If this year's Macworld Conference & Expo follows form, Apple (AAPL) Chief Executive Steve Jobs will pull the curtain back on a new device or two that will capture the consuming public's fancy. Early word, for example, is that he'll announce a slick new sub-notebook that, if successful, could help make mainstream a product that until now has occupied only a niche. That's what Apple did for digital music players with the iPod and for smartphones with the iPhone.
But for Apple to make the most of its peerless products, experts say it will need to improve relations with the folks who create the content to run on them, especially after the series of spats that marked 2007. Recall the refusal by Universal Music Group, the world's largest record label, to re-up its long-term contract to supply music to Apple's iTunes Store, or the move by General Electric's (GE) NBC Universal to pull its TV shows from iTunes.
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