Apple CEO Steve Jobs will deliver the keynote speech at Apple Expo Paris next month, according to American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu.

Wu expects Jobs will use Paris to make significant announcements "beyond just new iPods". He speculates these could include music subscriptions, video and the iTunes mobile phone.

Apple Expo Paris runs September 20-24. Apple has not yet confirmed who this year's keynote speaker will be, but has said it will take place once again at the Palais des Congres on the morning of September 20.

AppleInsider last week claimed Jobs' personal staff to have already organised for the Paris trip - the CEO's first visit in two years - and suggested "at least one" major announcement to be likely.

Apple slowly consolidates its lead

Following talks with Apple executives last week, the analyst remains: "More convinced than ever that Apple has a substantial lead and advantage" over its digital music competitors, according to MacObserver.

While competing firms are trying to seize the market from Apple, they have a long way to go, he said.

"Progress is being made by the Windows Media camp (to cut into Apple's lead), but coordination and integration are proving difficult because of the many vendors involved including systems, semiconductor, software, content, and service providers, with their various agendas and diverse geographies," he told clients.

Naysayers say nay

However, analysts at Morning Star believe Apple's lead will decline, warning: "There are several trends that suggest iPod sales will slow in the future. Competition is growing and the early-adopter phase is coming to an end, which typically means that sales will be driven by replacement purchases (think cell phones)."

These analysts don't believe Apple will be able to maintain its exponential growth.

Illustrated: Apple CEO Steve Jobs delivers keynote at Apple Expo, Paris in 2002. Image by Lisa Rocket