Live Update: Apple’s Rock & Roll Event
9:51 PT - Jason Snell: Hello from the Apple music event, live from the Yerba Buena theater in San Francisco, right next to the Moscone Center. I'm Macworld Editorial Director Jason Snell, and to my right (you can't see him, I'm just explaining where he is) is Macworld Senior Editor Dan Frakes.
9:55 PT - JS: It's classic rock. We had the Who singing about a "Teenage Wasteland," and now it's Jimi Hendrix, who wants to stand next to my fire. Yet I can't help thinking about Tia Carrere singing this song in "Wayne's World." Hmm.
10:00 PT - JS: Oh, we're getting close. "It's Only Rock 'n Roll," the Rolling Stones. The title track from today's event. Yes, Apple Events have title tracks. Didn't you know?
10:00 PT - JS: I saw actor Greg Grunberg as we walked into the event. Apparently his company has an iPhone app? I wanted to yell, "Hey, guy who played that guy on Alias!" But I couldn't remember his name on "Alias." Weiss? Was it Weiss?
10:01 PT - Dan Frakes: Weiss, Jason, Weiss.
10:01 PT - JS: The lights are dimming as Mick Jagger's growl fades away. Which is good, since it's after 10 a.m.
10:01 PT - JS: Steve Jobs on stage.
10:02 PT - JS: Lengthy standing O for Jobs. Loud cheers from crowd of media, analysts, Apple people, VIPs.
10:02 PT - DF: You'd think he's been gone for a while or something.
10:02 PT - JS: "I'm very happy to be here today with you all. As some of you know, about five months ago I had a liver transplant. I now have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate their organs. I am alive because of their generosity. I hope we can all be that generous. I'd like to thank everyone in the Apple community for their concern. It means a lot. I'd like to thank Tim Cook, and everyone at Apple who rose to the occasion. Thank you guys."
10:04 PT - JS: "So, I'm vertical, I'm back at Apple and loving every minute of it, and working with some talented teams to come up with some great products for the future. It's wonderful."
10:05 PT - JS: "We have sold 30 million iPods. One of the big reasons, app store over a year old, 75000 apps in the App Store. Users have downloaded over 1.8 billion apps. And that does not include updates! If it included updates, the number would be several times more than that.
10:05 PT - JS: Now today we have something new for iPhone and iPod touch users, iPhone 3.1, with a bunch of new features and bug fixes. Now we've applied Genius technology for apps in the app store.
10:07 PT - DF: Automatically makes recommendations for apps from the App Store based on apps you own.
10:07 PT - JS: Adding ringtones from major labels, adding ringtones into iPhone iTunes app. Show up right on your iPhone, in the settings, and it's really easy.
10:07 PT - JS: iPhone 3.1 is available today, free download from iTunes for 3.0 users.
10:08 PT - JS: Now let's move on to music. iTunes now the #1 music retailer in the world. Sold 8.5B songs. Recently more than 100 million accounts on iTunes, all with credit cards. That makes iTunes one of the largest stores on the web. So today we're introducing something really great, and that's iTunes 9. The next major release of iTunes.
10:09 PT - JS: New in iTunes 9: Genius Mixes. Applying Genius to another area. People have submitted over 27M libraries, over 54 billion songs submitted and analyzed. Genius database has gotten smarter and smarter. And they've enabled all of us to make these Genius playlists. We pick a song, and automatically get a playlist of other songs in our library. We're applying that same technology and database to something new called Genius Mixes. Imagine a "genius" DJ that plays endless mixes of songs from your iTunes library that go great together.
10:10 PT - JS: Almost like radio stations. iTunes will make up to 12 of them, and you click on one and start playing it, and they'll go on and on and on, playing songs that go well together. It's like a great DJ or a great radio station.
10:11 PT - JS: Next: Improved syncing. New Music tab that lets you choose playlists, artists, or genres and sync them automatically. Not just by playlist. Likewise, in Photos you can sync albums, but also events and faces from iPhoto.
10:11 PT - DF: Nice. People have been using Smart Playlists and Smart Albums for this for years.
10:12 PT - JS: "Same with movies. I want the latest movies I've bought or rented, but I always want Ratatouille." And likewise, with applications on your iPhone. New tab that lets you arrange your apps, and shows a preview of your iPhone/iPod touch home screen so you can control how the apps sync and where they go.
10:12 PT - DF: Lots of applause for better application management. I'm ready to stand and cheer.
10:13 PT - JS: Improved "Home Sharing" feature in iTunes 9. You can currenly stream from other libraries, but "we can go much further than that." We are going to let you copy songs, movies, TV shows among up to 5 authorized computers in your house. When you turn it on, you're going to still see all the other computers within your house, you can stream the contents, or you can select it and drag it right into your library, and you now have a copy. We make it even easier with a control that lets you display only stuff that's not in your library.
10:14 PT - DF: Jobs also says you can set it up to *automatically* copy stuff that's on the other computer but not on yours. Automatic syncing, finally? That would be great.
10:14 PT - JS: Redesigned iTunes store, new artist pages, better navigation, new movie pages, new TV pages. "Much cleaner layout that I think you'll enjoy." And finally, "iTunes LP," because "some of us here are old enough that we actually bought LPs." And it was great. Music, photography, liner notes, essays. Who can forget some of these classic albums? And unfortunately, most of that left us when we went to CDs, and even moreso when we went to digital music. And that shouldn't be the case. So that's what we're doing with iTunes LP.
10:15 PT - JS: Example: American Beauty by Grateful Dead. Lyrics, liner notes, videos, album chronology, all displaying within iTunes. Bob Dylan, The Doors, Norah Jones, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, all showing as examples. And the artists and labels can have the tools to build this. We think it's going to be really outstanding.
10:16 PT - JS: These are just a few of the features of iTunes 9, and I'd like to invite Jeff Robbin up to give us a demo. (Jeff Robbin, by the way, is the guy who wrote the original iTunes.)
10:17 PT - JS: Applications view in iTunes gives you a list of all your home screens. If you want to rearrange your apps, just click and drag it where you want it to go. You can even select more than one at a time and drag them and put them where you want. iTunes lays it out automatically. A list on the left shows you all the apps in your library. If you double-click on an app, it reveals it on one of your home screens. If you uncheck the box next to it, the app disappears from the home screen. There's also a search box so you can sort through a large number of apps.
10:18 PT - DF: In the app list, you can even sort apps by name, category, or date.
10:18 PT - JS: You can drag to reorder your screens, as well. And when you click Apply, all the changes are made.
10:19 PT - JS: Home Sharing requires an iTunes account, presumably to limit you to 5 authorized computers. Click on a song to play it, like now, but if you select tracks and drag them to your library, they'll copy right over. There's a setting to automatically sync new purchases - Music, Movies, TV Shows, Audiobooks, or Apps - to your computer from the other server.
10:21 PT - DF: ShareTool, the third-party app that lets you access remote services over Bonjour as if they're on your local network, just beca much, much more popular.
10:21 PT - JS: New store has large preview area, with snazzy scrolling thumbnails. Preview buttons for each track in the chart, so you can preview and buy tracks without leaving the chart.
10:21 PT - JS: New "i" button on cover art, that brings up a floating quick preview window of the entire album, and you can buy, preview, all from that floater. You can also gift an album, add it to a wishlist (new feature), and share a link directly to Facebook or Twitter.
10:23 PT - JS: iTunes LP demo. Click on The Doors, and it fades in, with a big almost DVD style (or old CD-ROM style) menu, with sound, play tracks, scroll through lyrics. There are also photo galleries, videos
10:23 PT - DF: Lyric displays look good, but do they sync to iTunes lyrics field? That would be a nice touch.
10:26 PT - JS: New "iTunes Extras" for movies. Extra features, graphical chapter picker. It looks to me like the equivalent of DVD extras, except part of the iTunes experience.
10:27 PT - DF: So we finally get "special features" for DVD...but no word on if you have to pay extra for them.
10:27 PT - JS: I think, Dan, I can predict that you will have to pay more!
10:27 PT - JS: Jobs back on stage: iTunes 9 available today, a free download on Apple.com.
10:28 PT - JS: Now let's move on to the iPod. I'm going to ask Phil Schiller to come up and tell us what's going on in the world of iPods.
10:28 PT - JS: Schiller on stage. "If you haven't heard, the iPod has been a big hit." Hmm. Sold almost 225 million iPods to date and growing. One of the most successful products in history. Latest market share data: 73.8% market share in the U.S. Sandisk 7.2, Microsoft "pulling in the rear" at 1.1%, then 17.9% "other." Of all the iPods Apple sells today, just over 50 percent are customers who are new to the iPod. (Who are those people?)
10:29 PT - JS: Fastest growing of iPod line, iPod touch. To date we have now sold over 20 million iPod touch units. In addition to 30 million iPhones Steve talked about. (Wow - 40 percent of all iPhone OS devices sold are iPod touches.)
10:30 PT - DF: OK, by my math, that's >50 million iPhone OS devices. 40% of which hate AT&T. Kidding.
10:31 PT - JS:"Why so quick, so many? We have an idea. First, it's a great iPod. Great experience, albums, Genius playlists, and now Genius Mixes as well. Don't even have to select a song. Second, it's a great pocket computer. Wi-Fi, Safari, e-mail, contacts. And, of course, apps." (Photo of a Dell netbook not fitting in someone's back pocket. Take that, netbooks!)
10:33 PT - DF: Hey, it's Twitterrific on screen. But seriously, this is a lot of time devoted to touting how great of a "computer" the iPod touch is. Could he be setting us up for a new model? Nah.
10:34 PT - JS: Schiller: iPod touch is also a great game machine. No multi-touch interface on other devices, games are expensive, there's no app store, and there's no iPod built in. Plus it's easier to buy stuff because of the App Store on the device. Chart of game and entertainment titles available on PSP, Nintendo DS, and iPhone OS. PSP: 607. Nintendo DS: 3680. iPhone: 21,178.
10:36 PT - JS: Schiller shows a video of games on the iPod touch. As last year, Apple is making a strong case for the iPod touch as a game system, because it knows this is a great way to drive holiday sales of iPod touches.
10:38 PT - DF: Demo of Assassin's Creed II. This must be a Rated-M event, as the demo is averaging ~10 brutal on-screen kills/minute.
10:40 PT - JS: Parade of game developers. First Assassin's Creed, now Tapulous. Game that mixes music and racing.
10:40 PT - JS: Parade of game developers. First Assassin's Creed, now Tapulous. Game that mixes music and racing. Riddim Ribbon. You race down a road and moves a ball down a green line, to the beat. Take different paths for different remixes, and if you do badly you lose a part of the music and get dropped back to a bass beat.
10:43 PT - JS: Next up: Mark Hickey from Gameloft. This is another first-person shooter, Nova. It's got media integration, so you can listen to your iPod while you're fragging aliens. It's very Halo-like, this game.
10:46 PT - JS: Last up in the parade of developers, Travis Boatman from Electronic Arts.
10:46 PT - JS: Last up in the parade of developers, Travis Boatman from Electronic Arts. It's Madden NFL 10! Oh, I'm so buying this. Demoing 49ers and Steelers. Custom kicking interface. Take your finger, sweep up and down to kick. You can tap directly on a player to select him.
10:48 PT - DF: The first Madden title for non-gamers? This looks great.
10:49 PT - JS: Command and Conquer and NBA Live also coming to iPhone/iPod touch. Madden, available now in the App Store.
10:51 PT - JS: Extolling the virtues of the $249, no-subscription fee iPod touch. Schiller recalls that when they lowered the iPod mini from $249 to $199, sales shot up because it's a "magic price." So now, the iPod touch is going to cost $199 for an 8GB model. New pricing: $399 for 64GB, $299 for 32 GB, $199 for 8GB.
10:52 PT - JS: The 64GB and 32GB models are now 50 percent faster, support for Open GL | ES version 2.0.
10:53 PT - JS: New iPod touch ad, and it's more of what we've seen, hands holding a series of iPod touches, playing games.
10:54 PT - JS: Next: iPod classic. (It's alive?) Today we've got one thin version is 120GB for $249. Today, we're upping it to 160GB, same thin size, same price, $249. "40,000 songs in your pocket." (It's like Rasputin, folks, it's still alive. You can't kill it.)
10:55 PT - DF: In other words, flash memory isn't yet cheap enough to make a big enough touch to drop the classic altogether.
10:54 PT - JS: iPod shuffle, next. Smallest music player in the world. Apple says they're working with headphone makers to include the integrated shuffle control, apparently responding to criticism about requiring the on-cord controls to use it. Also, adapters that let you use any set of headphones are coming or already here.
10:56 PT - JS: New colors for the shuffle: Black, silver, pink, green, and blue. And now it's $59 for 2GB. 4GB is still $79. Colors available in either model, available today. Also, new iPod shuffle special edition, $99, 4GB, made of polished stainless steel.
10:58 PT - DF: So much for all the rumors of iPods with cameras? But wait...
10:57 PT - JS: And that's it for Phil. Steve Jobs is back on stage. New iTunes line, new iPods for the holidays. But we do have one more thing, and that is a video camera. We've seen video explode in the last few years, no more than on YouTube, which is serving up a billion streams a day. And where are they coming from? From folks like us, who are using these portable solid-state video cameras to take personal videos. (Shows a picture of the Flip, 4GB for $149.) And this market's really exploding, and we want to get it on this.
10:59 PT - JS: We're going to start off with an 8GB unit, and we're going to lower the price from $149 to free. This is the new Apple, isn't it? (laughter) How are we going to do that. We're going to build a video camera into the new iPod nano. On the back of each unit is a video camera and a microphone, and there's a speaker inside as well. Built into every iPod nano is now an awesome video camera. And yet we've still retained its incredibly small size.
11:00 PT - JS: So how good is it? Turns out it's great, Jobs says. You can watch the video on the nano, or sync it back to your computer, right into iPhoto on the Mac. And with one click, you can send it to YouTube.
11:01 PT - JS: Adding voiceover to the nano, adding Genius Mixes. FM Radio tuner built in as well. And built-in voice recorder app using the built-in microphone, and a built-in pedometer. You can even sync your steps to Nike plus for long-term goals.
11:03 PT - JS: It's a larger 2.2-inch display, polished anodized aluminum enclosure. The same shape and design. And it comes in "awesome colors this year. We finally figured out how to do colors that are unimaginably beautiful." Two models: 8GB for $149, and 16GB for $179. All available today.
11:04 PT - JS: Now running an ad for the iPod nano. People in bright colored clothes matching the iPods, taking videos while dancing to music.
11:05 PT - JS: So, iPod plus iTunes. An incredible release, iTunes 9, available today. And a great lineup, a very strong lineup for the holiday season, again, available today. That's what we wanted to show you, we're very pleased that you came.
11:06 PT - JS: "We've got great teams of people who make these products. And like you, we love music. That's probably the primary reason we do this. And there's no better way to remind us all, than by having a live performance. And we are really lucky today in that Norah Jones is going to join us."
11:07 PT - JS: "This is the earliest I think I've ever played," she says. Hey, it's midnight somewhere. She plays "Come Away With Me."
11:11 PT - JS: Second song, "Young Blood," from her forthcoming album.
11:15 PT - JS: Jobs back on stage to applaud, kisses Norah on the cheek, she and her band depart. "Thank you for coming, and we'll see you soon." And that's it from here, folks. Thanks for sticking with us.