2004 was a challenging but lucky year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told USA Today this week.

He spoke with the popular US daily shortly after his Macworld Expo San Francisco keynote speech on Tuesday, and said that "he feels great", personally and professionally.

The report reveals that analysts predict Mac mini will grow Apple's PC marketshare.

Jobs is sanguine: "Who knows? It will make it easier for people to switch and try out a Mac." He expects some Mac users will use Mac mini to replace their existing machines, projecting "incremental" growth.

Apple's consumer-friendly iLife suite also wins praise, for the way it brings powerful creative possibilities to consumers at an affordable price.

Years since iLife launched, USA Today notes: "That theme was taken up last week by competitors at the Consumer Electronics Show."

Respected industry visionary, Jobs responds: "There's a difference between actually saying something and having a solution. It's great they're saying it, but now they have do some hard work and make some products."

Speaking to CNBC, Jobs stressed Apple's culture of "excellence", MacNN reports.

On iPod shuffle, he said: "We wanted to make one of the smallest, lightest and best flash memory music players in the world."

With the company's ability to, "figure out how to make complex technology easy to use by us mere mortals", he revealed that the music industry has been "super-supportive" of iTunes.

"We're working closely with them to come up with even more innovative ways to get music discovered and get it to the market," MacNN's report concludes.