Damn you, Apple, I was about to take a nap! Apple just unveiled the Airport Express with AirTunes, a plug-mounted mini version of their popular Airport Extreme 802.11g base station that ups the digital hub ante with the simple addition of an eighth-inch stereo out that turns the Airport Express into a streaming music outlet that interfaces seamlessly with iTunes. Maybe I'm not explaining this so well: plug in an Airport Express, attach it to any stereo (or powered speakers), and automagically stream iTunes music anywhere in your house.
You can already do similar things with devices like the Roku Soundbridge, for instance, but the addition of the simple $129 device from Apple is notable. There's also a
Firewire USB port (and Ethernet, obviously) on there that might be useful in the future. The Airport Express can also serve as a wireless bridge for easily extending the range of your existing 802.11g network. And since AirTunes works via iTunes, it looks like an update (version 4.6) is just around the corner (between now and the mid-July launch date, for sure).
Read [Apple via CoolHunting]
Update: More links, plus there's a rumor going around that this may only work with other Airports as a repeater, and not with any old 802.11g networks. We'll see. Also, iTunes to be updated later today.
Update update: MacWorld is saying the iTunes update won't be out until later this week, and are implying that the Airport Express should work just fine as a repeater with non-Airport WiFi (I would be very surprised if it didn't).