Let’s Talk iPhone Event: The Big Picture | iLounge News

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Let’s Talk iPhone Event: The Big Picture

Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” media event is being held today at the company’s campus Town Hall auditorium. As there are plenty of announcements expected to come from the event, we’re providing this story as a starting point—we’ll be linking to all the major news from the event right here, so check back periodically throughout the afternoon for more updates.

So far:

iPhone 4S to launch October 14, iPod nano to see update

Apple introduces Cards, a new free app that lets you create and send cards directly from your iPhone. It will mail printed cards through the mail after you design them, then provide tracking notifications to your iPhone. Cards will be $3 each when mailed within the U.S. Available October 12.

iOS 5 is coming October 12. As is iCloud.

Apple announces Find My Friends application for iCloud, enabling you to locate your friends and family if they’re using Apple’s devices.

“New” iPod nano announced - new user interface, 16 new clock faces, Nike+ without the need for shoe-based sensors. $129/$149, available today. Seven colors like the previous ones. Updated! Originally claimed to be a “new” iPod nano, this appears to be little more than a price change with a minor software update. Following the event, it was discovered that the software will be released for the 2010 iPod nano as well.

Updated iPod touch: black and white, $199 8GB, $299 32GB, $399 64GB. Available October 12. Nothing mentioned about under-the-hood changes of any sort. Updated! Apart from the color addition, there does not appear to be any change to the iPod touch hardware at all this year.

iPhone 4S officially announced with A5 processor, dual-core graphics chip that’s up to 7x faster than prior iPhone (down from 9x in prior iPad). Yet now gets eight hours of talk time, six hours of 3G browsing, 9 of Wi-Fi browsing. Now can switch between two antennas for improved call quality. Data speeds now doubled for downloading—now up to nearly 14.4Mbps downloading speed. Apple is not calling this 4G, but saying that the performance is 4G-caliber. It’s a dual-band world phone with both GSM + CDMA. Improved camera sports an 8-Megapixel sensor with backside illumination, gathering 73% more light than before, with a hybrid IR filter and 1/3 faster performance. The lens now has 5 elements and is f/2.4—really wide angle with 30% greater sharpness, macro photo feature, plus 1080p video recording.

iPhone 4S also gets AirPlay mirroring. And expanded voice controls thanks to an integrated Siri assistant. “What’s the weather like today?” can be answered by the iPhone 4S with a forecast. “Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto,” and it returns a bunch of results sorted by rating. The interface is a mix of prior Siri and the linen backdrop of OS X and iOS, tying into iOS applications to look up calendar information, messages, and other things stored on the device. It can read to you, and understand what you’re saying. It will initially be available in English, German, and French support, with other languages to follow. 16GB, 32GB, 64GB $199/$299/$399. 3GS and 4 will still be sold, 3GS free on contract, iPhone 4 is $99 for 8GB. Preorder on 7th, available October 14, Verizon AT+T and Sprint. First countries: U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., France, Germany, and Japan, with more to follow on the 28th, then more through end of the year.

A summary of the presentation thus far is available after the break.

Tim Cook opens the event at Apple’s Town Hall, the smallest venue it uses for new product announcements. He promises to discuss the integration of the company’s software and hardware into a powerful but simple experience. A discussion of Apple’s retail successes, notably in China, follows; he then discusses Mac and OS X sales, showing the MacBook Pro and iMac as the #1 notebook and desktop machines in the U.S, with 60 million users around the world.

Next up are the iTunes and iPod—Apple’s “music” business. Ten years ago, the iPod launched, revolutionized music, and made things easy for users. It has been above 70% for years, and is now 78% of the market. Over 300m iPods have been sold, 45m in just the last year. Nearly half are first-time iPod buyers. “iPod is still a large and important market for Apple.” 20 million songs in iTunes, with over 16 billion songs downloaded, still the #1 music store in the world.

Next is the iPhone. iPhone 4 represents half of all iPhones sold since the beginning of iPhone history. Customers are extremely satisfied with it, companies are rolling it out in record numbers, and yet Apple only has 5% of the overall handset market. More to come on iPhone shortly.

Next is iPad. People love it; 95% customer satisfaction, and it’s changing education. Every U.S. state has an iPad pilot program or is deploying one. Currently 92% of Fortune 500 are deploying or piloting. It’s the top selling tablet in the world; 3 of 4 tablets sold in U.S. are iPads. There are now 250m+ iOS devices.

Scott Forstall is on stage to discuss iOS. 500,000 apps are now in the App Store, 140,000 of those for the iPad. 18 billion apps have been downloaded, and $3b has been paid to developers. One billion apps are being downloaded each month.

Apple introduces Cards, a new free app that lets you create and send cards directly from your iPhone. It will mail printed cards through the mail after you design them, then provide tracking notifications to your iPhone. $3 per card mailed within the United States.

iOS 5 has been in testing with over 100,000 developers, including the features people are already familiar with: Notifications, iMessage, Reminders, Twitter integration, Newsstand, updated Camera—complete with Lock Screen access—Game Center, Safari, Mail, and PC-Free Operation. iOS 5 coming October 12.

Eddy Cue takes the stage to discuss iCloud. Free synchronization service for all of your Apple devices, complete with iTunes in the Cloud free downloading and redownloading of content to your devices. Photo Stream handling photo synchronization across multiple devices, and Documents in the Cloud for syncing documents you create. iCloud is coming on October 12, as well.

Apple announces Find My Friends application for iCloud, enabling you to locate your friends and family if they’re using Apple’s devices. You can share location data for a limited time, and stop it from being shared when you want. Simple privacy controls.

iTunes Match now leverages 20 million song iTunes library to let you access all of your matched music from the cloud, without needing to sync it all to your iOS 5 device. $25 per year fee for it, as previously announced. End of October release date for iTunes Match.

Phil Schiller to discuss the iPod. Updates to two of the three devices today. iPod nano is becoming easier to use, now with larger icons on screen that you swipe through rather than seeing four at a time. Fitness features are improved: you can now go on a walk or a run without any sensor or device. It’s still Nike+. Sixteen new watch faces for people who like to wear it as a watch. $129/$149, available today. Seven colors like the previous ones.

iPod touch. It’s the #1 portable game player, and will obviously run iOS 5. Now it comes in black and white. No other announced changes, except 8GB model is $199.

iPhone. iPhone 4S is the followup. Design is the same. Inside it’s all new. Dual-core A5 chip is inside. Promises up to 7x faster gaming.

(Infinity Blade 2 demonstrated, complete with dramatic lighting, detail improvements and Japanese theme. Coming December 1.)

Yet now gets eight hours of talk time, six hours of 3G browsing, 9 of Wi-Fi browsing. Now can switch between two antennas for improved call quality. Data speeds now doubled for downloading—now up to nearly 14.4Mbps downloading speed. Apple is not calling this 4G, but saying that the performance is 4G-caliber. It’s a dual-band world phone with both GSM + CDMA. Improved camera sports an 8-Megapixel sensor for still pictures plus 1080p video. CMOS sensor with backside illumination, gathering 73% more light than before, with a hybrid IR filter and 1/3 faster performance. The lens now has 5 elements and is f/2.4—really wide angle with 30% greater sharpness.

Improved software lets iPhone 4S do face detection, improved white balance, and much faster first and second shot times than before. Video image stabilization, temporal noise reduction, and other technologies to improve the quality of performance. AirPlay mirroring has been added to the iPhone 4S, a big deal.

One big new feature: Voice. The integrated Siri assistant. “What’s the weather like today?” can be answered by the iPhone 4S with a forecast. “Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto,” and it returns a bunch of results sorted by rating. “How many days are there until Christmas?” can be computed, and shown to you as days, months, and years. The interface is a mix of prior Siri and the linen backdrop of OS X and iOS, tying into iOS applications to look up calendar information, messages, and other things stored on the device. It can read to you, and understand what you’re saying. You can create calendar events just by talking to the iPhone, and it uses advanced AI to remember your previous commands, placing new ones in context. It is tied into Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha to look up encyclopedic, dictionary, and scientific data; web searches are also available.

Dictation is supported by the Siri feature, and starts good, becoming better and more accurate as it learns your voice. It’s being launched in beta along with the iPhone 4S, with English, French, and German support. That’s it initially. A video is shown to highlight everything. 16GB, 32GB, 64GB $199/$299/$399. 3GS and 4 will still be sold, 3GS free on contract, iPhone 4 is $99 for 8GB. Preorder on 7th, available October 14, Verizon AT+T and Sprint. First countries: U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., France, Germany, and Japan, with more to follow on the 28th, then more through end of the year.

That’s it for the announcements.

« Apple: Over 300 million iPods sold, 16 billion songs downloaded

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