-anticipated Apple iPhone is scheduled to hit the market in June. The iPhone, which Apple boss Steve Jobs introduced at Macworld in January, features an innovative touchscreen interface on a combination phone, iPod, and email and internet access device. It will sell for $499 or $599 in the US depending on storage capacity, and will require a two-year contract with Cingular Wireless, the mobile division of AT&T Inc. UK prices have yet to be revealed.
Oppenheimer declined to comment specifically on a 1 March report from Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty in which she raised her forecast for 2007 iPhone sales to 8 million from an earlier forecast of 6 million, based on a survey of 2,500 US customers.
"Half the demand is coming from the traditional high-end handset market and half from Apple's customer base," Huberty said.
While not commenting on the forecast, Oppenheimer said the iPhone will be a "breakthrough product”.
"Though Apple is new to the mobile phone market, we believe the addressable market will grow quickly," he said.