Apple CEO Steve Jobs has announced the availability of an Intel-powered Mac mini, confirming that "fifty per cent of our entire product line is now available with Intel processors, in less than sixty days."

The entry level 1.5GHz Mac mini with 667MHz bus, 512MB RAM, 60GB hard drive and Combo CD/DVD, features Intel's Core Solo CPU rather than the Core Duo CPU found in the new iMac and MacBook Pro. A dual core Mac mini is also available, however, and will feature the Core Duo chip. This 1.67GHz version features a 80GB hard disk and 8x SuperDrive.

The new Mac mini appears to have the same form-factor. According to Apple the 1.5GHz version is 2.5x faster on integer calculations and 3.2x faster in floating point calculations than its predecessor. The 1.67 version is said to be 4.8x faster in integer calculations and 5.5x times faster in floating point calculations than its predecessor.

"And, of course, you can also hook it up to televisions," Jobs told journalists gathered at a special event at Apple's Cupertino campus.

From the Front Row

The Mac mini features Front Row; it also features the infra-red sensor that the Front Row-equipped iMac sported, enabling the use of Apple's remote control that works with the movie-watching, music-playing software.

Front Row is now able to support shared iTunes music libraries from other Macs in the area. The same can be said for iPhoto albums and shared videos. Apple is calling this Front Row update "Front Row with Bonjour" and it will be available for other Macs running Front Row.

The new Mac mini also features AirPort Extreme, Bluetooth, four USB 2.0 interfaces, FireWire 400, GigaBit Ethernet, DVI video out, Dolby Digital 5.1, and analogue audio in and out.

The 1.5GHz version will cost £449. The 1.67GHz version will cost £599. Both prices include VAT. Previously, three versions of the Mac mini were available: a 1.25GHz (40GB) version for £359, a 1.42GHz (80GB) model for £429, and a 1.42GHz SuperDrive model (80GB) for £499.

Apple has also reinvented the home stereo with the launch of the iPod Hi-Fi.