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Apple, HP/3Par: Weekly Tech Recap

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Forget the Verizon(VZ) iPhone. Music makers dominated the talk at this week's Apple (AAPL - Get Report) event, where select members of the press were invited to San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to live-blog new iPod, iTunes and AppleTV announcements.

( TheStreet was declined an invitation, but we were still able to log onto the webcast and report all the action.)

Apple's new, $50 2GB Shuffle is darling. The updated Nano, sans scroll-wheel and fixed with a clip and iPhone-like navigational icons, is about half the size and weight of its predecessor (see below). The touch-screen sells for $150 for 8GB and $180 for 16GB. Apple also introduced Ping, a music-focused Facebook-like network that allows iTunes 10 users to follow artists, see what friends are listening to and make recommendations.

But the day's biggest news revolved around another try at Apple TV, of which previous versions have faced less-than-mediocre reception.

The new Apple TV box is one-fourth the size of the original and features built-in Wi-Fi and the ability to stream HD movie rentals ($5 a flick) and TV shows ($1) from a selection of Hollywood studios and TV networks. The box also allows users to stream content from Netflix (NFLX), YouTube and one's own PC or Mac.

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Unfortunately, as highlighted by the drop in Apple's stock price the day of the event, AppleTV failed to excite investors, due in part to studios' tepid embrace of Apple's model to use iTunes to charge users $1 for two-day rentals.

But Apple's got many other successes to help it sustain itself until AppleTV catches steam. There's the iPad, which sees analysts again upping estimates. Morgan Stanley said Friday that Apple has doubled its iPad production to 2 million a month. That's likely due to big demand, but Apple could also be bolstering its front in anticipation for the deluge of Google (GOOG) Android-powered competitors, many which stand to make their debut this fall.

Apple's stock, up about 7% for the week, closed up $6.60 at $258.77 on Friday.
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