It's not every day that a new computer mouse moves thousands of people to applause. Macworld only happens once a year.
Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) annual New York trade show kicked off Wednesday with a keynote address from CEO Steve Jobs. His presentation was met with the usual enthusiasm from the rabid Apple faithful, who greeted each new iMac color that was announced -- indigo, ruby, sage and snow -- with all the reserve of a college hockey crowd.
Product highlights included an oblong optical mouse that replaces the round device that many users have found awkward to operate, and a new line of Power Macs with dual-G4 processors. Jobs concluded his keynote by unveiling Apple's new desktop product, the Cube -- a G4-powered machine that's crammed, as its name suggests, into an 8-inch cube suspended in a clear plastic case.
Analysts were generally positive. "Apple did two things today," says David Bailey of Gerard Klauer Mattison, which hasn't done any underwriting for the company: "They hit a lower price point in the consumer segment with the iMac. And they addressed the need of high-end consumers with the G4 Cube, which provides people with a G4 processor and the ability to go to 17-inch or flat display without taking up much real estate on the desk."Recent evidence suggests that consumers have been migrating back toward high-end products after last year's trend toward cheap or even free PCs. Low-end PC maker eMachines (EEEE) has seen its stock sink more than 60% from its high after issuing an earnings warning. Apple plummeted 8% Wednesday in the wake of an earnings report Tuesday that showed sales growing 17% in the second quarter from the year-ago period. Investors were spooked by CFO Fred Anderson's admission that sales of the company's flagship iMac computer were "relatively flat." ( TSC wrote a