Mix: Mickey iPod, Apple TV, BusinessWeek 50, Pixar probe

A company in Japan is selling a limited edition Mickey Mouse iPod nano. Only 500 available, the laser-etched 2GB nano (33.600 YEN) comes with a Mickey-embossed leather case and packaging.

“The humble Apple TV has ceded the limelight to iPhone and has been overshadowed by the buzz preceding the launch of Leopard,” ThinkEquity analyst Jonathan Hoopes said today. “Yet, we believe the potential is huge for this small device. AppleTV is an ideal conduit for multiple services including DVR, paid-for content (e.g., VOD), gaming, or advertising. We identify and value these business opportunities at $5.3-$11.4 billion, with substantial upside potential.”

Apple is ranked No. 34 in the annual “BusinessWeek 50” list. “Somewhere along the line, Apple went from being Microsoft’s whipping boy to becoming, in some ways, the new Microsoft,” says the magazine. “Apple sets the standard in digital music, with more than 70% of the music player market and nearly 90% of the song download business. While it still has just 5% of the PC market, Mac sales are on the rise, and the company is attacking vast new markets that have long been coveted by Microsoft.”

A Disney investigation found that Pixar had backdated some employee stock options before it was acquired, but that no one currently associated with the company had engaged in deliberate misconduct. Reuters notes that this statement appears to clear Apple CEO Steve Jobs.