New Computer by Jobs on Display Wednesday / Developed in Secrecy

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO - At last, it's here, the event the computer world has been waiting for.

On Wednesday, Steven P. Jobs, the 33-year-old co-founder of Apple Computer Inc., will introduce the computer that his new company, Next Inc., has been developing in tight secrecy since Jobs was ousted from his post at Apple three years ago.

The machine promises to be dazzling in its design, with brilliant stereo sound, dancing video images and a host of advanced technologies that could raise computing to a new level.

But forget the machine. The introduction itself is attracting much of the attention. Jobs' company has rented Davies Symphony Hall here for a gala event that is shaping up as the Silicon Valley equivalent of a Broadway or Hollywood opening.

``I bought a black leather dress for the occasion,'' said Heidi Roizen, president of T-Maker, a software company, who said she had assumed that such a grand event would be held in the evening. The introduction actually begins at 9:30 a.m., but she said she might wear the dress anyway.

Everybody who is anybody will be there - or try to be. Already more than 2,300 industry executives and college educators have sent in their RSVP's for the affair, which is by invitation only. Some people have asked if they could bring dates.

There will be 260 reporters, who will be provided with cellular telephones to call in their stories. Interest from the media is so high that newspaper photographers and television cameramen will have to work in a pool, with selected camera operators sharing their film footage with the others who are not allowed inside, as they do for some major government events.

Tickets are at such a premium that, some say, a market has developed for scalpers, Those who have bought such tickets might be disappointed, however. …