John Paczkowski

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Live Event: Apple Updates the iPod

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Note: John Paczkowski live-blogged the following on his iPhone from Moscone Center West in San Francisco:

9:55 a.m.: Break out the Cupertino Kool-Aid: the show’s about to start.

Uh-oh. We’re being told turn off all electronic devices. Guess that means the laptop’s out. We’ll have to do this one on the iPhone. Not as bad an option as you’d think, since the device seems to autocorrect for all Apple-related misspellings.

10 a.m.: Well, this is a break from tradition: Apple CEO Steve Jobs saunters onstage decked out in full Sgt. Pepper regalia. Kidding, he’s wearing the jeans and black mock turtle ensemble for which he presumably holds the patent.

Jobs begins: “Today were going to talk about music. Six hundred million copies of iTunes. Billions of songs sold. Top store in 21 countries. No. 3 music retailer in U.S.” He continues: iTunes has “550 TV shows [with] 95 million TV shows sold to date.”
Of all music releases in 2006, he notes, 32% was digital only.

10:05: New on iTunes: Ring tones: Custom ring-tones maker built into iTunes. Typical ring-tone price is $2.49. Apple will charge 99 cents, plus cost of song. How it works: New column in iTunes. Bell logo indicates ring tone’s availability. Click and up pops a slick little editing tool. Jobs demonstrates editing process. Chooses Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” “I’ll assign this to calls from my wife,” he says. Wonder if he’s made a rim-shot ring-tone yet.

10:08 a.m.: iMovie-like audio editing tool. Nice. Jobs playing “Gonna Make You Sweat.” Phil Schiller dancing in cage suspended from auditorium ceiling. Kidding. It’s Tim Cook. … Now, he’s playing “Give Peace a Chance.” “That’s for when NBC calls.” Ooh, snap. There will be 500,000 participating songs. Apple will turn ring tones tool on next week.

10:10 a.m.: Moving on to iPod: iPod sales “rather strong,” Jobs says. Apple replacing or refreshing every iPod model for holiday 2007, he adds. There’s more: Shuffle gets a basic refresh. New colors, 1 gigabyte. Same price.

10:13 a.m.: Nano most popular music player in history, Jobs reports. Customers want video on Nano. Nano gets video, brighter screen, cover flow, games. Then Jobs whips out chubby Nano. Holy crap. It’s incredibly thin. Five colors. Two-inch screen. Exact same screen as iPod video.

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10:17 a.m.: New interface on this Nano. More intuitive. Quality looks great. Three games bundled with Nano. Apple has also partnered with Electronic Arts to bring games for sale on iTunes.

10:19 a.m.: EA game looks impressive.

10:20 a.m: Jobs demoing video: “I love Jon Stewart. Best place to get your news.” He calls up “Daily Show” episode where Stewart convinces John Hodgman to say “I’m a PC” on camera.

10:22 a.m.: There have been 25 million video podcasts on iTunes, Jobs says. Now, he’s demoing photo slide show on Nano. Again, pretty slick: 24 hours audio playback, five hours of video.

10:24 a.m.: Prices: 4 gigabytes, $149; 8 gigabytes, $199. Nano will start shipping today. In stores this weekend. “A little video for everyone,” Jobs declares.

10:25 a.m.: “We took redesigning this device very seriously,” Jobs says, “and we think we nailed it.”

10:27 a.m.: Moving on to iPod. “It’s time to give the iPod a name,” Jobs says, declaring it the “iPod Classic.” It has a full metal design. Much thinner. Eighty gigabytes of storage. What’s more, Jobs notes, iPod Classic will feature “all the user-interface tweaks you’ll find on Nano.”

10:28 a.m.: Whoa. Second model features 160 gigabytes–that’s storage for 40,000 songs in your pocket, Jobs says.

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10:30 a.m.: The iPod Classic will be available this weekend as well, Jobs announces.

Then: “Not done yet.” He continues: “iPhone is best iPod ever.” Apple is bringing iPhone touch tech to new iPod, he says. It’s called iPod Touch. Same 8mm thin size. Same screen as iPhone. “We think it’s the eighth wonder of the world,” Jobs notes.

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10:33 a.m.: Jobs keeps on listing: Multi-touch widescreen display. Photo support.

10:35 a.m.: “A revelation in how to enjoy music for the people who haven’t yet experienced the iPhone,” Jobs says of this new iPod.

10:37 a.m.: More features: Antenna in the back of device. Wi-Fi support. “We’ve succeeded in adding Wi-Fi where others have failed,” Jobs notes.

10:40 a.m.: Apple adding Safari browser to iPod Touch so users can use it to log in to those annoying Wi-Fi portal pages, Jobs continues. Full Google and Yahoo search capabilities. Plus: iPod Touch also features YouTube. Streamed over Wi-Fi.

On to the iPod Touch demo: Slide to unlock. User interface looks just like iPhone. Full onscreen controls cover flow in landscape mode. Jobs unhides Safari, YouTube icons on iPod screen. Still lots of empty screen space.

10:43 a.m.: Jobs makes 86th Bob Dylan reference of morning, browses Dylan’s Web site. Never realized this before, but Dylan looks quite a bit like Howard Stern on the cover of “Blood On The Tracks.” Now he’s surfing over to Facebook for iPhone. Status Update: “Steve is … about to announce an iPhone price cut.”

10:44 a.m.: Now he’s demoing YouTube. Oh, look. Haha funny hijinks. God, I love that Star Wars kid …

10:45 a.m.: “We’ve put Wi-Fi in and made it usable,” Jobs says. “It’s a worldwide product. Shipping to a number of countries beyond the states.”

10:47 a.m.: Screen is missing at least 10 buttons. Two models: 8 gigabytes, $299; 16 gigabytes, $399. Both models available later this month.

10:48 a.m.: Showing rough cut of new ad for iPod Touch. Then: “One more thing.”

10:50 a.m.: What could that empty spot in the iPod Touch dock be for? Answer: iTunes Wi-Fi music store. Four buttons, top 10s, top albums. According to Jobs, this means you can preview songs on iPod Touch, buy them, download to device and then sync to Mac. Search entire catalog.

10:51 a.m.: Hey … wait a minute … doesn’t Microsoft sell a Wi-Fi enabled music player? What’s it called again … the Microsoft zwned?

10:52 a.m.: iTunes Wi-Fi music store demo: Four buttons: Featured, Top 10, Search and Downloads. Jobs buys John Lennon’s “Imagine” to demonstrate. Fast download: Album art and everything.

10:56 a.m.: Wi-Fi music store will be available in 21 countries, Jobs notes, adding that it will be added to the iPhone via software update later this month.

10:57 a.m.: What? Partnership with Starbucks? (Someone needs to teach Jobs about good coffee.) You’ve got to be friggin’ kidding: Starbucks button will pop up on iTunes whenever you’re near a Starbucks, enabling you to listen to and buy whatever song the cafe is playing. Repeat: Starbucks button in iTunes. iTunes GUI design team silently sobbing in back of room.

11 a.m.: Howard Schultz, founder and chairman of Starbucks, is welcomed onstage. Starbucks is ubiquitous. Also fire hot: seven new stores every day “and we’re still in the embryonic stage.” Embyronic stage? How is that possible? Perhaps they’re planning to stack Starbucks retail stores 3 high in major metropolitan areas.

11:01 a.m.: Demo: Downloads are nice and fast. Occur in seconds, really.

11:03 a.m.: Schultz now talking about Starbucks as an entertainment brand: “With Apple, we will transform the marketplace.” (Wonder if Starbucks will burn CDs the same way it burns its coffee beans?)

11:04 a.m.: New Starbucks slogan: “Drip. Mix. Burn (our coffee).” Kidding. Actually tomorrow’s Digital Daily headline.

11:05 a.m.: More on the partnership: Free access to iTunes Wi-Fi while at Starbucks. Walk into a Starbucks, iPod will immediately recognize what store you’re in and what songs it’s playing.

11:07 a.m.: Very aggressive rollout beginning Oct. 2: New York City and Seattle in October. San Francisco in November. Los Angeles in February. Chicago in March. All Wi-Fi stores completed by 2009.

11:09 a.m.: Jobs: “Lots of people will be happy with this new combination: iPods and coffee.” Note to self: anonymously send Steve a pound of Kenya AA from Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

11:10 a.m.: Now let’s review … New iPod lineup: Shuffle, Nano, iPod Classic, iPod Touch,
iPhone. They range in price from $79 to $599.

Uh-oh. New iPhone? No, but Jobs says that iPhone owners are more satisfied with product than any other device Apple has made.

11:13 a.m.: Jobs announces that the 8 gigabyte iPhone drops in price to $399. (No word on whether Apple will offer rebates to nudniks like me who paid $599 after waiting in line for 4 hours.) “We want to put a lot of iPhones in stockings this Christmas,” he adds.

11:15 a.m.: Guess Paul McCartney must have been too busy to perform “Hey Jude.” Jobs welcomes KT Tunstall to the stage. Jobs walks off to a darkened corner, rocking out with his restrained CEO head-bob. Tunstall ends the event by noting: “Steve Jobs is actually making it more fun to pay for music than steal it.” Sounds like an ad lib, but then again these Apple events are very tightly scripted.


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