Apple CEO Steve Jobs expects the economy to remain tough for the rest of the year, he told Cnet yesterday.

“I don't see any improvement this year,” he explained in a rare interview.

Mac OS X adoption is rising, Jobs explained, climbing from one million users at the beginning of 2002 to 1.5-2 million today. He expressed confidence that the company would end the year with five million OS X users. This is twenty per cent of Apple's user base of 25 million.

Shares up Jobs also talked about Xserve, which Apple introduced yesterday. The fastest Apache server of its size, Jobs seemed optimistic for the product. “It could spread,” he said.

Wall Street's reaction to Xserve has been positive so far – Apple closed at $25.61 yesterday, a $1.67 rise. The company gained another nine cents on the after-hours market.

Apple also released its form 10Q yesterday. Available now, this financial instrument details how the company fared in the quarter up to March 2002.