Mon dieu! Apple's interim CEO Steve Jobs suprised everyone by announcing nothing new during his keynote speech at Apple Expo, Paris, this morning. While analysts and Macintosh users waited to hear all about the rumoured next generation iMac - with DVD, FireWire and AirPort wireless technology - Jobs stuck with localized re-runs of recent announcements. iMerde!


"We have two hottest consumer products in our industry, and now have two of the hottest pro products," Jobs beamed. "This is the strongest lineup in our history. This year has been a fantastic one for Apple ... but I think the next one is going to be even better."

Jobs did keep us up to date on iBook availability - revealing that the consumer laptop starts shipping next Wednesday in the US. European shipments will follow a few weeks later, probably by mid-October in the UK. The Apple boss told the beret-wearing crowds that iBook pre-orders have risen to 160,000 units - up from the 140,000 he announced at August's Seybold Seminars in San Francisco.

With vice president of product marketing, Monsieur Phil Schiller, Jobs showed off the Power Mac G4 line of pro desktop systems, which he originally unveiled during a more exciting keynote at Seybold. According to Jobs, the high-end 'Sawtooth' 450- and 500-MHz versions will be available in Europe in November.

IBM representatives reprised their performance at July's Macworld Expo/New York with a French-language Mac version of ViaVoice, IBM's speech-recognition package. Ecoutez-vous?

In a further New York deja-vu, Jobs introduced Bungie co-founder Jason Jones, who presented a demo of his company's forthcoming Mac version of its Halo game.

Jobs and Schiller pitted the Power Mac G4 against Pentium III workstations, showed off Mac OS 9's new Sherlock 2 Internet search engine, and touted the company's QuickTime streaming and AirPort wireless-networking technologies.
Keep reading Macworld Online for actual news of the next iMac, OS 9 availability, Mac OS X developments, etc. Just don't expect anything earth-shattering this week from Apple Expo, Paris...