Apple "The Beat Goes On": Liveblogging the Apple Event

Apple “The Beat Goes On”: Liveblogging the Apple Event

the%20beat%20goes%20on%20small.jpg Alex Roumbas liveblogs from the Apple Event…

19:11 – Finally to give a gift to the iPhone users who are giving the best feedback for any Apple product ever. The vast majority of iPhone purchasers are buying the 8GB one, so they’re going to focus on that. It’s not going to sell for $599 any more… they’re bringing it down to $399 effective immediately! To finish, a round of applause for the people who have worked on the products. I think there’s going to be a group hug any minute. No, no… it’s a performance from KT Tunstall. Lucky cow. Don’t touch Steve, hear me?

19:09 – A recap of the new range from Shuffle to Touch finishes the line up. And Steve’s including the iPhone because “it’s the best iPod ever”.

19:07 – The full roll out should be accomplished by the beginning on ’09, with the bulk achieved by the end of next year. Yadda yadda yadda.
Click here to find out more!19:04 – Apparently the most asked question in Starbucks is “what song am I listening to?”. Now with the iPod Touch and the iPhone, you’ll know instantly. It would be nice if they could also tell me why they get my order wrong so often… Sorry, but this man is definitely no Steve Jobs; that may be the fangirl in me talking, though. The roll out will start October 2nd with New York and Seattle.

19:01 – Schultz is outlining their world domination and how this is all in its infancy and they’ll be buying our souls by the shedload any minute now. At least, that’s what I heard. “The coffee experience”… oh God help us. Mind you, they did win a Grammy Award for co-producing Ray Charles’s last album, which is just plain odd when you think about it. So don’t think about it. Go buy a latte.

18:59 – They’re playing a KT Tunstall song in the “Starbucks backstage” (we laughed, oh how we laughed). He’s really, really excited. And Howard Schultz, the founder and chairman of Starbucks, is coming on to tell us how excited he is in turn.

18:56 – Hey, guess what? The iTunes WiFi Music Store will shortly be a free software update for the iPhone as well. Just give us the damn phone already. And he’s promising more, something Apple have been working on for two years. There’s a “great partnership with Starbucks”. Jesus – the Evil Coffee Empire AND Apple! I won’t sleep for coffee and music…

When you get near a participating Starbucks, another button will appear automatically in the new WiFi store. It’ll tell you exactly what’s playing in that Starbucks and you can buy it and download it in seconds. And if you just missed it? You can look at the last ten songs they’ve played. There’s access to the Starbucks collections of music too.

18:54 – Steve demonstrates searching for Bob Dylan. This Dylan obsession may be where I part ways with the Apple maestro. Another demonstration of the simplicity and speed of the downloads. WiFi is faster than 3G, Steve reminds us.

18:51 – A nice demo of the service, showing the preview feature (John Lennon’s Imagine, if you were wondering). Downloads in a few seconds and there’s a complementary downloads playlist on the iPod Touch. “This is all live,” Steve reminds us. It was a super-slick demo and highly convincing.

18:49 – It’s the iTunes WiFi Music Store. You can go into all of iTunes, or check out top tens, and then just tap and there’s a free preview over WiFi for every song in the store. Like it? Tap again and you can buy, download and listen. Next time you dock the iPod Touch, it’ll sync back to iTunes.

18:48 – As expected it’s heavy on displaying the skinniness (it really is ridiculously thin) and the fingertip scrolling. Does this make up for not having the iPhone over here yet? You bet. But there’s more.

18:46 – 8GB and 16GB versions coming up – a little on the low side, but I can already feel the 16GB one in my hand… $299 for the 8GB, $399 for 16GB. Okay, a Christmas present then. Shipping this month, available in a few weeks. They’ve finished up a rough version of their ad just for this presentation.

18:44 – I swear the YouTube video he’s bookmarked renders better than the ‘Toob usually does. On the bottom is the standard 30-pin connector, so everyone’s docks will be fine. It’s the first worldwide product. It’s going to be shipping completely worldwide, a first for Apple. 22 hours of audio, 7 hours of video in an 8mm body. C’mon Gates… you really think the Zune is worth any more time and effort after this?

18:42 – YouTube is built in. My life is complete.

18:39 – Logging in to web pages is the issue. To get around this, they’ve added the Safari website to the iPod Touch, so that you can view, zoom in, log in to any WiFi network and get on with it.

Steve is claiming it’s the best browser on any mobile platform because you can zoom in, pan around with your finger etc. In addition, there’s full Google and Yahoo search built in. Browse at will, log in at will… This is wireless as it was meant to be (that’s me saying it, not him).

18:37 – There’s a secret hidden in the upper corner… it’s an antenna… WiFi! “Some others have done this, and it failed.” (Can’t think who he’s referring to). Steve reckons the problem is that it’s hard enough in the first place to get on WiFi if you’re not at home or in the office.

18:36 – Plays a snippet of Wild Hogs and we watch John Travolta berating a small child. Flicks through photos with a finger tip (echoes of the new iPhoto).

18:32 – 3.5″ widescreen display. It’s basically the iPhone without a phone. The “accelerometer” inside will display photos correctly every time. He’s going in for the demo kill now. Scroll through your music collection with your finger (got to be better than going to the end of your collection with the scrollwheel and having to circle all the way back again).

Tap the screen, scrub across it and then just turning it landscape automatically changes to Cover Flow and it’ll allow you to scroll by cover art. I’m dribbling.

18:30 – Also bringing iPhone technology to the iPod. This is the iPod Touch! 8mm thin, looks more like an iPhone than an iPod and it’s really stunning. Steve is claiming it’s one of the seven wonders of the world… Hmm. It features the iPhone interface.

18:26 – The iPod is being rechristened the “iPod Classic”. They new model is starting with 80GB, in a thinner design than the last one. Battery life is great, audio is 30 hours and video is 5 hours.

Cover Flow and everything else included on the nano is on these as well. There is a 160GB version too, which is thinner than its predecessor as well. Jobs is comparing it to when they started out with the first iPod which put 1,000 songs in your pocket. This is smaller and puts 40,000 in your pocket. 40 hours of audio playback, 7 hours of video. $249 and $349 respectively, and shipping today, available in stores by this weekend.

18:25 – The ad is short but sweet, a colourful video playing constantly while the silver, black, red, green and blue nanos shown off.

18:23 – The battery gives 24 hours of audio and 5 hours of video. Foxy new colours too, and the new nano will come in 4GB and 8GB versions.

4GB is just in silver and is priced at $149 – twice the memory for the same price as the predecessor. The 8GB is all colours, $189. They shipped today and should be in US stores by this weekend. There are also a accessories and it works with the Nike Plus running kit too. “A little video for everyone”. He’s going to preview the new ad for us now.

18:19 – Hey, Steve likes Mr. Brightside too. Best Killers song by far (in fact, only good one). Anyway… the demo is going, and the new “Now Playing” screen is vibrant and more animated, with richer icons etc.

Uses a snippet of the Jon Stewart show taking the piss out of the Mac / PC ads to demonstrate the video capabilities.Plays us a video podcast too, reminding us that these are often free on iTunes and that the quality on the huge demo screen is down to the nano hooked up to it – the broadcast is coming straight from the palm of his hand.

18:17 – New game, Vortex was demo’d and it looks bloody brilliant on the new high colour screen. Even the Sudoku game looks sexy on this thing, with rich backgrounds and animation a far cry from a newspaper and a biro.

18:13 – Customers want video on iPod nanos on a larger colour display. They want Cover Flow, games, more storage and a full metal design. Steve is answering their prayers with something that looks exactly like the mockups that have been hitting blogs for days now.

It’s waffffer thin and widescreen, the wide square nano we’ve been debating. Larger 2″ screen. It’ll look the same as the video iPod video because it’s the same 320 x 240 because of a screen with the highest pixel density they’ve ever shipped. 204 pixels per inch, and an enhanced menu to boot. Product Red nanos will continue with the new form too.

18:11 – “Now let’s talk about the iPod”. Looking forward to holiday – “replace or refresh every single product in the current iPod range”. Starting with refreshing colours of iPod Shuffle. There will be a product Red charity Shuffle. $79, shipping today.

18:09 – Ringtones folder in iTunes will file away all the snippets you’ve created. You can pick the exact section you want by using a simple drag and click method. New version of iTunes shipped tonight and rolling out next week.

18:07 – Song in iTunes that are suitable for this will be marked with bells. Steve demonstrates using Aretha’s Respect and assigning it to his wife’s phone calls. Oy.

18:05 – New version of iTunes to support some of the products being launched tonight. Biggest new feature is ringtones for the iPhone. Apple will let people make their own with a custom ringtone maker built into iTunes. Cost of the song (though not if you’ve bought it) + 99 cents will let you make your own and choose which bits you want.

18:00 – “Today we get to talk about music”. Starting with iTunes. Steve is giving us facts and figures about distribution – 600 million copies distributed so far, 3 billion songs bought and downloaded. Over 6 milion songs are now available in 22 stores around the world. Bit of an embarrassment of riches, then. 32 percent of all US music releases in 2006 were released only digitally. Steve says “wow”. Do you?

17:45 – Pascal Cagni, Head of Marketing for UK and Europe gives us a quick recap of Apple’s summer program, the iPhone, store launches, the iTunes festival etc. The room is packed out and there’s a typical Apple sense of occasion about all this… clapping, Steve Jobs glasses and all. Almost time for the man himself and apparently every media representative here will “get a chance to touch a product”. Not Steve then? Shame. I suppose he is a bit far away.

Liveblogging the Apple Event by Shiny Shiny.

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