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Jobs's leave not slowing development at Apple

Bloomberg News / February 13, 2009
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SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Inc. chief operating officer Tim Cook, filling in for Steve Jobs, is hinting of iPhone price changes, working on new handsets, and has "ideas" for netbook computers, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. said.

The company also appears "confident" in its forecast for this quarter, analyst Toni Sacconaghi said in a report yesterday after meeting this week with Cook, chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer, and marketing chief Phil Schiller.

"Tim Cook stated that since Steve Jobs announced his leave of absence, he was spending more time on new products, how Apple could take the iPhone into new markets, and examining iPhone's business model," said Sacconaghi, who is ranked the top computer analyst by Institutional Investor magazine. "Several interesting tidbits point to new iPhones, potentially with different pricing/price points this year."

Cook, in charge of day-to-day operations while Apple's chief executive officer takes medical leave through June, and Schiller indicated the company had "very exciting" plans for the iPhone this year, Sacconaghi said. While Apple doesn't appear to be creating a netbook for "imminent" release, Cook described the scaled-down laptop PCs, which typically sell for $400 or less, as an interesting opportunity.

Sacconaghi, who expects the stock to outperform the S&P 500 in the next year and doesn't own it, said he sees Apple delivering new iPhones midyear. He also expects a new iMac desktop in March. As for Apple TV, a set-top box that delivers digital films and other content to television sets, the executives said there were "lots of barriers" that needed to be overcome, Sacconaghi said.

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