Below is a complete transcript of iLounge’s play-by-play coverage of Apple’s Fall 2010 iPod media event, held on September 1, 2010, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco. Updates are presented in chronological order; photos from the event can be seen on iLounge’s Flickr account.
9:48AM PT: Apple is now streaming live from the theater. The acoustic guitar on the screen at the stage is matched with the music they’re playing, which has frequently in the past been tunes from Coldplay and other artists Apple’s execs love. This appears to be a recent live Paul McCartney performance. Now it’s Alanis. Last year, Rolling Stones music was playing.
9:53AM PT: You may recall that Apple’s FaceTime demonstration for the iPhone 4, as well as Safari on the Retina Display, had technical issues that wound up delaying the iPhone 4 unveiling event. We’ll see if they repeat today. Eric Clapton’s Layla is playing.
9:56AM PT: Apple’s iPod events have most frequently been held in this theater, very close to San Francisco’s Moscone Center, but with less seating capacity. By choosing its unveiling locations carefully (and packing remaining seats with Apple employees who sometimes let out surprising cheers during events), the company gives the impression of a packed crowd no matter how big or small the announcement may be.
9:59AM PT: Better Together by Jack Johnson now playing.
10:00AM PT: Apple is repeatedly panning its camera on Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday. He’s in a dark jacket and white shirt, with a beard. Applause as Steve Jobs takes the stage.
10:00AM PT: Thanks for coming this morning, says Steve. My partner in crime, Steve Wozniak, he points out. Really cool stuff to show you. Update on Apple Retail: amazing stores lately, here are three. First is Paris. Near the old Opera House. Spent 18 months restoring it. Second is in China, in Shanghai. The glass tube store, 40-foot-high cylinder. Third is London. Covent Garden.
10:04AM PT: 300 Apple retail stores now, in 10 different countries, soon to be 11 with Spain. MacWorld used to get 30,000 people attending – single days in stores have over 1 million people visit some days, several days a month. 80,000 one-to-one classes a week. Over 50% of Mac buyers are new.
10:05AM PT: iOS: Powers mobile devices. Revolution in both touch and apps. It made iPhone, iPod touch and iPad possible. iOS devices shipped: 120m. 230,000 new iOS activations per day. That’s _new_—not upgrades/updates, which competitors may be counting. App Store 6.5 billion apps downloaded, 200 apps per second downloaded. 250,000 apps on the Store, 25,000 are iPad apps.
10:07AM PT: iOS 4.1 announced. Bugs fixed: proximity, Bluetooth and iPhone 3G performance. High Dynamic Range photos added, standard in iOS 4.1. HD video can be uploaded over WiFi. TV show rentals. Game Center debuts. High Dynamic Range photos are being added for cameras to be able to better capture images, by tapping on a button to take 3 photos in rapid succession, using highlight and shadow detail to make final picture better. HDR pulls out sky and foreground shadow details that would be lost in a single exposure.
10:10AM PT: This HDR feature is particularly useful for devices with weak sensors—ideal for the iPhones (and likely iPod touch). Note that it was not included in iOS 4.1 beta 3. Game Center is for multiplayer games and challenges. It’ll auto-match you with people if you don’t have friends to play against, keep a list of friends and games that are compatible. New game: Epic Games to demo. Mike Capps on stage. Unreal Engine 3 powers it – codename Project Sword. RPG. Impressive 3-D graphics in realtime, walking through streets of medieval town. It’s being demonstrated on iPhone 4 so Retina Display looks great. The details of the characters are exceptionally impressive by standards of prior iOS titles—it looks like PlayStation 2-caliber 3-D graphics with full 3-D backdrops and two characters, fighting one another over the internet. Controls appear to be pretty simple though, with hit point losses being tracked.
10:15AM PT: Holiday season debut for this game. Steve’s back. “It’s on a phone,” he says. Next week for iOS 4.1. iPhone and iPod touch get it. Sneak peek at iOS 4.2. It’ll be later this year. It’s all about iPad. Brings everything to iPad, multitasking, folders, HDR photos (???) to iPad. Wireless printing. AirPlay, to be discussed later. Printing demo: want to print in pages, use Printer button to select printer, number of copies, and hit print to print. Multitasking bar has Print Center to let you manage print jobs. Multitask bar shows 6 icons at once, just like iPod touch/iPhone. AirPlay is previously AirTunes—now for Audio, Video and Photos over wi-fi, steaming.
10:18AM PT: Running on iPad, he launches Pandora. Jack Johnson to be played, using multitasking bar to switch apps. Mail shown with multithreading, Safari opens up from mail, and pull up bar—with swipe to far left bringing up rotation lock, volume controls, and iPod play controls. Folders added. It looks basically identical to iOS 4.0 but using more of the iPad screen. When is it coming? November. It’ll be free update for iPad, iPhone + iPod touch – “NOT ALL MODELS” it notes on screen. Hmmm.
10:20AM PT: iPods update – the entree. How many iPods sold? 275 million. One of the secrets is that the iPod has a very high market share, we never rest on laurels. New iPods this year for every single model. All new designs for every model. Biggest change in the iPod lineup ever. iPod shuffle. It’s been a big hit. Second was even better. Third we took off buttons, added VoiceOver. People clearly missed the buttons. So fourth-generation: now has buttons and VoiceOver and playlists. It’s a little square with a circular button control, made from metal. Looks like the old iPod Radio Remote Control. And will have Genius Mixes. There’s also a microphone on the top. 15 hours of music. The packaging is crazy small, in 5 colors – orange, green, blue, pink, silver, $49.
10:24AM PT: iPod nano. He walks through the generations. How do we make this better? We’d like to make it smaller. One way to do that – get rid of Click Wheel. Touchscreen. Multi-touch. New iPod nano has multi-touch. Four icons on screen at once. Top has volume buttons like iPhone 4’s. Clip on the back. Instantly wearable he says, 46% smaller and 42% lighter. VoiceOver built in, Fm radio, Nike+ and Pedometer support, with 29 languages. 24 hours of battery life. Looks like the camera is gone. The UI is a mix between the iOS and iPod nano of the past, with icons wherever possible and square remakes of past screens.
10:27AM PT: Flick on screens to find Ella Fitzgerald. Scrolls through the list of artists to find a song with a finger touch on a white background with black text. The nano is pretty much exactly as we expected it to be as a hardware design; the UI has jiggling icons – “JUST LIKE OTHER iOS DEVICES.” So confirmation, it seems, that it’s running iOS. Photos display on it. Videos?… Comes in graphite, product red, and other colors of iPod shuffle. $149 for 8GB, $179 for 16GB. Similarly small cube packaging.
10:31AM PT: iPod touch. Remarkable product for us: it’s the most popular iPod. iPhone without phone or contract, he says. Now #1 portable game player in world. It outsells Nintendo and Sony combined in the portable space, he says. 50%+ US and worldwide market share. Over 1.5 Billion game + entertainment downloads JUST to the iPod touch alone. What will they do with it? Make it better. Change it. New iPod touch is even thinner. There’s a speaker port on bottom, camera on front, and has Retina Display. 326ppi, 24-bit color, LED backlit. It has an Apple A4 chip inside. 3-axis gyro, with iOS 4.1, and a front-facing camera and FaceTime over Wi-Fi. 40 hours of battery life, HD video recording for rear camera. It looks from the front and back as you would expect. Microphone on back; iMovie app now runs on iPod touch for editing.
10:35AM PT: Same plastic style of packaging: 8GB $229, 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399. New iPod touch joins nano and iPod shuffle for all-new lineup for the holiday. Available next week. Pre-order today. No mention of classic…? New ads to show.
10:36AM PT: It looks like to rotate the iPod nano screen, you need to do multitouch spins with your fingers… no accelerometer? Commercials are hands and people holding the iPods, touch is playing games and doing FaceTime, with happy music. Yay. All kinds of fun, iPod touch is the tagline. What, no shuffle commercial? 10:37AM PT: iPods are part of a great duet with iTunes, he says. 11.7 billion songs downloaded. 450m TV episodes downloaded. 100 million movies now. 35 million books. Over 160 million credit card + 1-click accounts in 23 countries. #1 online media store in world. Today, iTunes 10. Logo is being replaced—no more CD. New logo is a blue circle with a music note silhouette. It’s even more elegant, he says—looks a lot like the last version, though.
10:39AM PT: New hybrid view shows album artwork if you have more than 5 songs from same album. iTunes “discovery” – how do you find out about new stuff from the Store? What are my friends listening to, what are artists up to? What concerts are friends going to? How to share with friends? So we’re announcing Ping. A social network for music, like Facebook + Twitter meet iTunes. But all about music. Built right into iTunes, so you can follow favorite artists and friends, discover what they’re talking about, listening to and downloading. It’s right under the iTunes Store in the Store list in iTunes. Now you can follow friends, artists, etc. to see what’s up. Custom top 10 chart for songs that reflect only the people you follow. Artists can set up pages. Lady Gaga’s page is being shown, so you can see her posts, concerts, songs, etc.
10:43AM PT: It’s a feed-based service within iTunes. Social music discovery, follow and be followed. Artists will let almost anyone follow them. You can hold your hand up if you want to be followed. Or you can approve all followers – circle of friends. You and 10 buddies will be allowed in, but no one else, sort of thing. As privte or as public as you want—super simple privacy, he says. Post thoughts + opinions whenever you want to, with custom songs and album charts, 17k concert listings. Available immediately to 160 million iTunes users in 23 countries, now.
10:45AM PT: Note for readers: though it’s hardly unique in this, Apple has internally been using the word “ping” for a while to suggest internal contacts within the company, so if you contact one person at Apple with a question, they say they’ll ping someone else there. It’s a techie-geek term but will obviously go mainstream with its inclusion in iTunes. Apple PR exec Katie Cotton’s page is shown.
10:47AM PT: So if you want to buddy up with Apple staff to see what they’re listening to, you might be able to with Ping. A Lady Gaga sample video is shown, behind the scenes from webcam sort of stuff. Steve has a profile. You can see concerts he’s going to, and what he’s been commenting on, etc.
10:49AM PT: A very interesting assault on Facebook here. So Ping is also available on iPhone and iPod touch. It’s an iTunes Store feature so you don’t need to download a new app; just a new button at bottom of screen. iTunes 10 available today, for free. That’s iTunes.
10:50AM PT: One more thing… Apple TV. (“One more hobby…”) We introduced it in September 2006 and sold a lot of them but it’s never been a huge hit, nor is any competitive product. We talked to people that use Apple TVs and they love them and use them a lot, he says. (Uh, okay.) #1 #2 #3 things they want are Hollywood movies and TV shows whenever they want them. They don’t want amateur hour. Everything in HD. Lower prices for content. They don’t want a computer on their TV, he says. They want entertainment. They don’t want to manage storage. Don’t want syncing to a computer. They want content from computer but no syncing. They want it to be silent, cool and small.
10:53AM PT: Something new for them. New one is tiny. It’s 1/4 the size, same shape. It can be held in palm of hand. It’s jet black, plastic. Back has HDMI, optical audio, power cord port, supply is built in, and Ethernet. It has 802.11n Wi-Fi. Use the metal Apple Remote, which comes with it. Movies, TV shows, and music stream to it. It’s all HD when content is available. All rentals, NO PURCHASES. Prices are more affordable, no storage management. You can afford to rent several times rather than buy. Streaming, no syncing. Can do photo slideshows. Silent, cool, and tiny. Note that only 17% of our 2533 responding readers said that they wanted a device like this. $5 for first run HD movies. Now it’s 99 cents to rent HD TV shows.
10:57AM PT: Commercial free TV shows. ABC and Fox are offering shows, rest of studios will get on board pretty fast, he says. So yeah, bye other studios. You can also if you’re a Netflix subscriber, stream to Apple TV for free. Also YouTube content, and Flickr photos. And MobileMe for video and photos. Stream off computer, Mac or PC. UI looks like prior Apple TV 3.0—just like it, minus no longer necessary options. Rotten Tomatometer added to the UI. Rent and start watching generally in seconds. It also provides access to Internet Radio, podcasts, etc. like past Apple TV 3.0, with Netflix as a new addition.
11:00AM PT: Slideshows look a lot like iPad’s. The device appears at first glance to be a custom version of iOS minus the touch controls, running the prior-generation Apple TV user interface with no icon-based content. That’s just our guess.
11:02AM PT: What’s here will be no big surprise to prior Apple TV users. It’s just a repackaging at a lower price with no hard drive and a smaller, less expensive shell, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One little thing—he has a list of favorites with jiggling iOS-style icons and unwatched show tallies. Netflix instant queue is there – Jobs says it’s the best implementation of Netflix yet. Not a standalone app, just part of the Apple TV OS, controllable with the old remote. Slideshows look like upgraded versions of iPad’s integrated photo frame mode, complete with a reflective surface under the pictures.
11:06AM PT: AirPlay comes in November with iOS 4.2. We can stream content from an iOS device to an Apple TV. He can send the movie Up from iPad to the Apple TV. By volume control, there’s a new button to let you decide which device to stream iPad’s content to. Presumably same thing with iPhone and iPod touch. Have photos from iPhone and be able to watch them in slideshow on Apple TV instantly. Same with videos. Content on iTunes is in 6 countries. More coming later this year. Price of Apple TV was $229. New price $99.
11:08AM PT: Available in 4 weeks. Pre-order today. So here we are on September 1: strongest lineup of iPods ever. Nano now instantly wearable, clip and go, new iPod touch with FaceTime. New iTunes 10, with iTunes Ping, social network for music. Will be very popular, very fast. iOS 4.1 and 4.2. Apple TV with movies and TV shows whenever you want, plus stream from Netflix and your own devices. That’s it for today. We started doing this music stuff for a really simple reason: we love music. That hasn’t changed as we’ve become more successful. One of favorite musical artists will perform, someone we love, this group has had four albums out so far. Coldplay. So Chris Martin… huge applause from audience. 50m albums, 7 Grammies, next album underway. Chris Martin’s here to perform. Will perform tracks until audience “feels like lunch.” He’s doing 2nd song – Viva la Vida.