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It’s a packed room, with more than 200 people at the Yerba Buena Center here in San Francisco, Calif. Steve Jobs arrives to a standing ovation. Scroll down for the latest updates at the bottom of the live blog:
10:02: Steve is giving an update on Apple (s aapl) retail stores. A second store has opened in Paris near the Opera House [Ed note: Palais Garnier]. It’s a gorgeous store that’s fantastic; the company spent 18 months restoring it. Apple is really excited about the event. A second store opened in Shanghai, China: a landmark in glass engineering, with curved glass entrance. The third big, new store is in London, where the company restored a complete building in the heart of Covent Garden; the old and new work beautifully.
10:03: Apple has 300 retail stores in 10 countries and is soon going to open in Spain to make it 11 countries. On some days, over a million people visit the retails stores. That happens several days a month. Retails stores hold over 80,000 one-on-one sessions.
10:05: iOS is a revolution in touch and apps. Over 120 million iOS devices have shipped since launch, with 230,000 iOS new activations every day. Jobs says “some of our friends are counting updates in their activations,” a possible dig at Google (s goog) Android. 200 apps are downloaded every second, and the iTunes Store has 25,000 iPad apps and 250,000 total apps.
10:07: He’s now introducing iOS 4.1. Lots of bugs have been fixed, including proximity bugs and performance issues using iOS 4 on 3G devices. The update includes new High Dynamic Range photos and HD video upload over Wi-Fi. TV show rentals and Game Center is making a debut today. HDR photos are pretty awesome, and are essentially a way to give photos a HD-type face lift.
10:09: Game Center is an app as well as an API for app developers, designed for multiplayer games. Functionality includes challenge games and finding friends, with notifications for game invitations — pretty exciting. EPIC games is going to introduce a new game. Mike Capps, president of EPIC, introduces the new game — Project Sword — a role-player multiplayer game. The game is pretty stunning and visually awesome. It is powered by Unreal technology, an aptly named company, since the game itself is unreal in terms of execution.
10:12: On a phone! It’s pretty remarkable.
10:15: iOS 4.1 is downloadable next week. Now, for a sneak peek about iOS 4.2: It’s about the iPad, and brings everything to the iPad. Apple is adding wireless printing to iOS 4.2, as well as something cool called AirPlay. The multitasking can show you the Print Center. It’s very powerful, and the next generation of what was AirTunes. Apple is changing the name from AirTunes to AirPlay, and now you can stream audio, video, and photos over Wi-Fi. iOS 4.2 will come out in November, and will be a free update. The company couldn’t be happier with the iOS devices.
10:20: iPods. This is the entrée event. Over 275 million iPods have been sold, but Jobs says Apple has never rested on its laurels. The company has tried to make them even better for users, and “went wild” this year. There are all new designs for the iPod.
10:21: He’s showing off a new iPod shuffle, with the click-wheel returned, as well as voice over and playlists. It’s tiny, but supports Genius mixes and has 15 hours playback. It’s 2GB, costs $49, and comes in five different colors. (Jon Stewart is going to love this one.)
10:23: iPod nano is already on the fifth generation, and Apple is making it smaller and better by eliminating click-based operation. The new iPod touch nano is Multitouch. It’s also super tiny: 46 percent smaller and 42 percent lighter than its predecessor. The new nano has a 24-hour battery and comes in seven colors: the same five as the shuffle, plus Graphite and a Project RED tie-in. The 8 Gb iPod nano retails for $149, and is available today.
10:31: The iPod touch outsells Nintendo and Sony (s sne) portable game players, and has 50 percent of the market. Over 1.5 billion game and entertainment products have been downloaded on the iPod touch, but Apple is going to change the iPod touch as well. It’s even thinner, but more remarkable: the new iPod touch has Retina Display, featuring 4X pixels, 326 ppi, 24-bit color and LED. It has Apple A4 chip, 3-axis Gyro and FaceTime with front camera. The touch will have 40 hours of music playback time. You can edit videos on the phone touch, and also do FaceTime between iPod touch devices and iPhones. It will also have Game Center, and Apple is excited about this product. Three iPod touch models will be available: 8 GB for $229, 32 GB for $299, and 64 GB for $399. All will be available next week.
10:37: iPod is the great duet with iTunes. 11.7 billion songs have been downloaded from iTunes, along with 450 million TV episodes, 100 million movies, and 35 million books on 160 million accounts with credit cards using one-click purchasing in 23 countries. The next version of iTunes is iTunes 10, and it has a new logo.
Jobs says it’s time to ditch the CD in the iTunes logo because its going to surpass CD sales next year. iTunes is more streamlined and focused on discovery; with over 12 million songs, how do you find new stuff? By knowing what friends are listening to, and what concerts are friends are attending. He’s announcing a new thing: PING, a social network for music. It’s like Facebook + Twitter for iTunes, and it’s built right into iTunes. You get a customized top ten chart to see what people you follow are downloading. Follow comes to iTunes.
10:43: You can be as private or public as you want with Ping. It is super smart, has 17,000 concert listings, and is open to over 160 million iTunes stores users immediately. Ping will be available on iPod touch and iPhone as well. It’s available today.
10:49: Jobs says he has “One more thing. Actually it’s one more hobby.” He references introducing Apple TV four years ago, but notes it wasn’t a big hit. People who do use it, love it. In last four years, the company has learned there are three things people want in the way they consume Hollywood movies and TV shows:
- They want professional content; they want everything in HD.
- They want to pay lower prices for content.
- They don’t want a computer for a TV.
People don’t want to manage storage, don’t want to sync with their computers, and want hardware that is silent, cool and small. The new Apple TV is here; it’s small and one that you can hold in hand. It has built-in Ethernet, HDMI and Wi-Fi. You plug in and just go for it. It has a beautiful aluminum finish. There are no purchases, only rental, so you don’t store anything. You can stream music and photos from your computer.
10:56: First-run HD movies will be available the same day as DVDs for $4.99, or rent HD TV shows for 99 cents. Not all networks want to take this step with Apple. So far, only ABC and FOX will offer their content. Others studios will follow, he’s sure. Netflix (s nflx) subscribers can stream to the Apple TV and you can watch YouTube, Flickr (s yhoo) and MobileMe, and stream music from your Mac & PC.
11:02: Steve has demoed the new service/TV and it’s pretty simple and easy to use: Streaming made easy and simple. Not surprisingly, he says this is the best implementation of Netflix, and it actually looks pretty good. Now you can stream content from an iOS device to Apple TV. Apple has content on iTunes in six countries, and will add more later this year. It’s going to be $99 for the device, shaving $200 off the price of the old device, and it will be available in four weeks.
Apple started doing this music stuff because it loves music.The company is a little more successful, but still loves music. Chris Martin of Coldplay is coming out to play.