Live blog: Apple music event

CNET will be covering Apple's yearly music event in San Francisco live, starting at 10 a.m. PDT Wednesday.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg
11 min read
Apple music event
Apple's got its decorations ready for the music event that will be held at the Yerba Buena Theater on Wednesday at 10 a.m. PDT. James Martin/CNET

Editor's note: We used Cover It Live for this event, so if you missed the live blog, you can still replay it in the embedded component below. Replaying the event will give you all the live updates along with commentary from our readers and CNET editors Donald Bell and Tom Krazit. For those of you who just want the updates, we've included them in regular text here. To get the key points from today's announcement, you can check out our summary of what got announced, in our story here.

SAN FRANCISCO--We're here live at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for Apple's annual music-related press event, which kicked off right on time at 10 a.m. PDT. You can follow our up-to-the-minute coverage using the Cover It Live module below. We'll also be running a special episode of Buzz Out Loud. You can watch that in the video player below the live blog. And finally, if you happen to be the proud owner of a Mac running Safari on Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard, an iPhone or iPod Touch running iOS 3.0 or higher, or an iPad, you can watch the event streamed live by Apple on its Web site.

Transcript of live blog starts here:

Crowd outside Apple music event
A crowd waits to enter Apple's music event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Donald Bell/CNET

9:51 a.m. PDT: Hi everyone! Thanks for joining us. Donald and I are in and seated. We're probably 10 minutes away.

10:00 a.m.: OK, lights are dimming. Here we go.

Steve Jobs takes the stage. Note: not wearing a turtleneck. Just a black sweater.

Steve Jobs at September music event
Steve Jobs comes on stage. Donald Bell/CNET

10:01 a.m.: Steve acknowledges Steve Wozniak as "my partner in crime." Woz stands up to lots of applause.

First up: an update of Apple retail stores.

10:02 a.m.: He's describing a new store in Paris. And their second store in China just opened in Shanghai.

Woz at Apple music event.
CNET reporters had good seats--right behind Steve Wozniak. Donald Bell

10:03 a.m.: Steve's showing lots of pictures of the Shanghai store. Also talking up the London store. He's spending a lot of time talking about architecture.

10:04 a.m.: Steve says there are 300 Apple stores now in 10 countries. "We've come a long way," he says.

Jobs says some days more than 1 million people visit their stores, which elicits applause.

10:05 a.m.: Now iOS.

Steve says, "touch user interfaces were completely different" before the iPhone. Today Apple has shipped 120 million iOS devices since the original iPhone in 2007.

10:06 a.m.: "People are throwing out a lot of numbers of how many devices they're activating per day. We're activating 230,000 iOS devices a day."

That's new activations, he says. "Some of our friends are counting upgrades."

Steve Jobs at Apple music event
Donald Bell/CNET

200 apps every second are being downloaded, he says.

10:07 a.m.: 250,000 apps are on the store; 25,000 are made for iPad. Today, iOS 4.1 is coming.

"A lot of bugs have been fixed." Proximity sensor, Bluetooth, iPhone 3G performance bugs are fixed.

HDR, high-dynamic range photos are coming. Standard in iOS 4.1.

Bug fixes in iOS 4.1
Bug fixes in iOS 4.1 Donald Bell/CNET

10:08 a.m.: HD video upload over Wi-Fi, TV show rentals, and Game Center is finally here.

10:09 a.m.: He's explaining HDR photos. Tap on the HDR on screen, and when you take a photo, it takes three in rapid succession. One normal exposure, one that's under- and one that's overexposed. It combines them to make an HDR photo. Apple keeps the normal and HDR photo in the camera roll.

10:10 a.m.: Another thing: Game Center. It's APIs for developers and an app on the phone.

For mulitplayer games, he says. You can challenge friends to games or play random people if you "don't have any friends."

10:11 a.m.: He's demonstrating the way you can be matched up with other players.

10:12 a.m.: A new game later this year from Epic Games is coming. Mike Capps from Epic Games is going to demonstrate it. It's their first iOS game, called "Project Sword."

Project Sword demo
Project Sword demo Donald Bell/CNET

10:14 a.m.: Demo of sword battle game is mercifully over. Steve's back.

10:15 a.m.: iOS 4.1 will be ready next week for the iPhone and iPod Touch for free.

A surprise for us today, he says. A sneak peek at iOS 4.2 is coming "a little later this year."

It's unifying the iPad and iPhone. Everything from the iPhone is coming to iPad--including a new feature, wireless printing.

New iPad features
Donald Bell/CNET

10:16 a.m.: They're also adding something called "Airplay," which will be explained later, he says.

You can print from a menu option on the iPad. When you're printing, the multitasking bar below will show you what jobs are printing.

10:17 a.m.: Airplay is the new name for AirTunes. You can stream audio, video, and photos over Wi-Fi to other devices.

10:18 a.m.: We're getting an iOS 4.2 demo for the iPad. He launches Pandora to play us a song while he answers e-mail, launching a browser demonstrating multitasking.

Next up: Folders. You can make folders on the iPad--just like the iPhone.

10:19 a.m.: iOS 4.2 is coming out in November, a free update for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

10:20 a.m.: 275 million iPods sold, he said.

"We've never rested on our laurels, we try to improve every year. This year we've gone wild."

Apple's announcing all new iPods. There's a new design for every model, he says.

10:21 a.m.: Biggest change in the iPod lineup ever, Steve says.

The Shuffle is up first. People missed the buttons, he says.

10:22 a.m.: The new Shuffle is a square with the old button navigation, but it's smaller than the second-gen model.

New iPod Shuffle
New iPod Shuffle Donald Bell/CNET

New iPod Shuffle comes in five colors.
New iPod Shuffle comes in five colors. Donald Bell/CNET

10:23 a.m.: It has a clip, speakable playlists like the last model, Genius mixes, and VoiceOver to tell you what song or artist you're listening to. It has 15 hours of battery.

10:23 a.m.: It comes in five colors: blue, pink, green, orange, and silver. The price is $49 for 2GB.

10:24 a.m. (Tom Krazit): CNET's David Carnoy on the old Shuffle design, from 2009: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10193616-1.html

10:24 a.m.: Now for the Nano. They made it smaller this year, took off the clickwheel, and made it touch-based.

10:25 a.m.: It has multitouch on a tiny square screen.

The Nano now has a clip on it, too, like the Shuffle.

It has FM radio, NikePlus, a pedometer, and has 29 languages. 24-hour battery life.

10:27 a.m.: Now he's showing the icons and album art on the Nano, and demonstrating how it works.

The controls appear over album covers while a song is playing. You can swipe left and right, and hold to get back to the home screen.

Album covers on the iPod Nano
Album covers on the iPod Nano Donald Bell/CNET

Album lists on the iPod Nano
Album lists on the iPod Nano Donald Bell/CNET

10:29 a.m.: There's also an accelerometer, the screen will rotate if you turn it upside down, he shows us.

10:30 a.m.: The Nano comes in seven colors, including a Product Red version. $149 for 8GB, $179 for 16GB.

The iPod Touch is up now. Steve says it's the most popular iPod, surpassing the Nano.

10:31 a.m.: It's also "the number one portable game player in the world," Steve says.

He's saying it outsells both Nintendo's and Sony's portable game players.

10:32 a.m.: 1.5 billion games have been downloaded to the iPod Touch, he says. What will we do next? Make it "better." The new one is thinner than the old one.

iPod Touch
Donald Bell/CNET

It has, as expected, the retina display from the iPhone 4.

10:33 a.m.: Also inside: the A4 chip, 3-axis gyro, iOS 4.1 with GameCenter, and front-facing camera with FaceTime.

Plus HD video recording on the rear camera. 40 hours of battery while playing music.

10:34 a.m.: Like the iPhone, you can edit movies with the iMovie app right on the iPod Touch.

New iPod Touch lineup
New iPod Touch lineup Donald Bell/CNET

There are three models: 8GB for $229, 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399.

10:35 a.m.: All models available next week, but you can preorder today.

Now he's going to show us some new ads.

10:35 a.m. (Donald Bell): Bye bye, iPod Classic.

10:36 a.m.: We're watching typical Apple-y ads for the iPod Nano, a separate one for iPod Touch.

FaceTime between iPhone and iPod Touch
FaceTime between iPhone and iPod Touch Donald Bell/CNET

10:37 a.m.: Ads are over. Steve's back. Now he's talking iTunes.

10:38 a.m.: 12 billion songs downloaded, 450 million TV episodes, 100 million movies, 35 million books, downloaded so far.

New iTunes logo
New iTunes logo Donald Bell/CNET

Today Apple is launching iTunes 10.

It's also getting a new logo. "We thought it was appropriate since iTunes will surpass sales of CDs in the U.S. It's time to ditch the CD in the logo," he says.

10:39 a.m.: There is a new list view feature. When looking at albums, there is a hybrid view. If you have five songs in same album, it shows you album artwork.

10:40 a.m.: One of the biggest things they focused on with this was discovery, according to Steve.

People want to know what friends are listening to, what concerts they're going to, what artists are doing. In iTunes 10, there is a new thing called Ping--a social network for music.

Donald Bell/CNET

"It's Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes."

10:41 a.m. (Donald Bell): Sorry Last.fm.

10:41 a.m.: It's built into iTunes so you can follow friends and artists and see what music they're talking about, listening to, and downloading. Ping is a menu item in iTunes on the left-hand nav bar.

You get a custom chart of songs and albums to see the top things the people you follow are downloading.

Ping demo
Ping demo Donald Bell/CNET

10:43 a.m.: You can follow people and be followed, he says. Most artists will say people can follow them. Regular people can allow anyone to follow them too. You have the option if you want to approve every one of your followers. You can set up a "circle of friends" of people you're OK with following you.

10:44 a.m. (Donald Bell): Wish this Ping thing was on the Web. Seems a chore to open iTunes for this stuff.

10:45 a.m.: There are 160 million potential followers/people you can follow out there already using iTunes, he says.

10:46 a.m.: Steve is writing on Jack Johnson's page now, as a demonstration.

10:46 a.m. (Donald Bell): Previews still seem to be 30 seconds here. (Leading up to the event, rumors suggested sample lengths would be expanded to 60 or 90 seconds long.)

10:46 a.m.: You can also preview songs and buy them right from a page where someone has shared them.

10:47 a.m.: They're now showing a short video from Lady GaGa saying hi to her new friends on Ping. Lots of air kisses from her.

10:47 a.m. (Donald Bell): Oh Gaga. Put some pants on.

10:48 a.m.: Steve has his own profile. (He's going to the Tegan and Sara concert on Friday, FYI, if anyone wants to say hi.)

At least according to his Ping page.

Ping in iTunes
Donald Bell/CNET

10:49 a.m.: Ping is not just on your computer, it's also on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

There's a new button in the iTunes app for those devices. Just click Ping to launch it.

iTunes 10 is available starting today.

10:50 a.m. (Donald Bell): Go get your Ping on, folks.

10:50 a.m.: One more thing...

"One more hobby," actually.

Apple TV came out four years ago. We've sold a lot, but it's never been a huge hit. Neither has a competitive product, he says.

10:51 a.m.: What have we learned? A lot, he says. People want Hollywood movies and TV shows whenever they want them.

"They don't want amateur hour. They want professional content." And they want it in HD.

10:52 a.m.: They don't want a computer on their TV, he says. Widescreen TVs are for entertainment, not another computer. "It's a hard one for people in the computer industry to understand."

People also don't want to manage storage, he says. And they don't want to have to sync to a computer. "Most people don't want to have to think about what that is."

10:53 a.m.: It's different than what other companies think, Steve says.

There's something new today: it's about a quarter of the size of the old Apple TV. It's small and black and palm-sized. Power supply is built in, there's no power brick.

10:54 a.m.: One HDMI connector and Ethernet, and Wi-Fi.

Apple TV
Apple TV Donald Bell/CNET

Apple TV remote
Donald Bell/CNET

It has its own remote, uses all HD content, and everything is rental only. No purchases on Apple TV from now on.

10:55 a.m.: That eliminates the storage issue if you're renting not storing.

You can stream content from your computer if you'd like. No syncing is necessary.

10:56 a.m.: First-run HD movies cost $4.99 and are available to rent.

TV shows were too expensive, he says. Now rentals are 99 cents each.

Not all studios wanted to do this, he says. ABC and Fox signed up first.

10:57 a.m.: "We think the rest will see the light and get on board with us."

You can stream Netflix to the device if you're already a customer.

You can also watch anything on YouTube, and see photos from Flickr and MobileMe.

10:58 a.m.: You can see Rotten Tomatoes ratings right on screen as you're browsing for what to watch.

Apple TV demo
Donald Bell/CNET

11:00 a.m.: Now Steve is walking us through the new Apple TV demo.

11:01 a.m.: He's showing us how to select, scroll, preview, and rent a movie.

11:02 a.m.: You can select Favorite TV Shows, and it will show you unwatched episodes from each show.

11:04 a.m.: "This is by far the best implementation of Netflix," says (totally unbiased) Steve.

That gets some laughs.

11:05 a.m.: Now we're seeing a demo of what you can do with photo slideshows on Apple TV.

11:06 a.m.: Airplay is coming in November. One of the things you can do with that is stream content from iOS devices to Apple TV.

While watching a movie on an iPad, a button will come up and ask you where you want to stream it to. You can pick Apple TV and the stream will instantly switch to that device.

11:07 a.m.: Content on iTunes is available in six countries so far, with more countries coming later this year.

Users didn't like the $229 price, he says. So the new price is $99.

11:08 a.m. (Donald Bell): You missed out, Boxee.

11:08 a.m.: Available in "four weeks," but you can preorder it today, he says.

11:09 a.m.: He's running through the announcements so far today. Ping "is going to be really popular, very fast," he predicts.

11:10 a.m. (Donald Bell): Ping. It's like Facebook, but with your credit card info.

11:11 a.m.: We started music stuff because "we love music," Steve says. Even though we're more successful, that hasn't changed. So we asked one of our favorite musical artists to perform.

11:12 a.m.: Aaaand it's Coldplay.

11:12 a.m. (Donald Bell): Sweet. Cue heart-tugging piano.

11:12 a.m.: Sorry, actually it's just Chris Martin.

Chris Martin at Apple event
Donald Bell/CNET

11:13 a.m.: "Toughest closing gig we've ever had," Martin says.

11:13 a.m.: The rest of the band is too busy, he says. But he'll play us one song, and maybe another one if we want more.

11:14 a.m.: He picks "Yellow" to perform solo for us.

11:17 a.m.: Oh we do get one more song, "Viva La Vida." He credits iTunes with making it a hit.

11:22 a.m.: The crowd asks for another song. "I'm afraid I've played all the hits," he says.

11:22 a.m.: So a new song instead. Coldplay 2.6 is the name, he jokes.

11:23 a.m.: Actually it's called "Wedding Bells." It's not sure to get released, so this may be the only public playing, he says.

11:26 a.m.: Martin gets a standing ovation from the crowd after fleeing the stage rather quickly.

11:26 a.m. (Donald Bell): Bye, now. Gotta go fondle some iPods, methinks.

11:27 a.m.: Steve thanks us all for coming. That's it. Thanks for joining us today! We'll have more commentary, hands-on reviews, and analysis throughout the day, so be sure to check back.

Watch this: Buzz Out Loud Ep. 1299: Apple iPod announcement shuffles the buttons (Podcast)

Editors' note: The original, bare-bones version of this story was posted Tuesday at 2:40 p.m. PDT.