Analysts and others have begun commenting on Apple's new product announcements on Tuesday.

American Technology Research Shaw Wu (who sees Apple stock as a "buy"), described the new products as "appearing underwhelming", but sees a bigger picture emerging.

Is less more?

"At first, we felt a little underwhelmed with the product announcements due to our expectation of more," he said.

"But after more careful thought and consideration, we believe Apple is making less apparent progress in building a broader digital entertainment portfolio with both its Mac and iPod and iTunes franchises," he added.

Like many analysts, Wu remains puzzled at the lack of a TV tuner in the Mac mini: "To us it screams 'connect me to a television'," he added.

"We find the new FrontRow software with Bonjour auto-discovery file sharing networking capability as further proof of Apple's commitment to leading the industry in ease of use," the analyst said.

Standards to drive future innovation

Speaking to the Mac Observer, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster explained that the new networking features in Front Row are simply a first step toward a new home entertainment paradigm.

He visualises a future upgraded version of AirPort that's capable of streaming video content at high-quality without the dropped frames and network interference users encounter in present generations of the WiFi standard.

'The quality right now is suspect because of the streaming bandwidth through 802.11b/g. 802.11m is the high bandwidth we need, but it's not there yet," he explained, adding that the quality of videos sold through iTunes also needs to improved.

He said: "Apple knows where this is going. They want to roll out technology when it's 'everyday-man-proof'. This is Apple's game to lose."

Warning shot

Business Week also filed a report, remarking that the products mark "important steps" in Apple's invasion of the living room.

The report also stresses the importance of the network features now present in Front Row.

"This will go down as the shot heard round the world for the home-audio business," says Sonos co-founder Tom Cullen told Business Week. "Everyone at Bose, Denon, Harman has got to be wondering what this means for them."

On the iPod Hi-Fi, Cullen observed that the device is designed to hit frequencies from 53 hertz on the base side to highs of 16 kilohertz. Serious audiophiles would favour 20 hertz on each side of that equation, he noted: "No audiophile would buy a product that isn't '20-to-20', but Apple had to make trade-offs to create a boombox-style product, and they made good ones."