We’re here at Apple’s Cupertino campus for its latest iPhone unveiling. The keynote event, led by new Apple CEO Tim Cook, is scheduled to begin in a few minutes at 10am Pacific time.
Apple has unfortunately decided not to livestream the event, so dispatches from bloggers in the auditorium will be the main way that the news gets out. We’ll try to type as fast as humanly possible, and the rest of the VentureBeat team will pick up on the news and explain it as thoroughly as possible as well.
Keep an eye on this post for live updates from the event.
10:05 Apple chief executive Tim Cook has taken the stage.
“This is my first prod launch since being named CEO,” Cook says. “I’m sure you didn’t know that. I love Apple. I consider it a privilege of a lifetime to be here.”
This is the location where Apple launched the iPod 10 years ago, Cook says. It’s also where the new Macbook Air launched one year ago.
10:08 Cook talks about Apple’s success opening new stores. Two new stores opened in China in the past week, one in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong. The Shanghai store had 100,000 visitors in its first weekend.
10:10 Customers love Lion. 10 percent of their customers upgraded within two weeks. It tooks Windows 7 20 weeks to hit 10%, Cook says.
10:11 The new MacBook Air is “thin and light and beautiful and wicked fast. Our customers love it and our competitors have been trying to copy it.”
Apple has the number 1 best selling notebook. It’s also got the best desktop, Cook says. Mac sales grew 23% last 4 quarters. PC growth, by comparison, was 4 %. “Every single quarter for 5 years the Mac has outcgrown the PC market.” There are 58 million users of macs now.
In U.S. retail stores, Macs are one of four PCs sold in stores, giving it 23% market share.
10:15 Next is music. The iPod launched just 10 years ago. It’s now the number 1 music player, with 78 percent market share. It’s been above 70 percent for a very long time. The iPod has sold 300 million over time.
It took Sony 30 years to sell 220 million Sony cassette players.
In the last year ending June, we sold 45 million iPods. Almost half of those are going to people who are buying their first iPod.
iTtunes is the number 1 store, with 16 billion songs downloaded.
10:17 The iPhone 4 in a very short period of time has sold over half of the total iPhones sold the total time we have been selling. It has become the No. 1 smartphone in the world. the iPhone’s year-over-year growth has been 125 percent.
93 percent of Fortune 500 companies are testing the iPhone.
No. 1 in customer satisfaction, according to ChangeWave. 70 percent are very satisfied or better. Nokia is 21 percent.
6 years in a row, J.D. Power rated the iPhone the number 1 smartphone. But it has 5 percent share of the worldwide market for mobile phones.
We look at the entire market for handsets because over time all of the market becomes smart phones. It’s an enormous opportunity.
10:19 95% satisfied now with iPad. they are showing up everywhere. iPads in schools help kids learn in amazing new ways.
We believe they help kids learn and educators believe that too.
1,000 schools have a one to one program. all states have an iPad program. 1,000 universities across the U.S. — Stanford etc. — all have iPad programs. Pilots are using them to replace 40 pound flight bags.
92% of Fortune 500 are using iPads.
Despite everybody and their brother trying to compete with the iPad, three out of four tablets sold in the U.S. are iPads.
250 million iOS devices sold to date.
10:22 Scott Forstall, the senior vice president of iOS software, takes the stage.
18 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store overall. Customers are now downloading 1 billion apps per month. Apple has paid devs $3 billion for those apps.
One new app today is Cards. You can create cards and print them out (thank you cards, etc.). Apple prints the cards and sends them off.
10:27 Now we’re going to hear about iOS 5. 100,000 developers are already using it. It comes with 200 new user features (introduced a few months back). Features like a new notification center, so notifications no longer interrupt your game.
iMessages are pushed to all your devices so you can pick up on any device. 3G and Wi-Fi are supported. It’s securely encrypted end to end.
A brand new app is Reminders, for dry cleaning pick up reminders, etc. You can set up a geofence around where you are at work and once you leave it reminds you.
10:29 Twitter integration “We have integrated Twitter deeply into the OS. We have integrated Twitter into many of the built-in apps.
10:30 Newsstand makes it easier to read things on iPad. You can now have subscriptions. Things like the New Yorker, Allure, New York Times.
10:31 Camera: We know how popular the camera is on the iPhone. You can quickly get to the camera. New home button is camera button. You can get directly to it. You don’t have to type a password.
You can put finger down on a location and it will set auto exposure and auto focus to that spot. You can edit your photos on your device as well as remove red eye.
10:35 Forstall summarizes a few other features, such as tabbed browsing in the iPad and Mail improvements. Most of these were announced earlier.
iOS 5 will be available Oct. 12 — next week!
10:36 Eddie Cue, a senior vice president of internet software and services, takes the stage.
Say I take a photo. iCloud saves it to cloud and automatically pushes it to all of our devices. iCloud is free. iTunes is in the cloud.
I can see a list of all the albums and songs I just purchased. With a tap of a button, I can view all at no additioanl cost. I can even watch them on my Apple TV.
10:38 Photostream. Photos look gorgeous on iPhone. You wish they were on all of your devices. I take photos with Photostream and they are available on iCloud. So now the photo I took on my iPhone is right thtere on iCloud. I can see it on my Mac or the apple tv.
10:40 Now I create a new document with pages on my iPad. The document is right there. I can open and start editing where I left off on any device. APIs are available to developers, as free update on iOS. They are availalble on Oct. 12.
iCloud also does a daily backup of iOS devices.
10:41 What if you could find your family and friends? Today we are launching a new app called Find My Friends. You can share location at Disneyland. You can easily see where your family is. I can even see if my son made it to school ok today.
You can share your location for a temporary time, like a few hours a day. Y can share location at the beach, and then location sharing stops at the end of the day. There are simple privacy controls, and parental restrictions so parents can prevent kids from turning off the feature. It’ll be free for iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion users.
10:43 Apple is providing 5 gigabytes for mail documents and backup. If you want more you can pay for an upgrade.
iTunes Match lets you store your songs in the cloud, and you don’t have to upload them — iTunes recognizes what you’ve got and matches it with stored files it already has on its servers. It will cost $25 per year.
10:45 iCloud ships Oct. 12. iTunes Match at end of October in US.
10:48 Phil Schiller takes the stage to talk about the iPod.
“We started the iPod simply because we loved music. We’re still making them.”
Last year they updated the iPod nano. “Customers love it.” New updates this year: multitouch display is now easier to navigate. You can swipe between screens with your finger.
Fitness is one of the most popular uses for the nano. A lot of people like to run. So we now let you track runs and walks. You go out, plug it into the PC and upload data to Nike+ web site.
They noticed some people like to wear Nanos as watches. “We have added some new clock faaces for people who like to wear it as a watch.”
You can have a Mickey Mouse face on the nano.
The iPod nano comes in 7 colors. $149 at 16gb and $129 for 8gb. It’s available today.
10:50 The iPod Touch is now our most popular iPod. It has now become the most popular portable game player as well. It will now run ios 5. iPod touch does all of the same things, like iMessage. It is not a phone. But with it, you can communicate with your friends who are also using iMessage. On Wi-Fi it is free and unlimited.
Game center lets you discover new friends. With iOS 5, it is a tremendous upgrade of iPod touch. It also has iCloud support. “Now wherever you are, this amazingly thin iPod lets you access all of your data, songs etc.:
It comes in both black and a brand-new white version too. It used to be $229 for 8gb. now $199. 32GB is $299. 64GB is $399.
The iPod shuffle is still $49.
10:55 Last year we introduced iPhone 4. It is a breakthrough phone. While competitors tried really hard to copy it, they haven’t succeeded. It is the thinnest. Also, the number 1 smartphone in the world. People have been wondering, how do you follow up?
Now: iPhone 4s.
Inside is a dual-core A5 processor. It’s a brand new chip, and has 7x faster graphics.
10:57 The president of Epic Games, Mike Capps, shows off a game: Infinity Blade 2.
You can use 2 swords now. Character comes to life. Everything feels more grounded and alive.
Eye-melting graphics, dozens of new enemies, hundreds of new weapons.
It’s only going to run like this on an iphone 4s. the game will be available Dec. 1.
10:59 Phil Schiller is back.
The A5 chip has 2x faster CPU. dual-core processor, dual core graphics.
The phone will have 8 hours of 3G talk time, 14 hours of 2G talk time, and can run for 40 hours listening to music.
It intelligently switches between two antennae for both transmit and receive. It works even on a call to make even better call quality. It’s also faster too. 2x faster downloads.
In iPhone 4 you could upload 5.8 megabits up and 7..2 down. Now that doubles to 14.4 mbps down.
11:03 This is an HSDPA phone, Schiller says. (That’s the communications standard that used to be known as 3.5G, and is now called 4G by most manufacturers — even though it’s slower than WiMax or LTE-based 4G networks.) “We will not get into the debate on 4G.
iPhone 4 was GSM or CDMA (two incompatible options for different types of cellular networks). The iPHone 4S is a world phone with both GSM and CDMA capabilities.
11:05 iPhone 4 is already the most popular camera on Flickr, beating out digital cameras for the number of images uploaded.
The new camera has an 8 megapixel sensor. 3264x 2448 pixels. 60% more than iPhone 4 camera sensor.
Now it has backside illumination CMOS sensor (like the iPhone 4). It can gather 73 percent more light per pixel than the iPhone 4 and it’s 33 percent faster.
The camera has a hybrid IR filter, and better color accuracy.
We have a five element lens, with 5 Apple-designed custom lenses, compared to 4 lenses in iPhone 4. It has 30 percent more sharpness, and an f/2.4 aperture, giving it better low light performance as a result.
We use the A5 chip for image signal processing for advanced face detection. “It can tell if there are 10 people in a photo and does amazing.”
11:07 Droid Bionic takes 3.7 seconds to take a picture. iPhone 4s is 1.1 seconds. A second picture is 0.5 seconds on the iPhone 4S, while Droid is 1.6 more seconds.
11:10 Video recording. “It takes stunning HD video.” For the first time now it is 1080p resolution HD video recording.
We use the A5 to do real-time video image stabilization. It removes shakiness. We do temporal noise reduction for low light.
11:11 AirPlay is one of the best-kept secrets of iPhone 4. You stream photos to a TV set or play videos from an iPhone on your tv. You can now do AirPlay mirroring. So you can see a game up on the TV set as you are playing it. You can plug in an HDMI cable too.
And that’s it for the iPhone 4S.
11:12. Now we’re going to hear about iPhone 4S voice control, aka Siri.
“For decades we have dreamed we would talk to technology and it would do things for us,” says Schiller. “But it never comes true.
It is such a letdown. What we really want to do is just talk to our device.”
11:15 Siri is your intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking.
To use it, you just hold down the home button and talk. For instance, you can ask it “What is the weather today?” Forstall gives a demo of how it works.
It’s integrated with the iPhone’s basic apps, so you can ask it “What time is it in Paris?” and it will tell you, or tell it “Wake me tomorrow at 6 a.m.” and it will set an alarm. You can also ask it for Nasdaq prices on a particular stock and it will give you the latest.
11:17 They’ve partnered with Yelp. So you can ask it to find all the Greek restaurants in a particular city.
It can read map directions to you.
11:20 When you get a text message, you can ask Siri to read it to you, just by saying “Read my message.” It reads it back to you. You can reply. But first you can check your calendar with Siri. You can then reply to a lunch invitation, for example. Siri is following along on the conversation, so it “knows” who you’re talking to.
You can then schedule lunch and it will show up on your calendar. You confirm it.
“This blows me away,” Forstall says.
11:22 The reminder app is integrated with Siri. You can say “Remind me to call my wife when I leave work.” You confirm it and it has a geofence around work. when you leave, it prompts you to call your wife.
Forstall: “It knows who your wife is.”
11:24 You can search Wikipedia for Neil Armstrong and it takes you right to Safari, to the article in Wikipedia. We have also partnered with Wolfram Alpha, which has a dictionary built in.
You can say “define mitosis.” It answers. “How many dollars is 45 euros?” Siri answers, “Let me check on that. This might answer your question.” It gives you $59.59.
“How many days until Christmas?” It answers 82 days.
“We built a guide right into the user interface.” It tells you all things you can do. You can voice dial, control music, set up a meeting, send a message, ask for a reminder, get directions, send an email.
11:25 If you ask it “Who are you?” it says, “I am a humble personal assistant.”
11:26 Schiller returns to the stage.
Siri works on Wi-Fi and 3G. It works with English, German and French, and they will add more languages and services over time. It is beta at the start.
It will be available for the iPhone 4S only.
Apple’s showing a promotional video now.
11:34 iPhone pricing.
They’ll still be selling the iPhone 3GS at $49 and the iPhone 4 is now $99 for the 8GB model (with 2-year contracts, of course).
The iPhone 3GS is now free at 8GB, with a 2-year contract.
For the iPhone 4S: $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB models, with 2-year contract.
Preorders start this Friday, Oct. 7 and the phones will start shipping Oct. 14.
It will be available in 7 countries on Oct. 14: The U.S., Canada, France, Australia, U.K., France, Germany, Japan.
They’ll be using KDDI for the first time in Japan.
On Oct. 28 they’ll launch in 22 more countries, and by December they plan to be in 70 countries on 100 carriers.
11:38 Tim Cook comes back onstage to wrap up the event.
“When you look at each of these, they are great and fantastic and industry-leading in and of themselves,” Cook said. “What sets them apart is how they are engineered to work together well. Only Apple can make amazing hardware, software and services and bring them together in an integrated experience. I am so incredibly proud of this company and its employees.”
And that’s it! Sorry, no iPhone 5 today, Apple fans!
This story is developing, refresh for updates.
Photos: Dean Takahashi/VentureBeat. Some photos by Christina Bonnington and Brian X. Chen/Wired.com.