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Jobs Outlines Apple's Java Plans

Apple Computer Inc. announced Monday its Java strategy and demonstrated its next generation desktop computer for consumers at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Presiding over the annual gathering in San Jose, Calif., Apple's interim CEO Steve Job said the company has licensed the PowerPC version of Symantec Corp.'s Just In Time compiler for Java and will integrate it into the Mac OS Runtime for Java. Jobs said this would result in a significant performance improvement for Apple's Java-compatible virtual machine.

"We want to offer a standard version of Java for the Mac," Jobs said. To that end, he announced to wide applause and rousing cheers that Microsoft, Netscape and other key Mac software developers have agreed upon a single version of Java they will use.

Jobs promised the gathered throng that by the time the JVM ships, it will achieve 3,898 CaffeineMarks, which would make it one of the fastest performing virtual machines.

Jobs had demonstrated the company's next generation Mac desktop machine last week, but also showed it off today. Beaming like a proud father, he showed iMac-what Apple is calling "the Internet-age computer for the rest of us." At an anticipated price of $1,299, Apple hopes the machine will help it hold onto its large customer base in the education and consumer markets and perhaps even win converts.

Apple claims the iMac outperforms the fastest Pentium II chips found on Windows/Intel machines. Like the original Macintosh computer, the iMac will contain everything needed within a single casing, including modem, stereo speakers and an infrared technology (IrDA) port. The product won't ship until the fall.

During his rather informal keynote speech and demonstrations, Jobs touted the product, staffing and financial progress the beleaguered company has made since he resumed direct involvement in Apple's management last October: Reducing the previously confusing product line to four models, a software strategy, stopping the brain drain of Apple engineers and two quarters or profitability.