“Apple CEO Steve Jobs turned 51 on Feb. 24. While the mercurial man behind the Macintosh may have received gifts last week, he’s apparently poised to give the Apple faithful a few this Tuesday,” Nathan Alderman writes for The Motley Fool. “Will the ‘fun new products’ that Apple has promised to unveil at a Feb. 28 media event be more of the same, or will it be the next step in Apple’s transformation from niche computer maker to mainstream home-entertainment company?”

“Last fall, Apple unveiled new iMacs with Front Row, a program that lets users access a computer’s iTunes music and movies via remote control. The software has since spread to its new MacBook Pro portables. With its big, glossy interface, Front Row seems made for TV screens in living rooms everywhere — and as Apple’s tiniest, least expensive product, the Mac mini seems tailor-made to run it. Adding fuel to the rumormongers’ fire, current Mac minis have reportedly reached ‘end of life’ status in Apple’s retail stores, an event that has previously proved a surefire signal that new models are on their way.” A new Mac mini could make a big splash, Alderman writes. “Sure, a TiVo is cheaper, but its hidden costs include a subscription fee for programming, whereas current video-recording products for Mac use a free Web site called TitanTV. With wireless networking built in, and seamless access to users’ iTunes libraries for music, downloaded shows, and possibly movies, a new Mac mini could easily become a simple, hassle-free home media server. And if it takes off the way the iPod has, it might leave TiVo and rivals such as NDS and Cisco’s Scientific-Atlanta quaking in their boots.”

Full article here.

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Apple to hold special media event tomorrow – February 27, 2006