By Craig Zammit

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Apple revealed its latest product releases for both its iPod and Mac brands to a lukewarm response at an invitation-only event at its Cupertino headquarters yesterday, just one week after its iTunes online music service celebrated its one billionth song download.

After the strong build-up surrounding the releases, journalists and industry analysts have described the products as ‘medium-scale’ and ‘over-hyped’, however there is no denying the impact they are still likely to have on their respective markets.

Available in Australia through Apple stores and Apple authorised dealers, the iPod Hi-Fi (RRP $A549) will look to capitalise on the colossal successful of the iPod brand.

About the size of a large shoebox at 43cm(w) x 18cm(h) x 46cm(d), the iPod Hi-Fi is, according to Apple chief executive, Steve Jobs, ‘home stereo reinvented’.

The iPod Hi-Fi is intended to replace the typical CD-based home stereo system. Like other products currently sold by third-party manufacturers, the iPod Hi-fi is a boom box with an iPod docking port placed atop the device. Users dock their iPod into the boom box and music will stream direct into the lounge room while charging their iPod at the same time.

Apple also introduced two new Mac Mini computers with Intel Core Duo inside. The new Mac Mini is able to connect direct to a user’s television using the company’s Front Row software.

At only 5cm tall and 16cm deep, the Mac Mini is designed to appeal to consumers with space restrictions. The two computers, which feature different processing speeds, will be available for RRP $A999 and RRP $A1299 through Apple stores and Apple authorised dealers.