“For those used to big announcements from Apple, the company’s media event at its headquarters here on Tuesday might have been a disappointment,” Troy Wolverton reports for TheStreet.com. “Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised some ‘medium-scale’ product introductions and delivered along those lines, introducing a new version of the company’s low-end computer and an iPod-powered boom box. But if the actual products were underwhelming, the company’s vision is becoming clearer — and bolder. The product announcements indicate that Apple is clearly trying to establish itself as a player in the battle for the digital living room, where computer and networking technology is married with consumers’ traditional entertainment systems.”

“The updated version of the company’s Mac mini computer, for instance, has sophisticated audio-out jacks, a remote control and Apple’s Front Row software, which allows users to access digital video, pictures and music using the remote,” Wolverton reports. “With the Mac mini, the company is releasing an updated version of Front Row that allows the software to connect with other computers on a user’s network, meaning that consumers will be able to watch video or listen to music stored on computers other than the Mac mini… But the Mac mini and Front Row are just part of the company’s new advance into the living room. The company’s iPod Hi-Fi is the other. Essentially a speaker box that connects to an iPod, the Hi-Fi represents Apple’s first effort by itself to transform the iPod from a personal music device to a home audio device.”

“That lack of a ‘wow’ product rollout was seemingly reflected in Apple’s stock price, which began slipping Tuesday after the products were announced; the shares were recently off $1.77, or 2.5%, to $69.22,” Wolverton reports. “Still, the products did represent important steps. The new Mac mini will include Intel processors, marking the latest models in the company’s Macintosh computer to make the transition from PowerPC chips. As Jobs noted, the company has now moved half of its Macintosh line over to Intel chips since the start of the year.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: The stock price slip is more likely due to the Google mess than today’s product announcements.

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Apple debuts iPod Hi-Fi speaker system, leather cases for 5G iPod, iPod nano – February 28, 2006
Apple introduces new Intel-based Mac mini – February 28, 2006