I read the same story regarding the blind mice. The report I read was similar to the one in the link here
....Previous attempts to achieve the same result using undifferentiated stem cells which have not yet acquired a specific function failed......
....Research suggests that human embryonic stem cells could be coaxed to become photoreceptor precursors. However the scientists believe a better approach might be to grow the precursors from adult stem cell-like cells found at the margins of the retina. These could then be transplanted into patients.....
The gist i got was that they failed with stem cells, but could succeed with cells half way there.
On one of the links you provided I also noticed the following related story. Its a very under exciting overview of the status of stem cells (obviously one persons view)