(Refiles to delete extraneous words in paragraphs one and
(Adds analyst comment, product details)
By Gabriel Madway and David Lawsky
SAN FRANCISCO Jan 6 Apple Inc (AAPL.O) said on
Tuesday it was dropping copy protection from songs sold on the
Internet and debuted its slimmest 17-inch laptop yet, but with
no dramatic products or master pitchman Steve Jobs, the
company's final Macworld performance disappointed Wall Street.
Apple shares slid 0.7 percent, lagging by far the Nasdaq's
.IXIC 1.7 percent gain, reflecting frustration over the lack
of news from the trade conference that had previously
introduced the iPhone to the world.
"There were some innovative products, but no true
blockbusters," said Robert Francello, head of equity trading
for Apex Capital hedge fund in San Francisco. "People were
bullish going into it, and now they're kind of taking money off
Apple said its iTunes music store, which has sold 6 billion
songs thus far, will offer its 10-million-song library free of
digital rights management -- or copy-protection -- by the end
of the quarter, for between 69 cents and $1.29 a song.
Songs will also be available straight to iPhones over the
air, instead of through a computer. [ID:nN06431393]
The company decided not use Macworld to launch any major
new product, as it had in past years, when it introduced such
industry-changing devices as the iPhone.
In years past, the company's Macworld product launches had
produced so much buzz that they managed to overshadow events at
the far larger Consumer Electronics Show. The 2009 CES
show kicks off this week in Las Vegas.
Tuesday's event produced few surprises. Apple announced a
$2,799 17-inch laptop that is the company's lightest and
slimmest ever, as well as tweaks to software for home movies
The event culminated with singer Tony Bennett crooning "The
Best is Yet to Come" and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" in
a farewell of sorts to Apple, which will no longer attend the
cultural event thronged annually by Mac-faithful.
Jobs, a fixture at past events, was nowhere in sight,
despite some hopes for a cameo. Last month, the company said
its chief executive and salesman extraordinaire would not
deliver the Macworld address. That raised fresh concerns about
the cancer survivor's health and signaled to many
Apple-watchers that the company had no plans to launch a major
product at Macworld.
(Writing by Edwin Chan, reporting by Gabriel Madway, David
Lawsky, Yinka Adegoke and Deepa Seetharaman, editing by Gerald