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Live blog: Apple updates iPods, Jobs takes stage

The rock 'n' roll-themed event gets under way in San Francisco with the return of Apple's media-genic CEO.

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
8 min read

Earlier Wednesday, we brought you live coverage of Apple's rock 'n' roll-themed event, which kicked off in San Francisco just after 10 a.m. Pacific time. The event has concluded, but for more iPod-related coverage, click here.

9:55 a.m. PDT: Good morning. We're inside and seated, just waiting for the event to begin. There's quite a crowd in here with some notable names already appearing. Greg Grunberg from TV's "Heroes" is sitting right behind us, and Herbie Hancock and Google's Eric Schmidt have also been spotted.

The crowd awaits Apple news inside the Yerba Buena center in San Francisco.
The crowd awaits Apple news inside the Yerba Buena center in San Francisco. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Watch this: Steve Jobs is back

9:59 a.m.: Now playing "It's Only Rock 'n Roll" by the Rolling Stones, also the title of the event per the invitation. It looks like we'll be starting momentarily.

10:01 a.m.: Steve Jobs walks out. Standing ovation.

10:02 a.m.: People are still clapping.

He encourages everyone to be an organ donor, and extends a heartfelt thanks to the Apple community. Also, on Tim Cook: "He ran the company very ably during that time." "I'm back at Apple, and loving every day of it," he says.

10:03 a.m.: "I'm very happy to be here today with you all," he says. "As you may know I had a liver transplant. I have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash. Without that, I wouldn't be here without that person's generosity."

10:04 a.m.: Today we're talking about music. Phil Schiller and Jeff Robbin will join him. First, iPhone stuff. "Thrilling to report that in two years we've sold 30 million iPhones."

10:05 a.m.: In the last year, the reason is the App Store, he says. There are 75,000 apps. 1.8 billion apps downloaded by users, he reports. That doesn't include updates, though.

10:06 a.m.: Today: iPhone OS 3.1. Some bug fixes and new features are coming. The Genius playlist technology is now going to work for apps in the App Store. It will recommend apps to you based on the apps you already own. The recommendations will get better as people say what they like and buy, he says.

Steve Jobs announces iPhone OS 3.1.
Steve Jobs announces iPhone OS 3.1. Stephen Shankland/CNET

10:07 a.m.: Also: as Greg Sandoval previously reported, there will be ringtones for sale for $1.29 each. You can buy them the way you'd buy music.

10:08 a.m.: iPhone OS 3.1 is free for iPhone and iPod Touch users who have 3.0. It will be made available today. Update 2:58 p.m.: Earlier, it was reported that it would cost iPod Touch users $4.95. The update only costs money to those who had not yet upgraded their iPod Touch to 3.0 or higher.

10:08 a.m.: Now on to iTunes: Steve says iTunes is the No. 1 seller of music in the world. 8.5 billion songs have been purchased and there are 100 million accounts.

Jobs international
Jobs says the iPhone is popular internationally. Stephen Shankland

10:09 a.m.: Today, iTunes 9 is out. A new look. Cleaner-looking, better navigation.

10:11 a.m.: In iTunes 9: Genius Mixes. Like Genius Playlists, Genius Mixes is like a DJ that plays mixes of songs that go together from your own library. Will make up to 12 mixes at a time.

Steve Jobs takes the stage. Stephen Shankland/CNET

10:12 a.m.: He says syncing will be better now, too. When syncing playlists you can also sync particular genres or particular artists. Also specific photo albums or specific faces from iPhoto, and specific movies from iTunes. You can also manage your apps syncing in iTunes.

10:13 a.m.: Also something called Home Sharing. With it, you can copy songs, movies, TV shows to up to five authorized computers in your house. Can see what's in all the other authorized computers right from your iTunes account.

10:14 a.m.: The iTunes Store also gets a new look, along with improved artists, movies, and TV pages--a "cleaner" layout, Jobs says.

10:15 a.m.: Another new feature: iTunes LP. "Some of us here are old enough to have bought LPs," Steve says. You can get album art, videos, liner notes, credits, etc. This is clearly the "Cocktail" we've been hearing about. The artists and labels can now have access to adding extras to their albums now.

10:17 a.m.: Jeff Robbin, vice president of consumer applications and lead software designer for iTunes, is now demonstrating the new iTunes. He shows how to drag and drop apps in iTunes to rearrange how they appear on an iPod Touch or iPhone. You can check and uncheck which games or apps you want on the device.

10:19 a.m.: He also shows us how Home Sharing works. You can drag a song or series of songs from other authorized computers to your own library. Can sort by songs that others have that you do not, and can set it so that when others buy new content from iTunes it can be automatically transferred to your library.

10:21 a.m.: There's a new navigation bar in the iTunes Store: music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, audio books, etc.

10:22 a.m.: Can also preview songs directly in the Top Charts section. When browsing the store, you can click an "i" button for a preview of the songs on the album which will allow a quick listen without going to the actual artist or album page. You can also Twitter info and post to Facebook about songs you find in the iTunes Store.

Album view in iTunes 9.
Album view in iTunes 9. Stephen Shankland/CNET

10:24 a.m.: Now Jeff is showing us iTunes LP. He picks a Doors album. You can see all the songs, all the lyrics, and lots of photos.

10:25 a.m.: There are also videos that he says are exclusive to iTunes LP. For example, Ray Manzarek is talking about how they decided to name the band The Doors.

10:27 a.m.: There's also something called iTunes Extras. Using the movie "Wall-E," he shows there are extra features like short videos, and a way to navigate chapters in the movie.

You can see lyrics with the album view in iTunes 9. Shown here are Dave Matthews lyrics. Stephen Shankland

10:28 a.m.: Jobs is back on stage. He says iTunes 9 is free and ready to download today. Phil Schiller will come up to talk iPods now.

Twenty million of those sold are iPod Touch, he says.

Schiller mocks Dell's non-pocketable small PC. Stephen Shankland/CNET

10:29 a.m.: First Schiller's going to talk sales numbers. 220 million iPods sold to date, he says. He says they have 73.8 percent of the market, "with Microsoft pulling up the rear with 1.1 percent." There are a few giggles.

10:33 a.m.: Now Schiller's talking up the computing aspect of the iPod Touch, with Wi-Fi, browsing the Internet on Safari, e-mail, etc. "It fits in your pocket. Not everybody can say that," he says. And he shows a picture on screen of a Dell Netbook. More giggles from the audience.

10:35 a.m.: He says the iPod Touch is a better gaming platform than the PSP or Nintendo DS. He points to $30 game titles on those devices and the buying experience as "too expensive" and "not a lot of fun." He says there are 21,178 "game and entertainment" titles on iPhone OS, compared to 3,600 on Nintendo, and 600 on Sony.

Phil Schiller brags about iPhone as gaming platform.
Phil Schiller brags about the iPhone as a gaming platform. Stephen Shankland

10:37 a.m.: A few developers of those games are going to come up on stage now. Ubisoft is up first. Ben Mattes from Ubisoft is talking about Assassin's Creed II and how it's coming to the App Store. It'll be out November 11.

10:42 a.m.: Now, Bart Decrem, founder of Tapulous (maker of Tap Tap Revolution) is up. Riddim Ribbon is their new game built "especially for iPhone and iPod Touch." It's a DJ game where you race down a rhythm of a song, Guitar Hero-style. You can remix the song by going different directions down the "ribbon."

10:44 a.m.: Mark Hickey from Gameloft, one of the more prolific App Store game makers, is up. He's showing a new first-person shooter called Nova, where you have to defend humanity against an alien attack in space.

10:47 a.m.: Only one more game developer, Schiller promises. It's Travis Boatman from Electronic Arts. He's talking Madden NFL 10, which is coming to the App Store for the first time.

10:49 a.m.: You can draw plays right on the screen, which draws lots of applause from the audience. Madden 10 is available today in the App Store, Boatman says.

Travis Boatman from Electronic Arts shows the new interface to control the Madden game. Stephen Shankland/CNET

10:52 a.m.: "$199 is a magic price point in the iPod market," Schiller says. As of today, the iPod Touch is $199 for 8GB and $299 for 32GB. It now also comes in a 64GB model for $399.

10:53 a.m.: OpenGL ES 2.0 is also on the iPod Touch now, so games are faster--except for the $199 version, which will not have that.

Phil Schiller shows new prices and memory configurations for the iPod Touch. Stephen Shankland/CNET

10:54 a.m.: Now Schiller is discussing the iPod Classic. Now it will be 160GB for $249, which is up from 120GB.

10:57 a.m.: The iPod Shuffle gets its turn. Now it will come in more colors. Pink, green, and blue in addition to the silver and black. It's also now $59 for 2GB and $79 for 4GB. There's also a special edition in stainless steel for $99.

Phil Schiller talks new iPod colors.
Phil Schiller talks new iPod colors. Stephen Shankland/CNET

10:58 a.m.: Steve's back up. One more thing...a video camera.

10:59 a.m.: "Video has exploded in the last few years," he says. All those streams are coming from solid-state video cameras. He shows a picture of the Flip Video and its 4GB $149 price point. "We want to get in on this," he says. There will be a video camera in the back of every iPod Nano. There's also a mic and a speaker inside.

11:00 a.m.: He says it's just as thin as before, and shows a quick demo video from the device's camera. The videos will sync back to your iPhoto or to YouTube, with one click (another feature of the Flip Video camera).

11:02 a.m.: The voice-over feature from the iPod Shuffle will also be in the Nano, as well as Genius Mixes which were discussed earlier. The Nano will also have an FM radio, a voice recorder app, and pedometer. The pedometer will sync online with Nike Plus.

Jobs shows new video-enabled iPods
Jobs shows new iPods. Stephen Shankland/CNET

11:04 a.m.: It will come in a variety of colors: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, silver, black. 8GB for $159 and 16GB for $179, both will be available today.

Jobs touted brilliant new iPod colors. Stephen Shankland/CNET

11:04 a.m.: We're getting a preview of the new ad, which highlights the video feature and colors of the Nano--with a cutesy pop song as backing, of course.

People clap, but there seems to be some palpable disappointment for those expecting a Beatle or Coldplay, which were some of the rumors. She starts with "Come Away with Me."

11:06 a.m.: Now Jobs is talking music. "It's the primary reason we do this." Live performance coming up. It's Norah Jones.

Norah Jones closed the event by performing two songs
Norah "Not a Beatle" Jones closed the event by performing two songs. Stephen Shankland/CNET

11:11 a.m.: Jones says: "Thanks to Steve Jobs for having us. Really happy to see he's doing well." Now we get a preview of a song from her upcoming album called "Young Blood."

11:15 a.m.: Norah Jones concludes her performance. The lights are back up and Steve's on stage.

11:16 a.m.: He thanks everyone for coming. That's the end, folks. We'll have continuing coverage including reviews of the new devices coming later today from CNET's Donald Bell and plenty of video and further analysis from CNET News. Thanks for joining us!