Live blog: Apple’s iPod (and more) event

Macworld Australia Staff
2 September, 2010
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Australian Macworld will be covering the event live to complement Apple’s video stream of the keynote. Check back here at 3am AEST Thursday, 2 September to see what Steve Jobs has up the sleeve of his black turtleneck this time around.

(Note for those following at home, XV = Xavier Verhoeven, JS = Jason Snell, CB = Christopher Breen, DF = Dan Frakes)

2:45am. Good morning everyone. We’ll be kicking off in the next fifteen minutes. I suggest you make a coffee and point your browsers to the streaming video provided by Apple (which is also yet to begin). (XV)

2:39am. The stream just went live. And The Beatles is playing! (XV)

2:53am. This is Apple’s annual Music Event. So: the focus will be, at least in part, on new iPods for the holiday buying season. (JS)

2:54am. Generally these events are limited to entertainment-related topics. So: Expect iPods and maybe video related stuff (a new AppleTV?) but probably not any news about, say, Macs. (Watch them prove me wrong.) (JS)

2:54am. The announcement for this particular event carries the picture of a guitar. Some have suggested this hints at GarageBand. We doubt it. (CB)

2:57am. Apple has kindly provided us real Wi-Fi today, perhaps as a reaction to the WWDC wi-fi debacle. (JS)

3:00am. Steve Jobs is onstage now. (XV)

3:01am. He started out with a shoutout to Steve Wozniak. (XV)

3:02am. Steve’s filling us in on some new Apple retail stores. (XV)

3:02am. Three stores he’s proud of. Paris, second store in the city, near the opera house, a restored old building. Spent 18 months restoring it. Second store in China, opened in Shanghai. 40-foot high glass cylinder with staircase down. (JS)

3:03am. And in Covent Garden, London. 2nd large store in London. Beautiful old building, restored. (JS)

3:04am. I think Apple Retail is the unsung hero of Apple’s comeback. Not only financially successful, but gets the Apple brand in front of people who might otherwise never have tried it out. (JS)

3:04am. Apple Retail: 10 countries. Over a million visitors “some days” total. (JS)

3:05am. All these stores are lovely—and, likely, expensive properties. Shows Apple’s confidence in a shaky economy. (CB)

3:05am. Now Steve’s talking about iOS. Apple has shipped 120 million iOS devices since the iPhone launched three years ago. (XV)

3:06am. Apple is activating around 230,000 activations per day. New activations. Wow. (XV)

3:06am. 6.5 billion apps downloaded on the App Store. 200 apps every second. These numbers are brain-meltingly high. (XV)

3:07am. Today Apple is introducing iOS 4.1. Fixes bugs: proximity, Bluetooth, iPhone 3G performance, HDR photos, upload HD video over Wi-Fi, TV Show rentals(!), Game Center. (XV)

3:09am. Steve’s explaining HDR photos. iPhone takes three photos in rapid succession, one over-exposed, one under-exposed. Can compare HDR with normal photo and keep the one you like. This will be a great addition to iPhone 4′s great camera. (XV)

3:10am. GameCenter is “both APIs for developers, and an app called GameCenter right on the phone.” (JS)

3:11am. If you don’t have any friends it’ll auto-match you to people! (A few laughs from the audience for that one.) (XV)

3:12am. Now, Mike Capps from Epic Games is coming out to demo GameCenter-enabled games. (JS)

3:13am. Code name: Project Sword. Action-packed roleplaying game with “epic sword battles.” All the social integration in the game is done for them by GameCenter, so the game just pops up an invitation and they can quickly select their friends and play. (JS)

3:13am. On the way to the office, Dan and I talked about how we wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of the person responsible for the stream if something goes wrong. I think that person’s job is more than safe. The quality of the stream is lovely. (CB)

3:15am. iOS 4.1 available next week for iPhone and iPod touch, free download. (JS)

3:15am. Now! Sneak peek at the next iOS release, 4.2. (JS)

3:16am. 4.2 “will come a later this year” and “it’s all about iPad.” Bringing everything to iPad. iOS 4.1 with multitasking, folders, gamecenter, all of it. Plus: wireless printing! ‘And we’re adding something called “AirPlay,” which we’ll talk about later today.’ (JS)

3:17am. Wireless printing is huge! One of the reasons people have questioned the viability of the iPad as a laptop substitute. (CB)

3:17am. AirPlay: “Well, you know what AirTunes is. We’re changing the name to AirPlay, because it’s not just music anymore. You’ll be able to stream video and photos as well, over Wi-Fi.”

3:18am. iOS 4.2 on iPad looks, well, just like iOS 4 on iPhone. (That’s a good thing.) (JS)

3:18am. A lot of ‘unplugged’ music, along with the acoustic guitar on the event invite – this event is going to be about ‘unplugged’ features: printing, streaming video, etc. (XV)

3:20am. iOS 4.2 is a free update for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch in November. (XV)

3:20am. Now, the entree for today. iPods. “This is our music event, where we unveil the cool music products we’ve got lined up for the holidays, and today’s no exception.” (JS)

3:20am. 275 million iPods have been sold in total. (JS)

3:21am. This year “we’ve gone wild with iPods” – all new designs for every single model of iPod. (JS)

3:21am. The new iPod shuffle, first. Showing the evolution of the shuffle, from the gum stick to the clip (yay! best iPod ever.), to the third generation (boo! a victim of the war on buttons). (JS)

3:22am. And now… “people clearly missed the buttons.” “So let’s make the best of both.” New iPod shuffle HAS BUTTONS, plus VoiceOver and Playlists. (JS)

3:23am. Basically it is a true combo of the 2G shuffle design and the 3G shuffle firmware with VoiceOver and playlists, and also added Genius mixes. Comes in 5 different colors: blue, green, gold, pink, silver. US$49. (JS)

3:24am. I’ll add Australian prices as soon as they’re available. (XV)

3:25am. 1G nano, white front. 2G nano, tall aluminum. 3rd gen fat nano gets no mention from Jobs at all. 4th gen taller screen, 5th gen even taller screen. (JS)

3:25am. “What can we do? We’d like to make it smaller and we’d like to make it better.” So they’ve eliminated the click wheel, which means they’ve made it touch based. And so they’ve got a multitouch iPod nano. 46% smaller, 42% lighter than the previous nano. (JS)

3:26am. Hard volume buttons, VoiceOver support, fM radio, Nike+, pedometer, and 29 languages. 24 hour audio playback battery life. (JS)

3:26am. Hmm, here’s another iPod that risks being put through the wash. (CB)

3:28am. Lots of different screens. Playlists, Artists, Genius, Radio, basically each feature is an icon like an iPhone app. (JS)

3:29am. So, not an iOS device, but rather the “traditional” iPod OS rejiggered for touch. This presents an issue for those who like to operate their iPod from the pocket (though it supports headphone controls). (CB)

3:29am. You can even hold down and move icons to customize, and drag ‘em around, like on iOS. (JS)

3:29am. Can rotate the screen by pinching and twisting. And photos even look pretty cool. (XV)

3:30am. US$149 8GB model, US$179 in 16GB version.

3:31am. So now, the iPod touch. iPod touch “has become the most popular ipod”. It helps that the iPod touch comes without a contract, Jobs points out. And it’s become “the #1 portable game player in the world.” (JS)

3:32am. 1.5B game & entertainment downloads just to the iPod touch.(JS)

3:32am. New iPod touch: Even thinner than current model.Front-facing camera is there. (JS)

3:33am. New iPod touch has Retina display. 4X pixels, 326 ppi, 24-bit color LED. Apple A4 chip. 3-axis gyro. iOS 4.1 with Game Center. And front-facing camera with FaceTime. And a rear camera as well, with HD video recording. (JS)

3:35am. 8GB US$229, 32GB US$299, 64GB US$399. (JS)

3:36am. All new iPods available for pre-order today (probably only in the US), and shipping next week (hopefully everywhere!) (XV)

3:36am. Showing some ads for the new iPods. I love this Cake song. Perfect for an iPod ad. (XV)

3:39am. 11.7 billion songs downloaded from iTunes. 450 million TV episodes downloaded. 100 million movies downloaded. 35 million books. (JS)

3:40am. iTunes 10 launching today. (JS)

3:40am. New logo! Since next spring iTunes will surpass sales of CDs in the US, so we’re ditching the CD in the logo. (JS)

3:41am. “Focused on discovery with iTunes… how do you find new stuff?” People are always asking, what are my friends listening to? What are my favorite artists up to? What concerts are my friends going to? And how do I share with my friends? (JS)

3:41am. So in iTunes 10, “we’re announcing something really cool,’ and we call it Ping. (JS)

3:42am. Social network for music – Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes. It’s not Facebook, not Twitter, it’s something new.. a social network for music. Built right into iTunes. (JS)

3:43am. Follow favourite artists and friends, discover what they’re talking about, listening to, downloading. Goes right into Source List in iTunes, right below iTunes Store. (JS)

3:43am. Artist pages for artists to promote & converse with fans. You can follow artists. But you can also do that with friends — what they’re listening to, what concerts they’re going to, etc. (JS)

3:43am. Note to those watching the “live” stream. If it goes down, reload the page. It should start playing at the current point. (DF)

3:44am. Ping is for “social music discovery.” You can follow and be followed. Most artists will hold their hand up and say anyone can follow them. You can hold your hand up and say, anyone can follow me. Or you can say, people can follow me, but I have to approve every one. “’cause I’m a little particular.” And you can set up a circle of friends. (JS)

3:44am. “Privacy is super simple to set up. Anyone can do it.” Note to Facebook? (JS)

3:45am. Ping is open to 160 million iTunes users in 23 countries, immediately. (JS)

3:45am. Now demoing iTunes 10. (JS)

3:46am. This could be huge for artists. Will definitely kill off the few remaining myspace pages. (XV)

3:47am. Concert listings is also nice. TuneUp—an iTunes companion program, does something similar. It shows you selected artists that are playing in your area. Plus links to ticket services. (CB)

3:49am. Steve has his own profile. Will this be the first social media platform that he uses? (XV)

3:49am. Ping is also on your iPhone and iPod touch. (JS)

3:50am. It shows up in the iTunes app. New Ping button. iTunes 10 available today. (JS)

3:50am. So, iOS, iTunes, iPod, not bad for one day. But we’ve got one more thing. Actually, it’s one more hobby. (JS)

3:50am. “We’re talking AppleTV. We introduced AppleTV four years ago, and we’ve sold a lot of them, but it’s never been a huge hit. Nor has any other competitive product. Nothing’s hit in the living room yet.” (JS)

3:51am. “But we’ve talked to people who use AppleTVs, and they love them. So what have we learned in the last four years?” (JS)

3:51am. “The first thing is, the number one, two, and three thing they want is hollywood movies and TV shows whenever they want them. It’s that simple.” (JS)

3:52am. “And they want everything in HD. The HD revolution is over, it happened, HD won.” “They’d like to pay lower prices for content.” (JS)

3:52am. They don’t want a computer for TV. They have computers. They go to their widescreen TVs for entertainment, not for another computer. (JS)

3:53am. “They don’t want to manage storage. People don’t want to think about it. They just want to watch movies and TV Shows. And they don’t want to sync to a computer. It’s too complicated.” (JS)

3:53am. And they want the hardware to be silent, cool, and small. (JS)

3:53am. “So this is what we’ve learned. And it’s quite a bit different from what a lot of other companies think… so we’ve made something new for our customers.” (JS)

3:53am. Second-generation of Apple TV is roughly 1/4 the footprint of the old one.

3:54am. It’s a small black box. You can hold it in the palm of your hand. On the back, it’s got HDMI, optical, USB, Ethernet, and a power plug. Brick’s built in. Wi-Fi built in. 802.11n.  Comes with the Apple aluminum remote. (JS)

3:55am. Movies, TV shows & music, all HD. All rentals, no purchases. No storage management. You don’t store things anymore, you just rent them. Streaming – no syncing. You stream content from your computer if you want. And when you stream photos, or get photos from somewhere else, there are stunning photo slideshows. And it’s silent, cool and tiny. (JS)

3:56am. So what about content? iTunes has the largest online library of movies to rent in the world. US$4.99 first run HD movies. Day and date with DVD. (JS)

3:57am. To buy TV shows, used to be US$2.99. To rent HD TV shows, US 99 cents. (JS)

3:57am. ABC and Fox on board at launch. “We think the rest of the studios will see the light and get on board with us pretty fast.” (JS)

3:57am. Netflix subscribers can stream from Netflix Instant Watch. (JS)

3:38am. YouTube videos still there, including HD stuff. Photos from Flickr. Video and photos from MobileMe. (JS)

3:58am. UI is very familiar. Same widescreen remote-driven interface as on current Apple TV, so far as I can tell.

3:59am. I think it’s safe to say that this Apple TV isn’t the wholly different device some people were looking for — certainly not the iOS app running box. (CB)

4:00am. And given that it isn’t wholly different, how many people who resisted the last Apple TV will jump to this one? (CB)

4:01am. Now we’re gonna demo the Apple TV. (JS)

4:01am. I can’t add much at this stage. My stream has almost died. But I’m happy enough with the new Apple TV so far, so long as we get it in Australia! (XV)

4:03am. In favourites, if you hold down the centre button, it starts to jiggle and you can move it around… sound familiar? (JS)

4:04am. 48 hour rental for TV shows. (JS)

4:05am. The demo looks like the new Apple TV is far more responsive than the previous model, which will please those who already own one, but want an excuse to update. (XV)

4:06am. Now here’s AirPlay on iOS 4.2 on an iPad. (JS)

4:06am. Stream content from iOS device to an AppleTV. “So I’ve got my iPad here, and let me go to my video player, and I’ve got one of my favourite movies here, Up, and I’m going to go ahead and play it.” (JS)

4:06am. New button next to volume controls: AirPlay button. And there’s a dialogue and you can tell it where to stream it. He chooses Family Room Apple TV and the movie starts playing on the big screen.

4:07am. Apple TV will have content on iTunes in 6 countries: US, Canda, UK, France, Germany, Australia, and more coming later this year. (JS)

4:08am. We made the first list! (XV)

4:08am. Price of AppleTV was US$229. Some feedback from our users was that they’d like to see it more affordable. $200-$300 was not what users wanted to experiment with. So we’re going to lower the price from US$299 to US$99. (JS)

4:08am. Available in about 4 weeks. Pre-order today. (JS)

4:09am. “So here we are on Sept. 1. Let’s review what we talked about today. Strongest line-up of iPods ever. Shuffle, nano with multitouch, and iPod touch.” (JS)

4:10am. Facetime between iPhones and iPod touches, of course. (JS)

4:10am. And a new iTunes. iTunes 10 with Ping. Ping also on your iPhone and iPod touch. (JS)

4:10am. iOS 4.2, HDR photos, Game Center, and a whole lot more. (JS)

4:11am. And Apple TV, a phenomenal way to watch hollywood movies and TV shows in your living room whenever you want, as well as streaming content from Netflix and elsewhere. (JS)

4:11am. “So those are the products we have to launch today, and we hope you are as excited about them as we are…” (JS)

4:11am. “We started doing this music stuff for a really simple reason: we love music. That hasn’t changed one bit. Whenever we have a music event, we like to remind ourselves why we do this.” (JS)

4:12am. “So we asked one of our favourite musical artists to perform. We did that, and they accepted. This group has 4 albums out so far: It’s Coldplay.” (JS)

4:13am. So Chris Martin from Coldplay is here. He has a piano, not an Apple-themed guitar, by the way. (JS)

4:13am. “This is probably the toughest closing gig we’ve ever had. I don’t have any products to reveal. I’m very pleased to be here. I wish the rest of the band were here, but they’re too lazy.” (JS)

4:14am. He’s playing Yellow. It’s brilliant on the piano – if you’re not watching the livestream, you should check it out later. (XV)

4:14am. So, it’s been a pretty major event. Most of what was predicted turned out to be accurate. We’ll have full run-downs throughout the day, so make sure you check back. (XV)

4:15am. But most importantly, thanks for reading along. And thanks to Jason, Dan and Chris for covering it from San Francisco. (XV)

4:18am. About Viva La Vida, Chris says “Apple helped turn this song into our biggest hit. Which proves that your marketing people can sell anything.”

4:20am. Anyone else thinking Chris Martin is a bit rusty on the piano today? Always entertaining though. (XV)

4:22am. As a trained professional, may I just mention that Chris Martin has terrible piano technique. Curve those fingers, Chris! (CB)

4:24am. “This is Coldplay 2.6. It has a lot of new features. It has 7 new pairs of chord, including a new one that our closest rivals have no idea about, that Jonny Ive designed. It’s the chord of i Minor.”

4:25am. Apple Store is back up. Here are the local prices:

  • iPod shuffle – $69
  • iPod nano – $199 for 8GB, $229 for 16GB
  • iPod touch – $289 for 8GB, $378 for 32GB, $499 for 64GB
  • iPod classic still available for $329
  • Apple TV – $129

4:29am. iTunes 10 is showing up as available to download now, but directs to iTunes 9 download.

2 Comments

2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. baz says:

    Flat technique is valid.

  2. channgam says:

    Thank for your review

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