Ina Fried

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iPhone 5 Brings Size and Speed: The Unveiling as It Happened

It’s that time again. The kids are heading back to school. The leaves are beginning to change colors. And Apple is ready to unveil the next iPhone.

While not all is known about this next iPhone, a few details seem all but assured, including a larger screen, new dock connector and support for faster LTE cellular networks. Apple has also shown off iOS 6 — the new software that will power the new phone. Among its features are improvements to Siri, Apple-created mapping software and integration with Facebook.

Expectations are running high, with analysts predicting that whatever Apple introduces will generate record sales and perhaps even give a meaningful boost to the overall U.S. economic output.

Earlier:
9:31 am: Still waiting outside to be let in. But you haven’t missed anything. And we promise, if you keep it here, you won’t.

9:52 am: Okay. In at last. We’ve got a seat and power, so we’re all set.

10:00 am: Tim Cook takes the stage promptly at 10. He is an operations guy. “Thank you for coming this morning. We’ve got some really cool stuff to show you.”

“It’s an amazing time at Apple.”

10:01 am: Sticking to familiar Apple keynote script, starting with updates.

First up, Apple retail, with a shot of Barcelona Apple Store. Man, I bet that was a great day for the city’s famed pickpockets.

Cue video …

10:02 am: Apple now has 380 stores in 12 countries. It will open its first Swedish store on Friday, making it 13.

10:04 am: On to the Mac. “We’ve had a very busy summer for the Mac.”

Mountain Lion launched in July. Seven million copies downloaded so far.

10:06 am: Apple is No. 1 in U.S. market share for notebooks for last three months, Cook said.

Mac growth has outpaced the PC for six years, Cook said.

10:06 am: On to iPad.

Apple sold 17 million of ’em between April and June.

“We sold more iPads than any PC manufacturer sold of their entire PC line. Yes, we are in a post-PC world.”

As of June, Apple has sold 84 million iPads. “Our competitors have taken note of this,” Cook said, noting that hundreds of tablets have been launched since the iPad. A year ago, Apple had a 62 percent share of worldwide tablet market (no source given for this data).

This year — April through June — Apple had a 68 percent share.

It’s even bigger when it comes to usage, where iPad accounts for 91 percent of tablet Web traffic.

“I don’t know what these other tablets are doing,” Cook said. “They must be in warehouses or on store shelves or in someone’s bottom drawer.”

10:11 am: Cook talking about the 250,000 iPad apps.

Four hundred million iOS devices sold through June 2012. “This is amazing. No one could have predicted this,” Cook said. (Android claims 500 million activations, though.)

“Today, we are taking it to the next level, making a huge leap.”

Brings on Phil Schiller to talk iPhone.

10:12 am: Schiller: It’s really neat to stand here and look at all the Apple logos glowing.

10:13 am: “Today we are going to introduce iPhone 5.”

10:13 am: The iPhone comes up on a pedestal.

“It is an absolute jewel,” Schiller said. “It is the most beautiful product we have ever made, bar none.”

Even with a bigger screen, it is tiny when seen from the audience. Thankfully, there is a video.

10:14 am: Schiller: It is made entirely of glass and aluminum.

10:15 am: It’s thinner and lighter than its predecessor. New iPhone is 7.6mm thin, 18 percent thinner than iPhone 4S.

It weighs 112 grams, 20 percent lighter than iPhone 4S.

10:16 am: iPhone 5 has a four-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Why this design? To fit the thumb well, Schiller said.

There’s a fifth row of icons on the home screen. Built-in apps take advantage of bigger display, such as Safari, calendar and email.

Apple is also updating iWork and iLife apps to take advantage of the screen: Keynote, Pages, iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, etc.

Existing apps run at the same size as previous iPhone. Doesn’t stretch or scale, gets centered and letterboxed.

“It works exactly as the developer intended it to,” Schiller said.

Of course, developers can update apps to take advantage of bigger screen.

10:19 am: Schiller is showing two apps that have been tweaked for the new display: CNN and OpenTable.

“Everything you do looks gorgeous on this display,” Schiller said.

Display also has 44 percent more color saturation, Schiller said. Touch sensor is integrated into the display — an emerging trend in phones.

10:21 am: Other key feature: Faster wireless. iPhone 5 features support for all kinds of 3G radios, as well as support for LTE, along with two faster flavors of HSPA+.

LTE Support:

In the U.S., Sprint, AT&T and Verizon.

In Canada, a bunch of carriers, as well as top carriers in Korea, Australia, Singapore and Deutsche Telekom.

10:23 am: Ultrafast wireless doesn’t just stop with cellular, Schiller said, noting iPhone will support more flavors of Wi-Fi.

10:24 am: iPhone 5 also packs a new A6 processor with CPU and graphics that are twice as fast.

10:25 am: Electronic Arts Studios Executive Producer Rob Murray is onstage to show what the game company can do with the faster chip.

EA is showing Real Racing 3, with a car running on a photorealistic version of Raceway Laguna Seca.

“The new iPhone lets us take this to a whole new level,” Murray said. The detail is pretty incredible. There’s even a working rearview mirror showing cars behind the racer.

The game features time-shifted multiplayer, so one player can race one day and another the next day and yet compete head-to-head. … “This is something we have never seen done before,” Murray said.

Real Racing 3 is coming to the App Store later this year.

10:28 am: Schiller back, with a battery icon behind him.

This is a key question mark. The iPhone 5 will exceed battery life of iPhone 4S, with eight hours of 3G talk time, 3G browsing and LTE browsing.

10:29 am: On to the camera.

Specs: Eight megapixels, backside illumination, f/2.4 aperture, five-element lens, Hybrid IR filter.

New features include a dynamic low-light mode, better-aligned lenses and a sapphire crystal lens cover. Apparently, sapphires aren’t just pretty, they are hard, so that should make it sturdy.

A6 chip will help with noise reduction, faster capture and better low-light performance.

10:31 am: Schiller showing a few untouched photos from the camera. “The ocean just looks bluer … Kids look happier.”

No word on whether it cures cancer …

New Panorama feature allows you to sweep. Schiller shows a 28-megapixel image.

(We’ve seen a sweep panorama feature on other cameras, but typically not with this resolution — many apps use the video camera rather than the still-image engine.)

10:34 am: On the video side, there is improved video stabilization, face detection and — the ability to take photos while recording. (That’s a popular feature on Android phones, such as the HTC One X.)

10:35 am: On to audio.

It adds a third microphone, with one at back, front and bottom. That helps for voice recognition as well as noise canceling. Speaker is better even while crammed into a 20-percent-smaller space.

There’s also wide-band audio to make voice calls sound more natural. Twenty carriers will support this at launch, including Orange and Deutsche Telekom. (Not sure if both phones need the tech.)

10:37 am: Ah yes, the new dock connector, replacing the one that has been in there since 2003.

A lot of things have gone wireless.

“A lot has changed, and it is time for the connector to evolve.”

New connector — Lightning.

“Now we have Thunderbolt and Lightning.”

10:38 am: Lightning is 80 percent smaller, all-digital, reversible.

Partners like Bose, JBL and others are working to support the new connector. There will be an adapter that lets you plug an old cord into iPhone 5.

10:39 am: And, of course, there is support for iOS 6.

10:41 am: Scott Forstall is demoing the new Apple-created Maps. iOS 6 drops Google Maps for Apple, but builds in voice-guided turn-by-turn directions (as Android and Windows Phone have offered previously).

10:42 am: Apple also has new satellite imagery. “It’s just gorgeous,” Forstall said, flying over London’s Big Ben.

10:43 am: Forstall showing Safari, including a full-screen mode and the ability to share tabs from a Mac using iCloud.

10:44 am: On the email front, Apple has updated the Mail app with a “VIP” feature that lets you designate contacts that are most important, and see their messages.

10:46 am: Forstall shows Passbook, including an ability to show a boarding pass even from behind the lock screen.

Next up is shared photo streams. (Lots of folks in the industry have been taking a crack at this, from Samsung with the Galaxy S III to Google with the updated Google+ app.)

10:47 am: On to Siri.

Siri now knows all about sports. She knows that the 49ers beat the Packers last Sunday, 30-22. She can pull up standings, etc.

For Kara Swisher and others who don’t care about sports, Siri can also launch apps, pull up movie info and ratings, and help find and book a restaurant.

Much of the iOS 6 stuff was demoed at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this summer.

10:50 am: Other iOS 6 features: Facebook has been integrated into many apps and, carrier permitting, the ability to make FaceTime video calls over cellular.

10:51 am: Schiller back. iPhone will come in white and black. “They are both stunning,” Schiller said, but I don’t recall him ever disliking anything Apple has done.

10:52 am: Schiller in full-on sales mode, recapping the phone’s new features.

And, cue video.

In the video, Jony Ive is talking about the design, noting that the phone is so important, as it is the product you have with you all the time.

“We take changing it really seriously,” Ive said.

Video still going. iOS chief Scott Forstall, and hardware guy Bob Mansfield also like the new iPhone.

10:58 am: Long video, giving me a chance to check the stock market. Apple shares are at $663.08, up about $2.50, or less than half of a percent.

10:59 am: Video done, Schiller back. Methinks it’s pricing and availability time.

10:59 am: Yep.

Same prices as iPhone 4S. $199/16 gigabytes, $299/32GB, $399/64GB.

iPhone 4S $99 for 16GB, iPhone 4 free. All with two-year contracts. Preorders start Friday, Sept. 14, with shipment a week later, on Sept. 21, in several countries. One hundred countries by the end of the year.

11:01 am: iOS 6 will be a free update Sept. 19.

11:01 am: Tim Cook is back.

Cook calls iOS 6 and iPhone 5 “the biggest things to happen to iPhone since iPhone.”

11:02 am: Cook said he also wants to talk about something near and dear to its heart — music.

“This is the reason we created iPod and iTunes.”

11:02 am: Eddy Cue on to talk about changes to iTunes and iPod.

11:03 am: iTunes Store now available in 63 countries.

There are 435 million iTunes accounts with 1-Click shopping enabled.

A lot of commerce happening from within iOS itself, Cue said, noting that the company has revamped its iTunes store for the iPad, iPhone and other iOS devices.

Now, previews keep playing while you are browsing the store. Also, direct sharing to iPhone and Twitter.

11:06 am: Now on to iTunes on Mac and PC.

Things have changed with iTunes in the Cloud, Cue said. New version of iTunes is dramatically simpler and has iCloud built-in, Cue said.

Demo time again …

(Here’s a bit more on the new Lightning iPhone connector from Lauren Goode.)

As for iTunes, it looks like creating playlists is easier, as well as browsing the music library.

There is an “up next” feature to rearrange or change what is coming up on the go. Lets you alter a playlist without permanently changing it.

There’s a new mini-player too.

(Is it me or does this whole topic feel a bit five years ago?)

11:12 am: On to movies from within iTunes.

Cue Hulk.

The iTunes store also gets a makeover.

11:14 am: Okay. Demo over. Eddy Cue recapping, but not sure these features needed recapping.

New iTunes due late October.

11:14 am: On to iPod. Greg Joswiak comes on.

Some 350 millions iPods have been sold so far, Joswiak said. “We love music and we have the most-loved family of music players there is.”

But, changes coming. First up: iPod nano.

11:15 am: Seventh-generation nano is designed to reinvent the device, with a large display.

The nano seems to be the product in Apple’s lineup that changes shapes most.

It’s back to being long and tall, has new connector. 5.4mm thin, 38 percent thinner than the nano it replaces.

It has a 2.5-inch touchscreen and comes in seven colors with matching wallpapers.

It has an integrated FM radio tuner with live-pause feature.

Also, it can play video.

“We’re bringing video back to the iPod nano,” Joswiak said.

Fitness and pedometer are built-in, he said.

It will also have integrated Bluetooth to stream to headphones or speakers. (The Jambox gets a name check and an onstage pic.)

11:20 am: On to the iPod touch.

It’s the most popular music player, Joswiak said, but also the most popular portable game-playing device.

The fifth-generation iPod touch sports a four-inch Retina display, has five rows of icons, like the iPhone 5, and is also thin and light — 6.1-millimeters thin and weighs 88 grams.

11:22 am: The iPod touch also gets the A5 processor. (It had been using the older A4 chip.)

That means up to seven times faster graphics, Joswiak said, bringing up a game maker to put that into some real-world terms.

11:23 am: The demo is for Clumsy Ninja, a character that uses real-time simulation rather than playback of recorded moves.

Well, whatever. He’s darn cute.

You can tickle him, and he likes it for a bit. But then he runs away.

Apparently the goal is to train the little guy to be less clumsy. (Why can’t we just let him be?)

“He’s using technology that not long ago would have required a supercomputer,” the demo guy says. Clumsy Ninja due out this holiday season.

11:26 am: Joswiak back. iPod touch features up to eight hours of video playback, up from prior model.

It also has a much better five-megapixel camera, with f/3.4 aperture, LED flash and autofocus.

It also can do panoramas, just like the iPhone 5. The new iPod touch will also support iPhoto.

On the video side, the iPod touch now supports 1080p video and a better front-facing camera, with support for 720p video.

A button on the bottom of the iPod is a pop-up loop to add a wrist strap, to make it easier to hang on to.

11:30 am: On the wireless side, support for Bluetooth 4.0, low-energy, and improved Wi-Fi.

It also supports AirPlay mirroring to take the gaming experience, for example, to the TV. And, yep, it packs iOS 6, naturally.

The new iPod touch will also support Siri (but you’ll probably need Wi-Fi when you want to actually use it).

11:31 am: And, for the first time, the iPod touch will come in five colors.

11:32 am: The iPod shuffle will get new colors — matching the seven hues of the new iPod nano.

11:33 am: Apple has shipped 600 million of those little white earbud headphones.

Joswiak said that Apple has spent three years designing a new headphone, dubbed EarPods. They look like a cross between the iPod earbud and those noise-isolating in-ear headphones.

The EarPods will ship as a standalone accessory, starting today. They will come included with new iPod touch, the iPhone 5 and the new iPod nano.

11:36 am: Prices.

iPod nano 16GB for $149, seven colors.

The fourth-generation iPod touch stays in lineup.

16GB for $199 and 32GB for $249.

The new iPod touch, shipping in October, sells for $299 for 32GB. Looks like there is also a higher-capacity model, but I missed it.

They will also come in Product (Red) versions, with a portion of the proceeds going to fight AIDS in Africa.

11:39 am: Cook is back, showing an ad for the new iPods.

The ad shows all of the new models bouncing around. I’m sure you will see it soon enough.

11:39 am: Cook back, reviewing the day’s announcements, starting with the new iPods.

The new products are all great, Cook insists. But what separates the products from the competition, Cook says, is the way they all work together.

“Apple has never been stronger,” he said.

11:41 am: Cook pulling a page from the old Steve Jobs playbook, having a musician come out and play at the end of a music event.

It’s the Foo Fighters.

11:49 am: Foo Fighters still playing, but I think we are done with news here.

A few things we didn’t hear any mention of: NFC, (near field communications) for contactless payments. Also, no wireless charging, a la the Lumia 920.

Here’s a Photosynth panorama of the Foo Fighters. (Warning: May require Silverlight.)

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus