Live from Moscone Center with Apple
CEO Steve Jobs unveils the iPod Touch--a phoneless iPhone, but with Wi-Fi. Plus: a deal with Starbucks and an iPhone price cut.
We're live blogging from CEO Steve Jobs' keynote speech atin San Francisco, which began at 10 a.m. and has just wrapped up.
11:26 a.m.: Jobs shows Tunstall offstage upon the conclusion of her second song. That will do it. No Beatles, but Apple's got a whole new category of iPods that, as rumored, could give the company a very interesting mobile computer if it decides to one day open it up to application development. That's going to be it from the Moscone Center. Thanks for reading, everyone.
11:21 a.m.: Tunstall is still onstage. She jokes that she's waiting for the "iLoop" pedal, as she has a few problems getting her vocals to loop properly. She starts the second song, which is apparently off her new album.
11:15 a.m.: KT Tunstall joins Jobs on stage to conclude the music event.
11:14 a.m.: We're getting ready for today's musical guest. "We've got a very talented young musician today," Jobs says, ruling out John Mayer.
11:13 a.m.: The 8GB iPhone now costs only $100 more than the 8GB iPod Touch. There's no 16GB iPhone announcement, however, and no 3G iPhone.
11:12 a.m.: It's iPhone time. The customer satisfaction numbers are higher for the iPhone than for any other product Apple has ever shipped, Jobs says. "We want to make it even more affordable." The vast majority of customers picked the 8GB model. Starting today, it costs $399, a price cut of $200. That's a huge discount.
11:10 a.m.: We're in review mode. Jobs goes back over all the new iPods, from the existing categories to the iPod Touch. The entire line ranges in price from $79 to $399, not counting the iPhone. "But we want to get even more aggressive than this."
11:08 a.m.: "This is a big moment for Starbucks, and for Apple and iTunes." Schultz exits stage left. So, what's left?
11:07 a.m.: The service will start in Seattle and New York on October 2, and San Francisco will get the service in November. Los Angeles and Chicago will follow in 2008.
11:05 a.m.: Starbucks customers will get free access to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store on iPods, iPhones, Macs and PCs. There's no login required to the store, and you can buy the song that is playing while you wait in line for your double soy extra hot whipped macchiato to go.
11:02 a.m.: Schultz treats us to a Starbucks commercial, but not free coffee. The most loyal Starbucks customer visits 18 times a month, he says, and the company opens seven stores every day. "Who would have thought a coffee company could win a Grammy?" he says. I thought anybody could win a Grammy.
11:00 a.m.: The Starbucks partnership was two years in the making, Jobs says. Howard Schultz, the founder and chairman of Starbucks, joins Jobs on stage.
10:58 a.m.: When you walk into a Starbucks with the iPod Touch or iPhone, a Starbucks button will pop up. You'll be able to buy whatever the featured artist is that month at Starbucks with the iPod Touch or iPhone. That's the new iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store.
10:57 a.m.: "We're announcing a partnership with Starbucks," Jobs says. Huh? The iPod makes coffee?
10:56 a.m.: The store will come to the iPhone through a software update later this month, the first major application that Apple has made available through software updates.
10:56 a.m.: Jobs shows how you can preview songs from the iPod Touch, testing out John Lennon's "Imagine," Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," and another called "Bubbly" that I didn't recognize because I'm old. It appears that you buy each song individually, rather than in bunches. The Wi-Fi store will be available internationally, and it will also be available on the iPhone.
10:51 a.m.: You touch that button, and you enter an iTunes Store application written for the touch screen. You buy a song, it goes over the air to the iPod, and then the next time you sync the iPod, the song will transfer to your PC or Mac. It has the same pricing and selection that the normal iTunes Store has. This doesn't appear to extend to TV shows or movies.
10:49 a.m.: There was a conspicuously empty space on the bottom of the iPod Touch's screen, where there is a button on the iPhone. That button is for a new application that will finally enable you buy iTunes songs wirelessly. It's called the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store.
10:48 a.m.: So, I guess my lawyers didn't get the memo. "But there's one more thing."
10:47 a.m.: Two configurations: 8GB and 16GB. The 8GB costs $299, while the 16GB will cost $399. Both models will be available this month.
10:46 a.m.: The battery life? 22 hours of audio playback, 5 hours of video playback. Jobs runs down the features; there's plenty of room on that home screen for new applications. It doesn't appear that the iPod Touch will be available to third-party developers, but obviously it's pretty early to know for sure.
10:45 a.m.: He also demonstrates a Facebook application written for the iPhone that also works on the iPod Touch. It has the same 30-pin interface that older iPods have, and it will ship worldwide, unlike the iPhone, which is currently available only in the United States.
10:43 a.m.: It will also have the same YouTube application that the iPhone has. Jobs demonstrates the Safari browser on The New York Times' home page. It's the same experience of clicking, pinching and zooming around, and it also has the same touch-screen keyboard found on the iPhone.
10:40 a.m.: The problem is that many public hot spots have introduction pages that, even if you don't need a password, require a browser to click through to the Internet. The solution is to use the version of Safari that's used by the iPhone. You can flip to landscape mode, zoom in and out, and drag the screen exactly the same way as the iPhone. Plus, it has built-in Google and Yahoo search.
10:38 a.m.: It's 802.11b/g, slower than the current 802.11n shipping in most notebook PCs. Why has Apple taken so long to add Wi-Fi to the iPod? For one, it's hard to get on secure networks outside of your home or office. Funny--that's not what Jobs said when talking about the Wi-Fi surfing experience of the iPhone.
10:37 a.m.: Jobs answers my question: the iPod Touch does, in fact, have Wi-Fi connectivity.
10:37 a.m.: The demo of the iPod Touch might as well have been done on the iPhone; it's pretty much the same interface. There's a conspicuous lack of application icons on the home screen, where on the iPhone, there are buttons for the Web, YouTube, etc. Has Apple decided not to connect the iPod Touch to the Internet?
10:33 a.m.: The iPod Touch has the multitouch interface borrowed from the iPhone, with the same home screen. The music/video interface looks just like the one on the iPhone. It also has the accelerometer that transfers the screen from portrait mode to landscape mode. It has the same 3.5-inch wide-screen display.
10:31 a.m.: Apple will indeed be launching a phoneless iPhone, formally known as the iPod Touch. It looks just like the iPhone, with the same screen size, but it's thinner.
10:30 a.m.: Apparently my bid to trademark "One More Thing" paid off, as Jobs says, "we're not done yet." Joking, of course.
10:29 a.m.: There's also going to be a slightly thicker iPod Classic, though thinner than the current fifth-generation iPod. It's going to have 160GB of storage, which Jobs says holds 40,000 songs. It also has better battery life, with 40 hours of audio. The 80GB was $349; now it's $249. The 160GB will sell for $349, the current price of the high-end iPod. They will be available this weekend.
10:27 a.m.: Now onto the regular iPod. It's now known as the iPod Classic, Jobs says, since "it's the original iPod." The new iPod uses the full-metal design of the new Nanos, and they are thinner. The new base model starts off with 80GB, with audio battery life of 30 hours and video playback of 5 hours.
10:24 a.m.: Battery life? Jobs says the new Nano has 24 hours of audio playback and 5 hours of video playback. There will be two versions--4GB and 8GB. The 4GB version comes in silver, and the 8GB version comes in all colors. The 4GB version is priced at $149, and the 8GB version will cost $199. That's a price cut over the 8GB Nano currently on sale. They should be in stores this weekend.
10:20 a.m.: New games will be bundled with each Nano. There's a Sudoku game, Vortex, and another that's not displayed. Jobs starts the demo. Apple has added Cover Flow, the feature that lets you scroll through album covers when searching for music, to the new Nano. He plays a clip from Jon Stewart's The Daily Show with, the PC guy from Apple's Mac vs. PC ads.
10:17 a.m.: The new Nano has sort of a split-screen interface, with the familiar file tree on the left, and photos or album covers on the right. It keeps the click wheel, so any multitouch displays will probably be reserved for the larger iPod, the third leg of Apple's iPod business.
10:16 a.m.: The new Nano has a 2-inch screen, which is smaller than the current iPod Video. Jobs says you don't lose a pixel, as it's got a 320x240 resolution. I have to say, a 2-inch screen seems really, really small. But I pay a lot of money to optometrists every year.
10:15 a.m.: Now the iPod Nano. Jobs says customers want to watch video on the iPod Nano, which would require a brighter display. So Apple is introducing a new Nano. It's a very small device, appearing to be as thin as the current Nano, but shorter and squatter, with a wider display. It will be available in the same colors as the Shuffle.
10:13 a.m.: Apple wants to get ready for the 2007 holidays, Jobs says. The company is going to refresh or replace every category of iPod today, in time for the holiday season. There are only minor updates to the iPod Shuffle, with new colors. There will be a Product Red Shuffle as well, as part of the. They're shipping today, same price.
10:11 a.m.: The ringtone builder will be turned on next week, but the new iTunes software should be available later today. "Now let's talk about the iPod," Jobs says.
10:10 a.m.: Jobs opts for Aretha Franklin's "Respect." He'll assign that one to incoming calls from the wife, he says. There's a separate folder under the library category on the left side of iTunes for ringtones. He cycles through a bunch of songs, quipping after playing John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance": "that's for when NBC calls."
10:07 a.m.: Jobs shows how you can make ringtones right in your iTunes library. You can pick any segment of the song you like. I'm thinking about the opening of "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC. That would make a decent ringtone, with apologies to Trevor Hoffman.
10:06 a.m.: A new version of iTunes is going to be released tonight, with support for ringtones, one of the rumors that surfaced prior to the event. They will be. A custom ringtone maker can make ringtones from songs purchased from iTunes. It will cost an extra 99 cents for a ringtone, on top of the 99 cents you pay to buy the song.
10:04 a.m.: On the video front, 550 shows are available, and 950,000 shows have been sold. Interestingly, there's no mention of movies, almost a year after Apple started selling movies through iTunes.
10:03 a.m.: He starts off with an update on iTunes. Six million copies of iTunes are in the wild, and 3 billion iTunes songs have been sold. Six million songs are currently available on the iTunes Store, in countries around the world, and Apple's the No. 3 music retailer in the United States.
10:01 a.m.: CEO Steve Jobs takes the stage, to much applause from the audience of media, analysts and, hopefully, Apple employees. Traditional outfit, natch. "Today we get to talk about music."
9:58 a.m.: We're back, once again, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, awaiting Apple's latest announcements. The smart money's on iPods, though it's still up in the air as to what, exactly, we'll see. Green Day's playing, which means we're about to start. No Paul McCartney sightings yet.