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, ESPN3.com 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.
September 1, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
Categories: Gadgets , Mac , Music , TV , Video
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