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) 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.
Nano

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.

New Tablets

Japanese electronics giant Toshiba joined the growing list of tablet makers this week, unveiling its Folio 100 device at the IFA show in Berlin. Powered by Android version 2.2, the Folio 100 comes with a 10.1-inch screen and, unlike the iPad, offers Adobe's ( ADBE) Flash Player 10.1. Toshiba's Folio will be available in Europe later this year, although there is no word yet on a U.S. launch.

At the same event, Samsung took the wraps off its Galaxy tablet, another Android 2.2 device fitted with a small, 7-inch screen. Initial reaction to the Galaxy tablet has been positive, and the device is expected to increase the pressure on other tablet players such as Dell ( DELL) and maybe even Apple, although U.S. pricing and availability have not yet been announced.

HP, Dell and 3Par

The tug-of-love over 3Par ( PAR) finally reached a conclusion Thursday, when HP ( HPQ) declared victory over Dell.

HP's 3Par win is an expensive one. The tech giant will now pay $33 a share, or a total of $2.35 billion, for the utility storage specialist. Dell had originally bid $18 a share or $1.15 billion, prompting a rapidly-escalating bidding war. 3Par also announced that it had terminated an earlier merger agreement with Dell, paying the computer maker a $72 million termination fee.

HP, which also announced a $10 billion share buyback this week, will now use 3Par to boost its Converged Infrastructure strategy, which aims to streamline data center server, storage and networking and provide cloud computing. In a statement, HP storage chief Dave Donatelli said that his company plans to invest in 3Par's technology.

HP shares closed up 66 cents on Friday to $40.34, Dell's went up 23 cents to $12.59 and 3Par's stock, which was largely flat for the week, closed up 0.03% to $32.89.


Intel, Infineon, and VMware

In other tech M&A, Intel ( INTC) announced on Monday that it will pay $1.4 billion for Infineon's ( IFX) wireless-chip business, effectively gaining a ticket into the late innings of the 3G mobile game.

Virtualization trailblazer VMware ( VMW), which held its annual VMworld event in San Francisco this week, also opened its wallet, buying network analysis business Integrien and security software developer TriCipher.

Intel had an otherwise quiet week; its stock closed up a few cents to $18.43. VMware shares also went up $1.68 to $84.43.


ArcSight

Security software maker ArcSight ( ARST) hit the spotlight again this week, blowing past analysts' estimates in its first-quarter results. M&A rumors continue to swirl around ArcSight, although CEO Tom Reilly refused to discuss the acquisition chatter during the company's first-quarter conference call.

In addition to ArcSight, there has also been speculation that storage company CommVault ( CVLT) and networking specialist Riverbed ( RVBD) could make attractive aquisition targets, particularly at a time of obvious tech sector consolidation.

ArcSight shares closed slightly down Friday 1.32% at $37.34.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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