CUPERTINO, Calif.—At a special, invitation-only event for press and analysts on Feb. 28, Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs introduced an Intel-based Mac mini, leather iPod cases and an iPod “boom box” called the iPod Hi-Fi.
Apple has sold more than 42 million iPods through the end of last year, Jobs said, giving the personal music player 78 percent of the market share. And, he noted, the iTunes Music Store has just sold more than 1 billion songs.
“We think weve done a pretty good job of handling iPods on the go,” Jobs said, adding that he wants to focus on integrating iPods to more static environments.
Toward this, Jobs revealed a “home stereo quality” iPod Hi-Fi, which will use the promotional line “Home Stereo. Reinvented.” and cost $349, available now. The product is compact and looks like a single speaker, but includes a dock on top for your iPod. The dock will fit adapters for all current iPod models.
The power supply is integrated, Jobs said, so it will not require an external power brick; for mobile use, the iPod Hi-Fi will be able to run off of six D cell batteries.
The sealed-chamber speakers and the resin case will provide high-quality sound, according to Jobs. It will include auxiliary and SPIDF input, possibly allowing it to be used as a standard speaker.
The iPod Hi-Fi will be controllable remotely with any Apple Remote, such as comes with the new Mac mini.
Jobs also announced a line of iPod leather cases for the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano, calling it a higher-end product. They will go on sale in mid-March at a price of $99.
Talking about Apples core business—computers—Jobs debuted two models of the new Intel-based Mac mini, one with a Core Solo single-core processor, which Jobs claims will benchmark at two to four times the speed of the previous model. It will also feature GMA950 integrated graphics, a 60GB HD and 512MB RAM, at a cost of $599. A Core Duo model that Jobs said ups the speed gain to approximately fivefold, will come with a SuperDrive and an 80GB hard drive for $799. Both come bundled with the iLife 06 media application suite.
Both models also feature added Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire, four USB 2.0 ports, analog and SPDIF (5.1) audio and video outputs, and DVI.
Saying that the “Mac mini has always been BYOKDM—bring your own keyboard, display and mouse,” Jobs pointed out that you can hook the Mac mini up to televisions, making for, in a way, a media center.
Toward this, Jobs announced that Apple will be adding Front Row and a remote to the Mac mini. Front Row is a media center-like front end that allows remote control and presentation of movies, music, slideshows and even streaming movie trailers from Apples own Web site.
New to Front Row is the ability to play shared music via Bonjour, Apples automatically configuring, cross-platform local networking technology. As a result, the Mac mini will play all content on Macs connected to a Bonour network (though individuals can opt not to share their content). This content can include all songs stored in iTunes, or photos complete with slideshows or movies.
Jobs said Apple is releasing the update for all Macs that come with Front Row.