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Apple Puts Intel Inside

And while Jobs had no all-new products to announce, he indicated that this was only the start. The company plans to upgrade its entire Macintosh line by the end of this year.

In terms of product announcements, the surprise was not so much that Apple is moving to Intel early as it was which products are the first to make the transition -- and what Jobs seemed to leave out. The company just updated its iMac line last fall; basically, the only change Apple made to those computers is the chips underneath the hood.  

Analysts widely expected Apple to update its notebook lineup early in the Intel transition, because the chips underlying its portable computers were significantly slower and older than those in its desktop computers -- and those found in competing notebooks.

But the move to update the professional line of notebooks is something of a surprise. Many analysts had expected the company to upgrade its consumer line of notebooks -- the iBook series -- first. That's because few of the professional applications most commonly used on Macs, such as video, photo and music-editing software, have been updated to run natively on the Intel processors.  

What was also something of a shock was that Apple didn't announce an update to its entry-level Mac mini. Much of the focus at the Consumer Electronics Show last week was on computing devices using Intel's new Viiv platform that allow consumers to play digital music and movies stored on their computer through their home entertainment systems.

Given Apple strengths in digital music -- and that Jobs introduced the Mac mini at MacWorld a year ago -- the company has been widely expected to unveil its own version of the Viiv entertainment device in the form of a revamped Mac mini.    

Many analysts had also expected Apple to announce an update to its iPod shuffle, the entry-level digital music player that the company debuted at this conference last year. As such, it was the oldest iPod in Apple's lineup -- and one that was hard to come by in recent weeks.  

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