The Foo Fighters playing toward the end of the conference.
6.35 p.m. (GMT): Press pass in hand, minutes before the start.
The smartphone market has changed considerably in the year that has followed the release of the iPhone 4S. To gain the upper hand over Google (Android is now the world's #1 operating system) and Samsung (the world's #1 smartphone brand that has sold over 20 million Galaxy S3's in the three months following its release), Apple's challenge yesterday was to present a new iPhone that is both a departure from the previous generations and a product that will wow consumers and reviewers alike.
6.40 p.m. (GMT): At King's Place in London, the only venue outside of the Yerba Center to receive a live feed of the event, we Euro journalists gathered in front a giant screen to follow the streamed event.
Apple usually takes great care to present at least one "Wow!" feature at its Keynotes. Last year, it was Siri. What was it going to be this year? NFC with ultra-simplified, advanced features? Fingerprint recognition?
7.00 p.m. (GMT): It's a go! Tim Cook takes the stage.
All of us happy few assembled at King's Place were there for the live stream, true, but even more so to get our hands on the long-awaited products. Everyone was there, waiting with a computer on the lap and a camera in the hand, as speculations flew.
7.12 p.m. (GMT): Now for Phil Schiller.A video of the Apple Store in Barcelona began this part of the speech. Then as always, it started with a torrent of statistics:
- The 380 Apple Stores worldwide welcomed over 83 million visitors in 2011 alone.
- 7 million people have purchased Mountain Lion OS since its release.
- 17 million iPads have been sold from April to June alone, and Apple totals 68% of the touchscreen tablet market share!
- The iPad makes up 91% of all online traffic from tablets. A nearly unrivalled position...
- There are 250,000 apps designed specifically for the iPad.
7.17 p.m. (GMT): Time has come. Meet iPhone 5.
The rumouring and speculating are officially at an end. The name is iPhone 5, and it's made of glass and aluminium.
It's 7.6 mm thick, 18% thinner than the iPhone 4S. It's starting to look more and more like the prototypes leaked online in recent months!
According to Schiller, it's the world's thinnest smartphone... At 112 grammes, it's 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S.
The 4-inch Retina Display has 326 dpi and a 16:9 aspect ratio, for 1136 x 640 resolution.
7.23 p.m. (GMT): The new A6 processor! Twice as powerful (CPU + graphics) than the iPhone 4S's A5.Apple has improved the colour rendering by 40% on this new Retina Display compared to the 4S.
After a quick presentation of the apps we all know well (Garage Band, iPhoto...), it's time for the technical specs!
As expected, the iPhone 5 has 4G LTE with a theoretical maximum transfer speed of 100 Mbps, plus a new Wi-Fi a/b/g/n module running from 2.4 to 5 GHz and a maximum speed of 150 Mbps.
7.30 p.m. (GMT): 4G!Apple has one big challenge with all these new specs: the battery life! The company says it lasts 8 hours on 3G, 10 hours on Wi-Fi and 8 hours on 4G. Not to mention 10 hours of video playback, 40 hours of music and 225 hours in sleep mode.
Apparently, the A6 boosts everything in sight: apps launch 2.1 times faster and photos snap 1.7 times faster in iPhoto.
Rob Murray of Electronic Arts takes the stage to demonstrate the A6's graphics capabilities with the video game Real Racing 3.
7.32 p.m. (GMT): iSight + 8-Megapixel camera sensor.
In a move to catch up with Android, the camera now has a panorama mode. The Full HD 1080p video mode now has image stabilisation and you can shoot photos while filming.
Like Nokia, Apple has added an ultra-high definition mode that "imitates" 28-Megapixel resolution, allowing you to zoom in on photos with no loss in quality.
FaceTime, the app that allows Apple product users to video chat, is now in 1080p.
7.40 p.m. (GMT): Apple outs the 8-pin connector!
The new, entirely digital connector is reversible (highly practical!) and is 80% less bulky than the 30-pin connector we have come to know so well.
But ne'er fear, Apple will be selling a dedicated adapter.
7.45 p.m. (GMT): Maps for iOS 6 is a 3D rendering tool for navigation that includes over 100 million points of interest.
Bye-bye Google Maps, welcome Maps by Apple!
As announced during the iOS 6 presentation in June, Passbook is a virtual card-holder that stores all your loyalty cards, coupons and tickets in one place, sortable by store or by theme. This looks promising.
Siri has also been updated with a new feature for sports statistics and scores, although this may be for North America only.
iPhone 5 comes in black... or white. No surprises here.
Apple says the iPhone 5 has the highest-quality finishing yet on an iProduct. They even showed us pictures of the phone's insides! Steve Jobs' policy of only showing products in all the magical splendour of the finished exterior of the device has made way for a visual demonstration of the new iPhone's industrial prowess.
Here's a side-by-side comparison of the thickness of the iPhone 4S, on the left, and the iPhone 5, on the right:
iPhone 5: $199 on contract for the 16 GB version. The 32 GB will go for $299 and the 64 GB for $399.
iPhone 5: On sale in the UK starting 21 September 2012!
Pre-orders begin 14 September 2012, with shipping on the 21st!
The 8 GB iPhone 4 will remain in stores, now for free under contract (at least in the United States)! The 4S is dropping to $99 under contract.
iOS 6 will become available on 19 September. The products that will potentially get a free update will be: iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, iPad 2 and the 4th-gen iPod Touch.
A great deal of the presentation was devoted to iTunes 11. We'll cover that shortly in a separate article, but for now we can tell you the interface has been reworked to be made more user-friendly.
Here's a shot of the Passbook icon:
8.15 p.m. (GMT): That's it for the iPhone 5, now for the new iPods.
New iPods with FM tuners and Bluetooth? It's Christmas time!
8.22 p.m. (GMT): The 5th generation iPod Touch, with its 4" Retina Display. Only 6.1 mm thin.
The new iPod Touch has an A5 processor (that's right, the same one as the iPhone 4S) in a device that weighs just 88 grammes.
The 5th generation iPod Touch is compatible with Siri and comes with iOS 6 pre-installed. It can "mirror" (display its image on an HD TV set) via AirPlay.
Apple also came up with a neat little gadget, the Loop, which is a retractable extension on the back of the Touch to which you can attach a string so as not to lose your precious device. Hmmm, even more multi-coloured accessories to throw in the basket!
The 5-Megapixel iSight sensor is backlit with an f/2.4 aperture... yep, that's the same one as the last iPad.
8.35 p.m. (GMT): New earphones: the EarPods!
Similar to the Bose IE2, Apple's new headphones are "simply" a modified shape for the buds that are designed to guide the sound more directly in the ear canal.