Talk about the coming iPhone and AppleTV device dominated the discussion with the chief financial officer of Apple at an investment conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.
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.
Oppenheimer did not discuss the stock options controversy at Apple. The US Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco are investigating whether Apple improperly accounted for and disclosed the backdating of options. No charges have been filed.
"AppleTV will change the way people gather and purchase their digital content," said Oppenheimer of the US$299 AppleTV, due out later this month. It is 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 downloads, 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.
The much-anticipated Apple iPhone is scheduled to hit the market in June. The iPhone, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced at Macworld in January, features a touch-screen interface on a combination phone, iPod, and email and internet access device. It will sell for $499 or $599 depending on storage capacity, and will require a two-year contract with Cingular Wireless, the mobile division of AT&T.
Oppenheimer predicts 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.