Apple’s new chief executive, Tim Cook, is running through the company’s recent accomplishments before unveiling the new iPhone, according to bloggers posting live updates from the event in Cupertino, Calif.
Cook said Mac sales have grown 23 percent over the last year, compared with 4 percent PC growth. (He cited IDC, which said Apple’s U.S. market share was 10.7 percent in the second quarter, up from 9 percent the year before.)
Starting on the iPhone, Cook said 93 percent of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying the device, according to Ars Technica’s blog, which crashed earlier in the presentation.
Cook also talked up the iPad, saying that three out of four tablets sold are iPads. He presented a quote – “Consumers don’t want tablets, they want iPads” – from the All Things D blog which called this out at its All Things D live blog from the event.
Cook said more than 250 million iOS devices have been sold, then introduced mobile software boss Scott Forstall for a demonstration. Forstall said there have been 18 billion downloads from the Apple store and the company’s passed $3 billion to developers, according to Engadget’s blog.
Forstall’s heading toward the iPhone news by talking about a new camera app in iOS 5 that lets you take photos by double-tapping the home button. You can also use the volume hard key to take a photo, bringing the iPhone closer to other current smartphones that have dedicated camera shutter buttons. He said iOS 5 will be released Oct. 12.
Apple’s Eddie Cue talked about the company’s iCloud service, will be available Oct. 12 and able to sync documents across different Apple devices. For example, you can start editing a document or reading a book on a Mac and continue where you left off on your iPhone or iPad, similar to capabilities offered by other cloud sync services.
There were rumors of Apple phasing out the iPod but the company’s updating its iPod Nano with new features, including fitness tracking capabilities that don’t require an external sensor such as Nike’s. The new Nano goes on sale today for $129 for an 8 gigabyte model and $149 for a 16 gig model.
Apple’s also updating the iPod Touch, which is now available in white. The price of the 8 gigabyte model is dropping from $229 to $199. The 32 gig model is $299 and 64 gig is $399; they’re available Oct. 12.
Just announced was the new iPhone – the iPhone 4S, with an A5 chip like the one used in the iPad and graphics performance that Apple claims is up to seven times faster than the iPhone 4.
So much for the iPhone 5, or is it still to come today?
“How do you follow up a hit product like the iPhone 4? … With the iPhone 4s” Apple’s Phil Schiller said, according to All Things D.
After a demo by Epic Games of “Infinity Blade 2,” Schiller said battery life on the phone is improved and it should get 8 hours of talk time on a 3G network, six hours of 3G browsing and nine hours of WiFi browsing, according to a slide posted by Ars Technica.
Apple’s also fixed the antenna and can “intelligently switch between two antennas to transmit and receive,” according to Ars.
As expected, the updated phone has an 8 megapixel camera. It also has both CDMA and GSM network capabilities.
Schiller said download speeds are faster – 14.4 megabits per second, according to All Things D, but that suggests the iPhone 4S won’t take advantage of the latest HSPA+ network improvements that offer faster downloads than 14.4. T-Mobile, for instance, has pushed its peak download speeds to 42 Mbps.
The new phone also takes 1080p video, but its biggest trick is voice controls via an “intelligent assistant” called “Siri,” according to All Things D. It noted that Apple acquired the Siri technology last year when it bought a spinout from Standford Research Institute, pursuing technology originally funded by the military.
The demonstrators said it’s still in beta, but it adds voice input similar to one of the marquee features of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform and the Voice Actions in Google’s Android platform.
Siri is blended with maps, search engines and Yelp and phone features such as the clock and message application, so you can “ask” Siri to read messages or set the alarm clock at a particular time, according to reports from the event.
The iPhone 4S will ship Oct. 14 and start at $199 for a 16 gigabyte model. A 32 gig model will cost $299 and a 64 gig model $399. As expected, the iPhone 4 – without the S – is dropping to $99 and the 3GS with 8 gigs will be available for free with wireless contracts.
Apple confirmed that Sprint is indeed going to carry the device, as previously reported in stories that the company had pegged as “rumor and speculation.”
Siri is cool, but not cool enough for investors, apparently. Apple’s stock is starting to dip on the underwhelming news. The Wall Street Journal’s MarketBeat headline:
“Apple Shares Slide Into Warm Bath of Sadness.”
From Google Finance:
Engadget earlier on Cook: “Tim Cook: In case you’re wondering, Tim’s style is a bit more subtle than Steve’s, a bit more understated. But he looks cool, comfortable. Genuinely happy and excited.”
Apparently interest in Apple’s news was too much for the news site servers. Cnet, Engadget and Ars Technica all had glitches during their blogging of the event.
Engadget readers weren’t enthused about the news, apparently. A sample from the comments:
“Has to be the most boring and dullest launch in Apple’s history..no wonder they they didn’t book Moscone this time.”
Apple.com is also getting slammed, apparently – that, or it doesn’t like my blog: