At a packed Macworld Expo keynote speech, Apple’s interim CEO Steve Jobs wowed the Mac faithful with the first-ever public viewing of Mac OS X and by unveiling an all-new Apple Web site and innovative Internet strategy. Jobs also dropped the "interim" part of his interim CEO job title, becoming Apple’s permanent CEO after two and a half years as acting chief executive.

Many analysts had expected Apple to preview new hardware products - particularly a revamped PowerBook, code-named "Pismo", and an iMac with a17-inch screen. But Jobs said that Apple was now thinking "beyond the box", and went on to detail a strategic Internet plan and a schedule for Apple’s next-generation operating system.

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Expo celebration time During the keynote speech, Jobs also touted a strong first quarter, which closed at the end of December. "For the first time we're firing on all cylinders," Jobs said. The company sold 1,350,000 Macs in the quarter, "more Macs than were sold in any quarter in Apple's history," he added.

Announcing that Apple portable computers held an 11 per cent share in the US laptop market, Jobs listed impressive figures for the consumer iBook. He called the iBook a "runaway success, with 11 per cent of iBook purchasers being first-time computer buyers and 17 per cent "Wintel switchers" – representing a 28 per cent of all iBook buyers being new to Apple. For 56 per cent of iBook customers, the iBook was their first portable computer in the home, and 90 per cent of iBook users are on the Internet, Jobs said. On the desktop consumer side, first-time computer users and Wintel "switchers" accounted for 30 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively, of new iMac buyers.

Jobs informed the keynote audience that Apple will continue with its ‘Think Different’ campaign, this year honouring film directors to fit in with the company’s digital-video focus. Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin (behind the camera), Frank Capra, Stanley Kubrick and Francis Ford Coppola (looking amazingly like Apple’s co-founder, Steve Wozniak), will all feature in the black-&-white brand campaign in 2000.

Finally, Jobs said that he was dropping the word "interim" from his title - the Apple founder took over the helm of the company as interim chief executive officer more than two years ago. However, in order to keep himself focussed on the Net, Jobs will still call himself iCEO – swapping the old ‘interim’ tag for ‘Internet’. Jobs remains full-time boss at both Apple at his other company, Toy Story creator Pixar Animation Studios.