Live Blog: Apple’s 2011 ‘Let’s Talk iPhone’ Event
I’m reposting a live blog on the iPhone event covered by wired.com
11:38 a.m. That concludes today’s media event. iPhone 4S, Siri, new iPods. Hope you had fun!
11:37 a.m. Oops, available on all three carriers: AT&T, Verizon and now Sprint.
11:36 a.m. On October 28th, it’ll hit a bunch more countries, and by December, over 70 countries, over 100 carriers. This is the fastest roll out ever for an iPhone.
11:35 a.m. Pre-orders tart on Friday October 7th, and the iPhone 4S will be vailable October 14th in Uthe US, Canada, Asutraklia, the UK, France Germany and Japan.
11:33 a.m. The iPhone 4S will be avilable in black and white. 16 GB for $199, 32 GB for $300, $64 GB for $400, with a two year contract. The 3GS will now be available for free, and an 8 GB iPhone 4 will now be available for $99.
11:31 a.m. Video still going on, basically summarizing the points we already mentioned. Processor, camera, Siri, iOS 5 and iCloud. “We’ve thought about every square millimeter that goes inside the iPhone 4S.” And that concludes our video.
11:29 a.m. Phil is showing a video of the iPhone 4S. The video shows us the inside of the phone, almost like an x-ray. “Siri is a whole new way of interacting with your iPhone, using just your voice,” Scott says in the video.
11:28 a.m. Now we know all the features that are added in the iPhone 4S. To be clear, Siri is iPhone 4S specific.
11:27 a.m. With Siri you can use natural language. It’s conversational, contextual, personal. It works with built-in apps, adds dictation anywhere there’s a keyboard. It works across Wi-Fi or 3G. It’ll be built-in to the iPHone 4S and support English, French and German. It will be beta to start: more languages and services will be added over time.
11:27 a.m. “And that is the coolest feature of the iPhone 4S,” Phil says as he steps back onstage. On the keyboard, there’s now a microphone, which can be used to interact with Siri and dictate messages.
11:26 a.m. What is Siri, exactly? “I am a humble personal assistant,” Siri replies. Much laughter and applause.
11:24 a.m. Siri can also play any song you want, if it’s in iCloud or on the device, you can use it to make calls, send messages, set up meetings, set reminders, get directions, dictate and send emails, find out the weather, get information about stocks, set alarms, find a contact’s address, write notes, perform web searches, and answer any questions you’d normally ask Wolfram Alpha.
11:24 a.m. If you’re counting down to a special event, you can ask Siri. How many days until Christmas? 82 days (or 2 months, 21 days, 11 weeks 5 days, 58 weekdays, .22 years). Pretty precise there, Siri.
11:23 a.m. Traveling abroad? Siri finds the current exchange rates, so you can see how many Euros to a dollar, for instance.
11:22 a.m. You can ask Siri to “Define mitosis” and a definition comes up.
11:22 a.m. Web search is also integrated with Siri. So if you’re looking up info on the space program, you can tell Siri to “Search Wikipedia for Neil Armstrong.” The relevant Wikipedia page comes up in Safari almost instantly. Siri is also partnered with Wolfram Alpha (awesome!).
11:20 a.m. You can also set up meetings, hands free, just by talking to Siri. Scott set up a meeting with Phil Schiller for Friday. But there’s more! “Remind me to call my wife when I leave work?” Siri asks for verification about the request, then confirms that it will remind him.
11:19 a.m. If you get a message, and your phone is in your pocket, you can ask Siri to read it to you, hands free. You just have to say “Read my message.” Siri reads the message, and asks if you want to “Reply” or “read it again”. You can also ask it questions about your calendar. Scott checks he’s open on Friday, then tells Siri to reply “I can do Friday.”
11:18 a.m. You can also ask Siri Maps related questions, and it will show you the directions. Siri has a robotic female voice in this demonstration.
11:17 a.m. You can ask Siri about stocks. Siri says “NASDAQ Composite is down right now.” Siri is also partnered with Yelp, so you can ask something like “Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto.” Siri responds “I’ve found 14 Greek restaurants, 5 of them are in Palo Alto. I’ve sorted them by rating.” The ranked listing follows below.
11:16 a.m. Now, a question about the clock. “What time is it in Paris?” Response: “The time in Paris, France is 8:16 PM.” What about the alarm? “Wake me up tomorrow at 6am?” “OK I set it for 6am” Siri says. Impressive.
11:16 a.m. You can also ask the question a different way to get the same result. You can also ask something conceptual like, “Do I need a raincoat today?” Siri responds: “It sure looks like rain today.” The audience laughs and applauds.
11:15 a.m. You can get to Siri at any time by holding down the home button for a few seconds, like Voice Contorl on the iPhone now. Scott asks “What is the weather like for today”. The app says “Here’s the forecast for today” and brings up a forecast listing. It’s 66 degrees, with a high of 70 and low of 55.
11:14 a.m. Now we’ve got a demo of beta Siri software. It’s a live demo. Scott Forstall will show us how it works.
11:13 a.m. “What we really want to do is talk to our device, and get a response. We don’t want to be told how to talk to it, we want to talk to it however we like,” Phil says. This feature that does this is called Siri, your intelligent assistant. It helps you get things done, just by asking.
11:13 a.m. “It’s the most best iPhone yet.” It has one more feature, all about our voice. Oh boy, you can feel the excitement in the room.
11:12 a.m. Phil is giving an overview of the iPhone 4S’s features: improved processor, wireless technology, camera, AirPlay, and it comes with iOS 5. It’s also part of iCloud.
11:11 a.m. Now, AirPlay. You can stream photos and videos straight to your Apple TV setup. It also has AirPlay mirroring. If you don’t have an Apple TV, you can plug in an HDMI cable and do wired mirroring.
11:11 a.m. “For many customers, the iPhone 4S will be the best video camera they’ve ever owned, the best still camera they’ve ever owned.”
11:09 a.m. Next, video recording. It can take 1080p HD video with real-time video image stabilization. There’s also temporal noise reduction, which helps in low light scenarios. Now we’re going to see a sample video of the kind of quality you can expect from the camera. The colors are bright, vivid. It’s a video of three ladies and going hot air ballooning.
11:08 a.m. The photos don’t look like they’re shot with a smartphone at all. Last few shots are of the ocean, waves crashing, and wildflowers blooming near a calm beach.
11:07 a.m. Now we’re seeing some sample photos taken with the iPhone 4S. Sushi shot? Nope, first shot is of some mountains. Hot air balloons over tree tops, a woman with a dandelion. A squirrel! “Do you know how hard it is to get a squirrel to stand still?” (Just give it some food.)
11:06 a.m. We’re looking at a chart of smartphone camera speeds. The iPhone 4 takes 1.1 seconds for first photo, half a second for second photo. Droid Bionic takes 3.7seconds for first photo, 1.6 seconds for second photo.
11:06 a.m. Apple also uses that A5 chip, which houses an Apple designed image processor. There’s face detection, it has 26% better auto white balance than the iPhone 4, and the chip takes super fast photos.
11:05 a.m. The iPhone 4S has a five element lens (there were four in the iPhone 4), this provides a 30% sharper image. It’s got an f/2.4 aperture, which lets in more light.
11:03 a.m. Third: the camera system. The iPhone 4 is the most popular camera used on Flickr. “We set our sights on competing with great point and shoot cameras,” Phil says. So what’s the new camera like? It’s got an 8 MP sensor, you can take photos that are 3264 by 2448. That’s 60% more pixels than the iPhone 4’s camera sensor. But that doesn’t necessarily make a picture better. The new sensor is backside illuminated, which gathers 73% more light than the iPhone 4’s sensor. It’s 33% faster than the iPhone 4 camera as well. On top of that, it’s got a hybrid IR filter for better color accuracy and more color uniformity.
11:03 a.m. That’s the new antenna system. A breakthrough in antenna technology, faster downloads, world phone.
11:02 a.m. Next, a world phone. The iPhone 4 came in two flavors, GSm and CDMA. GSM lets you roam around the world. The iPhone 4S is a world phone, it has both GSM and CDMA.
11:02 a.m. The iPhone 4S is just as fast as other 4G phones.
11:00 a.m. Second: the wireless system. Phil’s talking about the iPhone 4’s stainless steel band. The iPhone 4S will intelligently switch between two antennas to both transmit and receive. It can do this in the middle of a call. It improves call quality and can download data twice as fast as before. It can achieve 14.4 down and 5.8 up (that’s Mbps). Sound familiar? It’s 4G performance, same as the Motorola Atrix 4G, HTC Inspire 4G, LG Thrill 4G.
10:58 a.m. Victory! Enemy defeated. Infinity Blade II will drop on December 1, 2011.
10:57 a.m. The graphics are super detailed. There’s koi swimming in a pond in the water, sunrays, fireflies. And of course, super detailed characters. Your character now has the option to use two swords.
10:56 a.m. Today, they are announcing an iOS Exclusive, Inifinity Blade II. It includes some graphics techniques not even used in high end gaming consoles. The goal of the game: track down and destroy the deathless.
10:55 a.m. Apple really sees this improving games. Mike Capps, president of Epic games is going to show us something now. Last year, they showed us Infinity Blade.
10:54 a.m. It starts with a retina display, glass in front and back, same form factor as the iPhone 4. But “inside, it is all new.” It’s got an A5 processor. It’s an Apple designed chip, dual core processor, dual core graphics (up to 7x faster than previous iPhone).
10:54 a.m. Today, we’ve got the iPhone 4S.
10:54 a.m. “Despite competitors trying really hard, they haven’t come up with anything close,” Phil says. It’s the number one smartphone in the world, and number one in customer satisfaction.
10:53 a.m. iPhone time!
10:52 a.m. iOS 5 is a tremendous update for the iPod Touch, Phil says. It’ll be available in both black and white. Price drop: 8 GB for $199, 32 GB for $299, 64 GB for $399. Available October 12.
10:50 a.m. Next, iPod touch, their most popular iPod. It’s the most popular music player in the world and the most popular game player in the world. It will now run iOS 5. With iMessage, you can communicate with other iOS users even though you don’t have a data plan, since it’s free and unlimited over Wi-Fi.
10:50 a.m. The iPod Nano is available in 7 colors, 8 GB for $129 and 16 GB for $149. Nice price drop. It’s available today.
10:49 a.m. Now we’re talking about iPod Nano accessories like watches. The updated Nano has 16 new clock faces for people who dig that trend. We’ve got a classic face with roman numerals, a retro looking one, one that’s color coordinated with your Nano, and a Disney Mickey Mouse clock. The audience applauds.
10:47 a.m. He’s talking about iPod. We’re getting iPod updates. First, iPod Nano, which features a compact design, multi-touch display and more, but now has updates. Now you can display big icons for the features on it and swipe between them with your finger. Fitness is one of the Nano’s most popular uses, so there’s an improved fitness experience. Right out of the box, it can track walks and runs. Plug your Nano into your PC to upload your data to Nike+’s website and compete with friends, gain achievements.
10:45 a.m. Eddie is giving us a summary of iCloud. It’ll ship October 12, the same shipping date as iOS 5. iTunes Match will ship in the US at the end of October.
10:44 a.m. You can stream any song in iTunes Match by just tapping on it. You can create playlists and share them across your iOS devices. Songs you listen to most are cached right on your device. iTunes Match is $24.99 a year.
10:43 a.m. iTunes Match is another add on. It gives the same benefits to music you purchased outside of iTunes. iTunes has over 20 million songs, so iTunes Match scans and matches your songs to bring your music to iCloud.
10:41 a.m. New app: find my friends. It lets you find the location of family and friends. It’s like Find My iPhone for people. But sometimes you just want to share your location for a few hours or a day. You can create a temporary event and share your location for a certain amount of time, like a day at the beach. You can easily locate friends and family, there’s a temporary sharing option, simple privacy controls, and parental restrictions (parents can restrict kids from turning it off!). All of this is part of iCloud, which is free for iOS 5 users and OS X Lion users.
10:39 a.m. When you purchase an app on one device, it’s available on all of your iDevices. Books works the same way. Another feature of iCloud is Backup. iCloud does a daily backup of your iOS device. Contacts are updated across all of your devices, too. Calendars work the same way, you can even share calendars with other iCloud users. Mail provides a free .me email ccount.
10:38 a.m. Documents in the Cloud. Now, when you create a new document, like in Pages, it’s automatically saved and stored in iCloud. You can open a document and start editing on any device and pick up right where you left off. Documents are available as Pages, Numbers and Keynote, and will be available on Ocotber 12.
10:37 a.m. Now, Photos. With Photostream, you can take a photo on your iPhone, it’s saved to iCloud, and it’s pushed to your other devices. It even downloads right to iPhoto on your Mac, and you can see it on your Apple TV.
10:36 a.m. Now, if you download something from iTunes, say on your iPad, it’ll also simultaneously download on your iPHone and iPod Touch. With a tap of a button, you can download a song you’ve previously downloaded from the iTunes store onto another device.
10:35 a.m. Now, Eddie Cue will talk to us about iCloud. “iClodu stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices.” iCloud is free. Now, music, photos and documents. Over a third of the music purchased from the iTunes store is purchased on iOS devices.
10:35 a.m. These are just 10 of the many new features of iOS 5. iOS 5 is a free update that will be available October 12, next week. That’s iOS 5, folks!
10:34 a.m. PC Free is the next feature we’re talking about. With iOS 5, you take a device out of a box, and there’s no need for a computer. There’s support for wireless updates.
10:33 a.m. Mail. Rich text formatting has been added, as well as drag-able addresses, you can flag messages and search entire messages (thank goodness, I’ve been waiting for this one). You can also just swipe to get to the inbox on iPad.
10:32 a.m. Next up, Safari, which will have a new feature called Reader. It makes it easy to read, like Instapaper. If you don’t have time to read a story, you can add it to Reading List, and read it later. Reading List syncs to iOS devices. Tabbed browsing has been added to the iPad so you can quickly switch between websites.
10:32 a.m. Game Center. There’s over 67 million people signed up for Game Center. There’s friend discovery, game recommendations, and more.
10:30 a.m. Next up, Camera. There’s now a lock screen shortcut that you can tap to be taken directly to the camera app, you don’t even need a pass code. You can use a volume up button to take a photo. You can use grid lines to compose a photo, pinch to zoom, ad you can set the auto exposure/auto focus lock. After you’ve taken a photo, you can edit them right on your iOS device, removing red eye, cropping, rotating, and a general enhance feature.
10:29 a.m. Newsstand now. Let’s you access magazine like The New Yorker, Esquire, GQ, Vanity Fair, and newspapers like The New York Times. These subscriptions are gathered together in a single place on your home screen, and new issues are downloaded in the background.
10:29 a.m. Twitter integration. It’s integrated into the OS. Once you’ve logged in, you don’t need to login again from another app. You can tweet photos, tweet websites from Safari, videos from Youtube, locations from Maps, and more.
10:28 a.m. Now another new app in iOS 5, Reminders. You can have location based reminders, if you need to remember something on your way home from work, or simple reminders like a grocery list.
10:26 a.m. Now iOS 5. It comes with over 200 new user features. 10 top ones: Notifications, including the notifications center which is accessed with a downward swype ont he device. Less intrusive than pop up notifcations. iMessage is a new messaging service between iOS users. It supports iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. You can send photo, video, messages, and they’re pushed to all of your devices. They can be sent over 3G and Wi-Fi. Messages are securely encrypted.
10:25 a.m. Apple even mails it for you, and if it’s sent in the US, you’ll get a push notification once it arrives at its destination. If you maile it to a US address, the service is $2.99. Anywhere else in the world, it’s $4.99. Cards is a free download on Oct 12. That’s Cards.
10:24 a.m. Cards is a new app being introduced. It lets you create and mail beauitful cards right from your iPhone or iPod touch. You make the card, Apple does the rest, printing it out on 100% cotton paper. There’s over 21 different designs in 6 different categories: including birthdays, birth announcements, love, travel.
10:24 a.m. Apple has paid more than $3 billion to app developers
10:23 a.m. The app store is the number one store for mobile apps. In a little over three years, customers have downloaded over 18 billion apps. And that rate is accelerating: 1 billion apps are being downloaded each month.
10:22 a.m. So Apple has sold 250 million iOS devices. iOS has 43% of the mobile market. Android has 33%, according to their pie chart. iOS makes up over 60% of the mobile browsing market. There are over 500,000 apps in the app store, including over 140,000 iPad-specific apps.
10:22 a.m. Scott Forstall is taking the stage to talk to us about iOS.
10:22 a.m. This morning they passed the quarter of a billion sales mark for iOS devices.
10:21 a.m. Consumers don’t want tablets, they want iPads, Tim quotes from AllThingsD.
10:20 a.m. 92% of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying iPad. This is in less than 18 months, which is unheard of. “iPad is the undisputed top selling tablet in the world,” Tim says. “Despite everybody and their brother trying to compete with iPad, 3 out 4 tablets in the US are iPads.”
10:20 a.m. Over 80 percent of top hospitals in U.S. are now testing or piloting iPad.
10:18 a.m. Next up, the iPad. People have been thrilled with both the original iPad, and the iPad 2, he says. 95% satisfaction score in their most recent survey. And iPads are showing up everywhere: in schools (cute picture of a girl in a science lab holding an iPad). Almost a thousand K-12 schools have a 1:1 program so a child can enjoy an iPad for an entire day. Almost all school districts have an iPad program. iPads are in universities, flight cockpits. It makes the pilot and plane more efficient (fuel efficiency).
10:17 a.m. The iPhone has 5 percent share of the worldwide mobile phone market. That’s one in 20 people, worldwide. The market is 1.5 billion units annually.
10:15 a.m. The iPhone 4 makes up over half of the total iPhones sold since the iPhone was first introduced. It’s become the number one smartphone in the world. Year over year growth is at 125%
10:14 a.m. Now iTunes. It started with 200,000 songs, they’ve now got 20 million songs, or ten times that. It is the number one music store in the world. Over 16 billion songs have been downloaded from the iTunes store. Wow!
10:13 a.m. iPod is still a large and important product for Apple, Tim says. They’ve sold 45 million in the last year ending in June. Almost half of those are going to people buying their first iPod. “It remains a very important business for us.”
10:12 a.m. Next up, music: iTunes and iPod. It was only 10 years ago that the iPod launched, revolutionizing the way we listen to music, and the whole music industry. Tim says it also reminded us all that we love music, making music a more integral part of lives. iPod became the number one music player in the world, it’s market share has been above 70 percent for a long time. Apple has cumulatively sold over 300 million iPods around the world. It took Sony 30 years to sell 220,000 Walkman cassette players.
10:11 a.m. Apple’s Mac market share is now 23%, so nearly 1 out of every 4 computers sold in the US is a Mac.
10:10 a.m. The Mac has outgrown the PC market by almost 6 times in the past year. Every single quarter for 5 years the Mac has outgrown the PC market. They are now approaching 60 million users (58 million right now).
10:10 a.m. Macbook Air and iMac are #1 notebook and desktop in the U.S.
10:08 a.m. Tim is going to walk us through each of Apple’s major areas with an update. First is the Mac with OS X Lion — “It’s the best computer operating system out there,” Mossberg is quoted as saying. Results have been staggering: over 6 million downloads. This is 80% more than Snow Leopard.
10:07 a.m. Tim says Apple now has six stores in China, bringing Apple to 357 total stores in 11 countries.
10:05 a.m. The Hong Kong store offers a view of Victoria harbor. It has an even crazier glass staircase. They sold more Macs on opening day in this store than on any other store in the world, it was one of their best opening days in retail history.
10:04 a.m. Tim is showing us beautiful pics of the stores, one of a glass staircase. They welcomed 100,000 visitors their opening weekend.
10:04 a.m. A few updates: Just last weekend, Apple opened two new stores in China, one in Hong Kong and one in Shanghai.
10:04 a.m. — Today, Apple wants to remind us of the uniqueness of their company as they announce innovations of their mobile operating system, applications and hardware, and integrating them into a single experience.
10:02 a.m. — Tim Cook has taken the stage. This is his first product launch since being named CEO. He says it’s a pleasure to host us today, and he loves Apple. He says that this campus serves as a second home for many Apple employees. The room we’re in is called Town Hall. Nice pleasantries and introductory remarks.
9:56 a.m. — Apple seems to be a big fan of the classic rock.
9:50 a.m. — We’re in and seated, people are still getting settled. We’re listening to some classic Led Zeppelin.
9:32 a.m. — Sadly, the bathrooms are not as cool as I had hoped. Pretty standard, utilitarian. Top marks for cleanliness, however. Rating: A+
9:17 a.m. — An image of the MacBook Air graces one of the upstairs walls as art. Awesome.
9:11 a.m. — Quite the spread! Time for a mini-muffin.
9:06 a.m. — Oooh, fancy.
9:00 a.m. — Media check-in has begun! Apple sure is timely. Let’s get this thing started.
8:44 a.m. — Walt Mossberg from The Wall Street Journal just got here. And Lady Gaga?! Just kidding.
8:18 a.m. — We’re here! Waiting in line to register. We’re locked out of the Town Hall building until later this morning. We’re supposed to get a breakfast at 9. I wonder if it’ll be gourmet or continental style?
CUPERTINO, California — Rumors of Apple’s latest iPhone have reached epic heights over the past few months. Today — finally — they’ll be laid to rest, as the company announces what’s in store for its mobile products. We’ll be down at Apple HQ to deliver you the news as it happens. Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates.
Photos: Christina Bonnington and Brian X. Chen/Wired.com