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Apple unveils 'world's smallest MP3 player,' iTV

blog Smaller iPod Shuffle, new Nanos, iTunes 7 and new iTV device take center stage at company's S.F. event.

SAN FRANCISCO--Apple Computer has raised the curtain on its "special event" Tuesday at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Below is an up-to-the-minute rundown of CEO Steve Jobs' keynote, with most recent entries appearing at the top. Click here to read our post-event coverage.

11:07 a.m.--But wait, there's one more thing. Jobs notes that it really all comes down to artists, because if they don't create content, consumers don't have anything to listen to or watch. R&B artist John Legend, whose debut album went triple platinum and won three Grammy Awards, is performing. He has a new album coming out next month called "Once Again."

11:05 a.m.--iTV will sell for $299 and works with PCs and Macs. "We think it completes the picture here," Jobs said.

10:55 a.m.--The new iTV device, which Jobs demonstrated onstage, has 802.11 wireless built in, wired networking, USB, an HDMI connector, and also component video, analog audio and optical audio. It will be controlled with an Apple remote and hooks directly to a TV or to set-top box or home theater system.

The point of iTV is to allow movies and TV shows downloaded to a computer to play on a TV in another room. The device is coming in the first quarter of 2007, Jobs said.

10:50 a.m.--"There is one last thing," Jobs said. Consumers need a box to drive that big flat-screen TV to play movies, and thus there will be a box to talk to the Mac, he said, showing off a device that looks like the Mac Mini, only smaller than the desktop computer. "Internally we call it iTV," but that's a code name.

10:45 a.m.--Disney CEO Bob Iger, who, as part of ABC, helped launch iTunes' move into TV shows last year, appeared onstage. "We're here today to take the next step," he said.

Apple Showtime event

As one would expect, Disney chooses its partners very wisely, Iger said. The move to sell TV shows through iTunes was considered breakthrough. "We knew we were in business with a great partner." Of course, it probably doesn't hurt that Jobs now sits on Disney's board, thanks to its purchase of Pixar.

10:40 a.m.--For now, the movie downloads will only be available in the U.S., but "we hope to take this international in 2008," Jobs said.

10:35 a.m.--iTunes 7 is available today; the download is free. "But there is one more thing, and that is movies," Jobs said. "Today I am going to talk about adding movies to the iTunes store and the whole iPod/iTunes experience." The new offerings, which will come from four studios, including Disney and Pixar, will be available on the same day they come out on DVD. New releases will cost $12.99 for those who preorder or buy in the first week, and will then go up to $14.99.

Most library titles, which include "National Treasure" and "The English Patient," will cost $9.99. When you decide to buy a movie, it will be downloaded in near-DVD quality, Jobs said. Consumers with broadband speeds of 5 megabits per second broadband will be able to download movies in 30 minutes.

10:30 a.m.--Correction: A trusty reader with a better seat than I have writes in to note that Jobs is not, in fact, wearing his usual turtleneck, but rather a button-up shirt. I can't tell from here, but it may be more reddish-brown than black.

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At event in S.F., it's all
about iPods and movies.

10:25 a.m.--Apple customers have downloaded more than 45 million TV shows; iTunes now has more than 220 shows after starting with five last October, Jobs said. Apple is adding an NFL Network, plus 2006 game highlights. It will cost $1.99 to download a game or $24.99 for a team's season pass.

Apple is also boosting the resolution of videos being sold to 640 pixels by 480 pixels. That's four times the original resolution, Jobs said, adding that it will now be easier to move purchased content among different PCs authorized on the same account.

10:20 a.m.--Jobs moves on to iTunes, announcing iTunes 7.

iTunes 7 has new ways to view a library beyond the traditional list. It adds options to view by album or by album cover. "It allows you to rediscover music," he said. New feature--free missing album cover art for all the music in your library if you have an iTunes account. "The chances are pretty good we've got what you need," Jobs said, noting iTunes has 3.5 million songs' worth of album art.

10:15 a.m.--Jobs moved on to a new iPod Shuffle. "It is a fraction of the size of the first generation," he said.

It will come in a 1GB model for $79, and it's "the world's smallest MP3 player, Jobs said. The new Shuffle will ship in October. "As you know, iPod is only part of the story cause it's iPod plus iTunes that makes this all such a magical experience," he said.

10:10 a.m.--The new iPod will come in two models--a 30GB version for $249 and an 80GB for $349. "This is the lowest price for the iPod line, and we're very excited. It does video and a whole lot more," Jobs said.

The company is also out with a second-generation aluminum Nano, which is thinner than the original model. "It's beautiful," Jobs said. "We're bringing back colors." The MP3 player will come in blue, pink, green, silver and black, and battery life will be increased from 14 hours on the original Nano to 24 hours.

The new Nano will come in three models--a 2GB in silver only, a 4GB in silver, blue, pink and green, and an 8GB in black only. The new video iPod Nanos are available today.

10:05 a.m.--Jobs announced a new video iPod. "We're going to enhance it today quite a lot," he said. The new model is 60 percent brighter, he said. The iPod will have new searching capabilities, allowing users to search by keyword using the scroll wheel. Consumers will also be able to play games on the devices, including "Bejeweled," "Tetris," "Zuma," "Pac-Man" and "Cubis."

10 a.m.--Steve Jobs takes the stage in his signature black mock turtleneck and jeans. "We've got some great stuff to share with you this morning," he said, launching into a discussion of the iPod. Jobs highlighted the fact that there are now 3,000 iPod accessories on the market and showed off a toilet-paper holder equipped with an iPod.

Jobs also also mentions the fact that 70 percent of new U.S. cars now offer iPod connectivity.