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.
To find out the remaining details, you’ll want to come back for our live coverage once the event gets under way around 10 am PT. There will be periodic updates ahead of the event, as well.
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: OK. 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 a.m. 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, bet that was a great day for the city’s famed pickpockets.
10:02 am: Apple now has 380 stores in 12 countries. It will open first Swedish store on Friday, making 13.
10:04 am: On to the Mac. “We’ve had a very busy summer for the Mac.”
Mountain Lion launched in July. 7 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,” he said, noting 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 it had a 68 percent share.
Its 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.
400 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 from the audiene. Thankfully there is a video.
10:14 am: Schiller: It is made entirely of glass and aluminum.
10:15 am: It’s thin and lighter than 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 4-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Why this design, Schiller said — to fit the thumb well.
There’s a fifth row of icons on the home screen. Built-in apps take advantage of bigger display, such as Safari, calendar and e-mail.
Apple is also updating iWork and iLife apps to take advantage of screen: Keynote, Pages, iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, etc.
Existing apps run at 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+.
In the US, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon
In Canada, a bunch of carriers as well as top carriers in Korea, Australia, Singapore and Deutesche 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 new A6 processor with CPU and graphics that are twice as fast.
10:25 am: EA Studios, Executive Produce Rob Murray on stage to show what it can do with the faster chip.
EA is showing Real Racing 3, with a car running on photo-realistic version of Laguna Seca raceway.
“The new iPhone lets us take this to a whole new level,” he said. The detail is pretty incredible. There’s even a working rear view mirror showing cars behind the racer.
The game features time-shifted multi-player. 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. iPhone will exceed battery life of iPhone 4S with 8 hours of 3G talk time, 3G browsing and LTE browsing.
10:29 am: On to the camera.
Specs: 8 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 sapphire’s aren’t just pretty, they are hard and 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 look 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 cancelling. 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. 20 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 adaptor 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.
Android and Windows Phone have offered previously.
10:42 am: Apple also has new satellite imagery. “It’s just gorgeous,” he 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 e-mail 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 that 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 the phone is so important as it is the product you have with you all the time.
“We take changing it really seriously,” he 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 its pricing and availability time.
10:59 am: Yep.
Same prices as iPhone 4S. $199/16GB, 32GB/$299 $399 for 64GB.
iPhone 4S $99 for 16GB, iPhone 4 Free. All with 2-year contracts. Pre-orders start Friday with shipment a week later on Sept. 21 in several countries. 100 countries by 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.