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Liveblog: Apple's new TV, tiny nano and social networking on iTunes

Live-blogging from the Apple event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco:

10 a.m. PDT: And we're off, exactly on schedule. Steve Jobs walks on stage, looking very thin and wearing a long-sleeve black T-shirt instead of the usual mock turtleneck. He gives a shout-out to one guest in the audience: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

10:05 a.m.: Jobs recaps recent Apple store openings in Paris, Shanghai and London, showing huge crowds mobbing each. Apple now has 300 stores around the world that are seeing more than 1 million visitors combined on some days. More than half of Apple Store customers are buying their first Mac.

10:10 a.m.: Jobs updates the progress of iOS, Apple's operating system for the iPhone, iPod touch and IPad. The company has shipped 120 million iOS devices and is activating 230,000 new devices a day. Today, Apple is showing off iOS 4.1, an update to that software, which fixes bugs with the iPhone's proximity sensor and performance on the iPhone 3G. IOS 4.1 also adds Apple's Game Center software and a "high dynamic range" (HDR) picture-taking option that may deal better with tricky exposures.

10:14 a.m.: Epic Games president Mike Capps comes onstage to show how an in-development game, due this winter, works on the iPhone 4. The 3D graphics in this "Project Sword" title look impressively fluid; the game uses simple finger gestures for control and relies on Game Center to match up players against each other online.

10:17 a.m.: Jobs returns to note that iOS 4.1 will ship next week for (some) iPhone and iPod touch models. Up next for iOS: a 4.2 release, due this November, that will bring iOS 4's multitasking and other core features to the iPad. It will also allow wireless printing and "AirPlay" -- wireless streaming of not just music, but photos and videos, to "other devices." Hmm.

10:27 a.m.: Next comes a new iPod nano that has been further miniaturized -- it looks smaller than the original iPod shuffle -- and replaces its physical ClickWheel controls with a multi-touch color display (though, fortunately, it retains physical volume buttons). Jobs says it runs 24 hours on a charge -- compared with 15 for the new shuffle -- and offers all the functions of old model (FM radio, pedometer, photo and video viewing). Jobs demos this by cueing up an Ella Fitzgerald rendition of Cole Porter's "Let's Do It."

10:29 a.m.: The new Nano's demonstration continues with Jobs showing how it borrows from many of iOS's two-finger gestures. It comes in seven colors and starts at $149 for a model with 8 gigabytes of storage.

10:35 a.m.: The new iPod touch incorporates most of the improved components of the iPhone 4 -- the ultra-high-resolution retina display, front- and rear-facing cameras, FaceTime videoconferencing. An 8 GB model sells for $229, a 32 GB model goes for $299, and a 64 GB version will cost $399. These three models and the new iPod nano and shuffle all ship next week.

10:39 a.m.: After a break to view two of Apple's new iPod ads, it's time to talk iTunes. Jobs says Apple has sold 11.7 billion songs, 450 million TV episodes, 100 million movies, 35 million books, and the store now features 160 million accounts: "It's clearly the number-one online media store in the world." Apple is introducing iTunes 10, which features a new logo -- no more CD in the background, since, Jobs notes, the store will outstrip CD sales sometime in the spring. The program's interface has also been simplified a bit.

10:44 a.m.: iTunes 10 adds a new way to inflict your taste in music on friends, called Ping: "a social network all about music, and it's built right into iTunes." You can follow favorite artists (Jobs demos this with a Lady Gaga feed, though I suspect his tastes lie elsewhere) to get updates about their new releases and next concerts. The news-feed part of this looks a lot like Facebook; is Jobs critiquing that site when he boasts that Ping's privacy settings are "super simple." Ping is open now, he says.

10:47 a.m: Jobs demonstrates Ping, showing he's following both Gaga and a friend with an interest in music, Apple PR executive Katie Cotton. He posts an update that he'll be attending an upcoming concert that his friends will see, brings up a photo that Yo-Yo Ma has posted and shows his own profile page on Ping, a Facebook-like list of his musical interests and activity. Ping also works on the iPhone and the iPod touch... but what about over the Web? I'm guessing not at the moment.

10:51 a.m.: Jobs says "But we've got one more thing. Actually, it's one more hobby." Yes, it's time for the Apple TV.

10:55 a.m.: Jobs talks about what Apple's learned from the Apple TV, which he admits upfront has "never been a huge hit." To wit, customers want Hollywood movies and TV shows in HD; they don't want to pay a lot; they don't want to fuss with a computer; and they don't want a huge add-on. So we have the new Apple TV, a black box small enough to hold in one hand. And there's this: "We've gone to the rental model" -- you no longer buy anything on the Apple TV. You don't even store anything on it, as everything streams from Apple's servers or your own computer.

10:57 a.m.: You'll be able to rent first-run HD movies for $4.99, starting on the day and date of their DVD release. HD copies of TV shows will rent for 99 cents each -- commercial-free. But, Jobs says, "this was a big step for the studios to take," and so only ABC and Fox are taking it. He hopes the others "will see the light."

11 a.m.: The new Apple TV can also tune into Netflix streaming, YouTube, Flickr slideshows and some Internet radio stations. Left unmentioned: Amazon video on demand, Hulu or Hulu Plus, the networks' own sites, and... well, every other source of online video.

11:05 a.m.: Jobs plays a few clips from "Iron Man 2" and "Glee" to show how the footage looks, then shows how you can browse through what's in your Netflix queue. The new Apple TV's photo-browsing interface maps to that of iPhoto, including its "Places" and "Faces" tags.

11:07 a.m.: Remember that AirPlay feature Jobs mentioned in the iOS 4.2 demo? It lets you tap a button on an iPad or iPhone's screen to transfer whatever you're watching -- a movie, a slideshow, a TV episode -- to your Apple TV.

11:08 a.m.: The new Apple TV will sell for $99 -- down from $229 for the old model -- and should ship in about four weeks.

11:14 a.m.: We've moved to the recap phase of the event, during which Jobs slowly revisits the highlights (and journalists can look forward to giving their keyboard fingers a rest). Jobs notes that the company likes to express its appreciation for music by having musicians close out its events, and so this morning Coldplay's Chris Martin is going to play us out. Martin jokes, "I don't have any new products to reveal" as he sits down at a piano to perform "Yellow."

11:21 a.m.: And after another couple of Martin performances -- and Martin's amusing attempt to mimic Jobs' presentation style -- we're done. Post your questions about Apple's new products in the comments, and I'll try to get them answered ASAP.

Some of you may have watched live video of the event at Apple's site, but if only if you happened to be using Apple's latest products: a Mac running Safari and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, an iPad or an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or newer. If you tuned in over the Web, let me know how that works for you.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  September 1, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Mac , Music , TV , Video  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Big ambitions for the small screen from Apple?
Next: Details about Apple's new iPods, iTunes and Apple TV


iPhone 4 and 3G connection is streaming very well...looks very good.

Posted by: chuckiep | September 1, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

As of 1:06, there is nothing in this live blog and I have refreshed several times.

Posted by: annmys | September 1, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Crimony, annmys. Do you stand in front of microwave ovens shouting "hurry up!"?

Posted by: beetsnotbeats | September 1, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

beetsnotbeats, How did you know? It was just glaring how behind this blog software is in comparison to the live blogging at engadget.

Posted by: annmys | September 1, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Rob, I was able to watch the event on my iPod, brain-dead easy. cbo

Posted by: dc3015 | September 1, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

So all the AppleTV is missing as far as capabilities is a TV tuner. Which means it can't be used as a DVR. OTOH, $99 isn't bad. Still, need a DVR box.

Posted by: wiredog | September 1, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Hear anything about Apple TV hooking into App Store for eventual purchase of apps; like ones that could watch already mentioned HULU, Amazon OnDemand, ESPN3, etc, as well as apps for or any other on-line content provider? Some Windows and Mac based software already do this via software plug-ins.

Posted by: slarochelle | September 1, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Does this mean the ability to buy a season pass for a TV show on iTunes is gone?

Posted by: idahoblackberry | September 1, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

For a product so crucial to the company, iTunes the application is in pretty bad shape overall. The interface is inconsistent and modal so you can't do anything during certain operations (like updating an iPhone's OS), it still contains oodles of Mac OS 9-era code from SoundJam MP (on which it was based), and its performance is only fair to middling on Macs and just plain bad on Windows. It needs to be given the same makeover treatment that Aperture 1.0 got after strong negative reviews, turning 2.0 into a significantly improved package.

Posted by: kennedye | September 1, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Did the iPod Classic survive to live another year?

Posted by: jyjr16 | September 1, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Why would I purchase a movie from Apple if I have Netflix? Not having Netflix (yet) I don't know. Does it not have HD or first run movies?

Posted by: patrickgama7 | September 1, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Will Airplay allow you to stream audio/video from iphone/ipad applications other than iTunes content (or audio/video purchased from them)? Example: If I'm watching HuluPlus or listening to Pandora on my iPad can I stream that to the AppleTV via AirPlay?
Also, is Airplay specific to the new AppleTV or will older AppleTV and AirportExpress receive an update to enable that feature also?

Posted by: frenchrosco | September 1, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

BTW I am very excited about iOS 4 for the iPad. Being able to print, multiple task, etc are very important and GLARING ommissions from its current capabilities.

Posted by: patrickgama7 | September 1, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

is it me? Or is it 3pm eastern and this hasn't been updated since 12:30? I already found everything out from real news sources, so thanks but no thanks.

Posted by: wookpook | September 1, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"is it me? Or is it 3pm eastern and this hasn't been updated since 12:30? I already found everything out from real news sources, so thanks but no thanks."

It's you. Rob liveblogged from 1 to 2:20, about every 5 minutes or so. Did you not refresh the page?

Posted by: Janine1 | September 1, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"Why would I purchase a movie from Apple if I have Netflix? Not having Netflix (yet) I don't know. Does it not have HD or first run movies?"

Netflix doesn't yet offer all the new releases for instant streaming, and if you want the DVD you have to wait a day for the mail (and if you didn't add it to your queue early enough, you may have to wait longer to get your turn at a new one). So buying or renting from iTunes gives you the option to get it right now, when you want it (like cable On Demand or other PPV). It also lets you watch on different devices (computer, iPod, iPad), even when you're not online (as Netflix streaming would require).

Posted by: Janine1 | September 1, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Do I have to purchase an Apple TV? or will I be able to stream audio/video to my Mac Mini (or any other mac) which I have connected to my HDTV.

Posted by: homeyjim | September 1, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

the new Nano looks amazing and the Epic's Unreal engine is fantastic.

Posted by: SpecTP | September 1, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight- the new Nano doesn't show video and lost the camera? And how will the touchscreen be prectical on something so teeny?

Posted by: beedubu2 | September 1, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight- the new Nano doesn't show video and lost the camera? And how will the touchscreen be prectical on something so teeny?

Posted by: beedubu2 | September 1, 2010 4:59 PM

I'm with you. The Nano seems like a real downgrade - smaller screen, no camera, no video playback. I'll take the 5th Gen Nano, thanks.

Posted by: MStreet1 | September 1, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

something not clear to me...right now, I have several Airport expresses around the house so I can stream music to various speakers. One of these is hooked up to my TV sound system. Will I still be able to stream music from my iMac to the Apple TV (itself connected to my sound system) as well as other Expresses around the house? I don't need the TV Express for wi-fi coverage, so if the Apple TV will allow multi-point music streaming like this, I'll buy one just for that.

Posted by: pjgeraghty | September 1, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

What about people who currently have an apple tv will they have to get a new one? The new one is 99$ but still, I'm thinking they will have to get a new one.

Posted by: ksburney1914 | September 1, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Read more about a new strategy Napster is using to try and get back in the online music game:

Posted by: freighter | September 1, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

With almost annoying predictablity, Apple always seem to be one step ahead of the game. The only addition I would like to see to the social networking aspect is the abilty for us to share our music :)

Posted by: keyboardformac | September 3, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

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