Apple launches new Intel Mac Minis, iPod Hi-Fi

Mac maker introduces two new Minis with Intel chips and a speaker system that CEO Steve Jobs says is of home stereo quality.

CUPERTINO, Calif.--Apple Computer on Tuesday introduced its third Intel-based Mac, a revamped version of its petite Mac Mini.

The new Mac Mini will be available, starting immediately, in two models. The low-end model sells for $599 and comes with a 1.5GHz Intel Solo single-core chip, a 60GB hard drive and a combo drive that can play DVDs and burn CDs.

Photos: Apple's Intel Mini, iPod Hi-Fi

The higher-end version will sell for $799. It comes with a dual-core 1.67GHz Core Duo processor, an 80GB hard drive and a SuperDrive that burns CDs and DVDs.

Both models come with 512MB of memory, Gigabit Ethernet networking, FireWire ports and four USB ports.

"We think this is going to be a strong product for us," CEO Steve Jobs said at a special event at company headquarters here.

Apple also unveiled the "home stereo quality" iPod Hi-Fi, which Jobs said is of higher quality than the speakers available today. The large speaker system comes with an iPod dock built-in, as well as an auxiliary port to connect an iPod Shuffle or other device.

"It's really a home stereo reinvented," Jobs said. "It's home stereo reinvented for the iPod age."

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Video: Apple's new Mac Mini
At Apple headquarters, CEO Steve Jobs shows off the new Intel-powered Mac Mini to a group of reporters.

The iPod Hi-Fi will sell for $349 and goes on sale on Tuesday. The device can plug directly into the wall or run with six "D" batteries.

Jobs also introduced Apple-branded leather cases for the video iPod and iPod Nano. The cases will sell for $99 and will be available in mid-March.

The new Mac Mini does move Apple a step closer to offering a living-room PC similar to a Windows Media Center. The new computer is loaded with the company's "Front Row" multimedia navigation system, which allows viewers to use a remote control to browse and play music and video files, and the company showed its capabilities connected to a flat-screen Sony TV.

But Mini still lacks built-in abilities to record video from a television, which would turn it into a natural TiVo competitor, or a simple way to hook into a cable or satellite TV system. Analysts said that neither the industry overall nor consumer expectations have settled on a mainstream blend of computer and TV functions.

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