Apple Bows Wireless iTunes Device

AirPort Express can stream music to home stereos.

Apple Computer has developed a new wireless Internet solution that allows music from iTunes to be streamed to stereos and home-theater systems.

Apple's AirPort Express, a wireless Internet base station about the size of an iPod AC adaptor, connects stereos with WiFi-enabled computers.

Users plug compatible stereo cables into the AirPort device; iTunes interacts with AirPort wirelessly using new networking software called AirTunes. Later this week, iTunes users will be able to download for free iTunes 4.6, an updated version of the music management software featuring AirTunes.

AirPort Express -- which works with both PCs and Mac -- uses 802.11g technology (a high-speed wireless connection standard) and has a range of up to 150 feet.

The device costs $129 and is expected to be available in July.

"The world has changed over the last couple of years," says Greg Joswiak, Apple VP of hardware marketing. "A few years ago, we were all playing CDs through a CD Player in the living room. Now music is digital and it exists on your computer. But typically, the living room stereo is a higher-quality, better sounding device. This bridges the computer that lives in your office with the stereo that lives out in your living room."