The AirPort Express, which resembles a PowerBook AC adapter after a few months of gym workouts, is a handy-dandy 802.11g Wi-Fi base station for a wireless network, just like its big brother, the AirPort Extreme.
“So,” you say, “Why do I care about wireless networking in a book about my iLife ’04 programs? I just want to learn how to use iTunes.”
This is why: AirPort Express was made with iTunes in mind. Thanks to a built-in feature called AirTunes, you can wirelessly stream your iTunes music from your Mac, through the air, and out from your home stereo speakers (which are plugged into the AirPort Express)—all without tripping over a long and pesky cable connecting your Mac upstairs to your home audio system downstairs. All you need are these:
An AirPort Express mobile base station, which Apple will gladly sell you for $130 at http://www.apple.com/airportexpress. It includes the AirTunes software.
A Mac with an AirPort card and Mac OS X 10.3 or later. (If you have a wireless network in place, you already have one of these. By the way, both Macs and PCs can pump music out to an AirPort Express.)
Version 4.6 or later of iTunes.
A cable that connects your home sound system (or powered speakers) to the Line Out port on the bottom of the AirPort Express. It can be either a digital fiber-optic cable or analog Y-shaped cable (that is, the stereo miniplug-to-dual-RCA connectors common on audio equipment).
Once you buy the pocket base station, some set-up software gently ...