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IPhone 5 bigger but lighter, shares stage with new iPods, EarPods in Apple launch
Magic, revolutionary, breakthrough — the words Apple uses to describe its new products may not see much innovation from one launch event to the next, but today's iPhone 5 introduction had plenty for Apple fans to rejoice about.
After weeks of rumors and leaks Apple unveiled its new iPhone, which may be playing catch up to other existing phones that use 4G LTE technology but continues to lead the market in screen resolution and software.
But chief executive Tim Cook went beyond the rumors to also debut three new iPod models, a new dock connector for all of Apple's future mobile devices and new ear buds — which the company is now calling "EarPods".
Catch up on the play-by-play of the event below, but here is a quick review of what we learned today from the Apple team.
The new iPhone 5 will feature 4G LTE technology for faster data streaming, it will have a new 8-MP camera with built-in panorama mode, a new 720p front-facing camera to use the FaceTime functionality in HD, a larger 4-inch widescreen retina display, and a new processor that will launch apps up to two times faster than before.
It will be 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S, and available at the same price points: $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for the 32GB version and $399 for the 64GB version, with a two-year contract of course.
The phone will be available for pre-order on Friday and will ship a week later.
Apple debuted two new iPod models today, with an honorable mention for the 2GB-iPod Shuffle, which gets an upgrade to use the new dock connector (see below).
The new iPod Nano got a significant update, with a larger screen that plays widescreen video, a radio tuner with DVR-like live pausing functionality, built-in Nike+ integration, and most importantly, a slimmer design that is 50% thinner than the previous model, clocking in at 6.1mm thick and weighing 88 grams.
The 16GB iPod Nano, the only size available, will cost $149 and will be available for pre-order on Friday, Sept. 14.
The new iPod Touch gets a significant upgrade too, being offered in six colors for the first time and featuring the same larger screen as the iPhone 5. It also gets a new processor to make video and graphics perform up to seven times faster than the last version, and a 5-MP camera on the back that can film in 1080p HD video.
An added touch, much like the SmartCover that debuted on the iPad 2, is the iPod Touch Loop, a hidden button that allows the included wrist strap to pop on to the device.
The new iPod Touch will cost $299 for the base 32GB model, and $399 for the 64GB model, and both will be available for pre-order on Friday, Sept. 14.
Two new accessories were debuted today as well: a new dock connector and new headphones.
The Lightning dock connector is digital, reversible and 80% smaller than the old one that Apple has used for a decade. It's available now in the Apple Store for $19.
The EarPods are ergonomically designed to fit better and more comfortably in the ear, feature a remote on the wire, and will have improved audio quality as well. These are now available in the Apple Store for $29.
The big software news to come out of today's announcement focuses on iOS6, the new mobile operating system that will be available for download on Sept. 19 and be available for all iPhone models back to the 3GS, as well as the new iPad and the iPad 2.
Included are a new and visually-rich maps application, as well as a new app called PassBook that acts as a sort of digital wallet for loyalty cards like those offered by Starbucks, Fandango, Delta, American Airlines, etc.
That pretty much sums up today's Apple event. Read the full live blog below to get the details as they happened.
The Apple Store is now live with the new products we saw today, including the new EarPods, which are available immediately. Thanks for joining us today and we'll see you next time!
The Apple Store is still closed as the Foo Fighters continue to play, but the Apple iPhone page has been updated with the new iPhone 5.
Dave Grohl talks to the audience as they play, talking about how Apple engineers are shaping our future. It looks like the Foo Fighters will close out the event.
Cook thanks the Apple team and out come the Foo Fighters, to wrap things up with a live musical performance.
Looks like there may not be " . . . one more thing," but we'll stay on the stream just to make sure.
Tim Cook now back on stage, looks like he'll review the launch: new iPhone, three new iPods (Shuffle, which they barely mentioned, Nano, and Touch), new EarPods, new iOS.
Are we on our way to the Steve Jobs tradition of " . . . one more thing?"
Now for the prices, which seem in line with other Apple products.
The new iPod Touch is $299 for the base 32GB model, the Nano at $149 for the 16GB model. They will both be available in October and will continue to be available in red to support the Product (RED) charity for AIDS research.
These new headphones also have a new case and will be available for sale today, once the Apple Store reopens. They'll be included with the new iPod Touch, the new Nano, and the new iPhone 5. Everyone else can upgrade.
We are now moving to talk about headphones, which were rumored to get an upgrade today. They've sold 600 million of them, apparently.
The new EarPods, Joswiak says, are a breakthrough in comfort and audio quality. They look roughly like they used to, though more rounded and apparently better shaped for the average ear.
The new Touch will also have 1080p video recording capability, better wireless, and, very importantly, AirPlay mirroring to send music and video to other devices and use the iPod Touch as a controller for video games playing on a TV.
And Siri will now be included on the iPod Touch, which will be available in 5 different colors for the first time.
A new button! There is a strange little hidden button they call the "iPod Touch loop," which allows you to pop on an included wrist strap with what seems like a magnet.
Kind of like the smartcover on the iPad.
The new iPod Touch will also have the same 4-inch retina display on the iPhone 5, and will play widescreen video, thanks to its new A5 chip that will make it up to seven times faster than previous models.
It will also have a new body with brushed aluminum, better than the sleek and scratchable chrome than previous versions.
We now see a gaming demo for a game called "Clumsy Ninja" on the iPod Touch.
Now onto the iPod touch. It's the fifth-generation model and looks roughly like the new iPhone.
It's super thin and super light — 6.1mm thickness and just 88 grams. Wow.
The radio tuner on the new Nano will have live pausing, so a DVR-like experience for radio. It will also have widescreen video, and Bluetooth support. Nice.
Obviously, it uses the new Lightning dock connector also and has 30 hours of music playback for the battery. Big improvement.
New iPod Nano, with a bigger touch screen and a more vertically-stretched design. It's almost 50% thinner than the previous, 6th-generation Nano it replaces. It will also be available in all the pretty colors the Nano is known for.
Greg Joswiak now takes the stage to talk about the iPod. Will there be a new iPod announcement too?
Joswiak says they've sold 350 million iPods and that they are "going to make some exciting changes to the lineup today."
On to movies now. New interface in iTunes looks nice. New iTunes will be available in October.
The iTunes mini-player (what you get when you minimize the iTunes window) now has search built into it and also allows you to queue a song to play after the current one. Nice.
The new iTunes is quite visually impressive. It will now go edge-to-edge on the screen, and much more pictures and cover art than before.
Since we're done with the technical aspects of the phone, it looks like the one notable feature it does not have is any NFC technology, which would allow one to wave the phone at a sensor to pay for things, for example.
The PassBook app on iOS6 will stand in somewhat, allowing the phone to easily display bar codes that can be read by the cash registers at participating stores, but keep an eye out for NFC technology in a future phone.
Now for the desktop version of iTunes. It has Facebook and Twitter integration, better search results, and the ability to preview one song/video while browsing others. It's also got iCloud built in.
A demo video begins to play for the new iTunes.
Now Tim Cook is back on stage, talking about music. Looks like there will be a new iTunes coming as well.
Eddie Cue takes the stage to talk about iTunes, which he says has 26 million songs available right now. Downloads, he says, are taking place more and more on mobile devices, so the iTunes store on iPhone and iPad is much nicer and now integrated with Facebook.
Pre-orders will start Friday, Schiller says, and the phone will start shipping a week later; the new operating system, iOS6, will debut for download on Sept. 19 and be available for all iPhone models back to the 3Gs, as well as the new iPad and the iPad 2.
Also of note is that the iPhone 4 will now be free, and the 16GB iPhone 4S will be available for $99.
And we have the prices: same as the iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 5 will cost $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for the 32GB version and $399 for the 64GB version, with a two-year contract of course.
Ive talks about how the new phone just "feels" great. It's all very Steve Jobs-ian.
Still waiting on the edge of our seats for pricing, and any other products Apple *might* choose to announce today.
Johnny Ive on the promo video goes through the specs and design. A look at the inside of the phone shows a large battery taking up half of the inside, as expected.
Finally we talk about design. The new phone will be available in white and black, with an aluminum finish on the back. A video is recapping the features we have just seen, paving the way for the big price reveal.
Siri can now give you sports scores! Looks like Apple responded to user complaints about Siri's limited functionality. It can now handle Opentable for restaurant reservations, Facebook, Twitter and others.
Another new feature is "shared photo stream" where you can share specific photos or albums with other friends. Just like on Facebook, with comments, etc.
Now we move on to Siri.
Now talking about iCloud and iCloud tabs, which allows you to share open tabs and bookmarks across devices.
We move on to PassBook, a way to keep digital loyalty cards in one place on your phone. That means you can scan your Starbucks card, or scan the bar code for an American Airlines ticket, or a movie ticket purchased on Fandango.
Still looking at a Maps demo, the Apple folks are clearly proud of this one. Just like Google Street View, Apple apparently put 3-D cameras on helicopters to record flyover images for the maps app. The results are quite amazing.
Schiller now moving on to speaking about specific apps and the new features of iOS6. He is talking about maps, with turn-by-turn directions and incredible 3-D flyover views of buildings and restaurants.
There will be an adapter, Schiller says, between the old dock and the new one, for all those accessories out there that use the old design.
It's fair to assume that the new connector will be pushed across all of Apple's mobile devices going forward.
The Apple store, as per tradition, is currently offline until the event is over, and preorders for the new iPhone will surely begin shortly after.
Now we're talking about the new connector, which hasn't seen an upgrade since the original iPhone.
"It's served us well for almost a decade," Schiller says. He calls the new connector "Lightning". An all-digital, reversible, 8-signal design that is 80% smaller than the current dock connector. Not bad.
Another advantage of the new A6 chip? The new iPhone will be able to take pictures WHILE also actively recording video.
Schiller adds that there will be three microphones on the new iPhone — one in the front, one on the bottom, and one on the back. He says that will improve sound quality, obviously.
Panoramas still wowing the crowd, and Schiller moves to video.
The new iPhone will put 1080p HD on the back camera, and 720p on the front-facing one, meaning Facetime in full HD.
Now on the screen are some sample pictures, one that looks like a beach in nearby Big Sur, Calif. He makes clear that the images are "untouched."
He also debuts some new camera features like panorama mode that will shoot images up to 28-MP large. The demonstration with a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge is quite impressive, and there are no apparent imperfections in the stitching that created the panorama. Impressive.
Wow — we are now talking about the camera. Schiller describes the new 8-MP camera that shoots at 3264x2448 pixels, souped up lens, sapphire crystal, lowlight mode.
This is a major improvement over the previous camera, and it even snaps the pictures faster than before on top of it all thanks to the new chip.
Now we talk battery with Phil Schiller, the most awaited part of this demonstration, considering all the power-hungry developments we have been told of.
Schiller says they have matched the battery life of the iPhone 4S, despite the faster 4G LTE speeds.
We now move into some demos, with a demonstration of Real Racing 3 on the phone. Processing speed is clearly fast and smooth, and the colors look fantastic.
Schiller now talks about the chip powering the whole thing. It's the A6 chip, with a CPU and graphics processing two times faster than the previous model. Wow. Not bad.
He says that means you can launch apps around two times faster than ever before.
Now on to the network connectivity. Schiller says the LTE technology will mean "ultrafast wireless" and work in Europe, Asia, etc.
Applications that haven't been updated, Schiller says, will just run letterboxed until they are. That means black bars on the sides. Which is not great but apps should get updated before long to fit the new screen.
Still talking about the screen, he says it has 44% more color saturation than before, which should make a big difference for watching media on the new phone.
Schiller talks about how it's designed to fit in your hand beautifully, and that apps like iPhoto, GaragaBand, Calendars are all updated to fit the new screen.
Home screen looks the same, with four icons on the dock at the bottom of the screen and 5 rows of icons above.
As for the physical differences, the new iPhone is thinner and 20% lighter, Schiller says.
It's 18% thinner than the 4S, at 7.6mm thick, and it features a 4-inch retina display screen with resolution of 640x1136, which is an exact 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.
The new phone will have 4G connectivity, which exists already on the Verizon network, as well as Sprint. A few other phones uses 4G technology, the iPhone now catching up.
Phil Schiller on stage now, introducing the iPhone 5, the official name of the new phone.
Now on to talk about the Apple App Store, which has always been a selling point for the iPad.
Cook mentions over 700,000 apps in the App Store, and that 250,000 are optimized for the iPad.
Talking about the iPad, Tim Cook says Apple has a 62% market share for tablets, and has sold more iPads than any PC manufacturer sold of their entire PC lines.
He adds that Web traffic from iPads accounts for 91% of all Web traffic from tablets. Wow.
"I don't know what these other tablets are doing," Cook says. "They must be in warehouses or store shelves or maybe in people's bottom drawer."
Channeling a bit of Steve Jobs there . . .
The MacBook Pro now features a retina display, and Apple is leading the U.S. in marketshare for notebook computers, Tim Cook says.
Tim Cook is onstage, talking about the Mac after showing a video of an Apple store.
With a few minutes to go, be sure to check out a preview of what's expected in the iPhone 5, including the many features of iOS6, debuted in June and including a new maps application (no more Google maps) and a much-anticipated app called Passbook, a sort of digital wallet for loyalty cards at retailers like Starbucks, Target, etc. that can be scanned at participating locations' registers.
Good afternoon all, we are 15 minutes away from the long-anticipated and much-leaked announcement of Apple's new iPhone, coming about a year after the iPhone 4S and expected to showcase improvements both in hardware and software.
Stay with us as we bring you all the excitement as it happens.