Updates from the Apple event in San Francisco are in Pacific Time.
11:23 a.m. That’s a wrap. My initial take: I miss those days when Apple had big surprises to show. Today, the big news is a new name for the iPad, a new design that shaves a few millimeters and ounces off the old one, and a nicer screen on the iPad mini. No fingerprint identification, no TVs or watches, no radical changes in pricing strategy. No doubt, the products will do fine with its massive installed base, but investors seem to think it’s not enough to stem market share slides in the tablet market or open up new growth opportunities.
11:20 a.m. Cook is back onstage for the wrap-up, including a new iPad ad that shows a pencil on a table with a voiceover talking about all the amazing ways the unnamed product is used. In the last frame, a hand reaches in and pulls out the iPad Air from behind the pencil–highlighting its thinness. “Other companies would be incredibly proud to just have one of these products. We couldn’t be more pleased to be able to introduce all of them to you in time for the holidays,” Cook said.
11:17 a.m. The new iPad mini will have a Retina display, as expected. It will cost $399 or $529 with a mobile chip, and the company will keep selling existing iPad mini for $299. “We have amazing products at every price point,” said Schiller. Unlike almost everything else today, the new Mini won’t be out until late in November.
11.12 a.m. Another video, this time with the Jony Ive voice-over.
11:12 a.m. The graphics performance of the iPad Air is 72 times faster than the original iPad. Large files will open up to twice as fast. There’s now multiple antennas, for Wi-Fi performance that’s up to twice as fast, he said. There’s a 5 megapixel camera and dual microphones. It has the same 10-hour battery life. It comes in “space gray” and black, or silver and white (no gold!?). The price is $499 or $629 with cellular–same as last year. The iPad 2 will still ship, for $399.
11:01 a.m. Yet another video is running, this time showing the myriad ways iPads are used. Say what you want about Apple, but they do make amazing videos. “We want to help our customers create even more amazing stories, because we know this is just the beginning for iPad.” That’s not the opinion of many worried Apple investors and analysts, who think the tablet has already matured into its final form–that only incremental improvements remain to be made.
10:59 a.m. It’s iPad time. Cook shows some funny quotes dissing the concept for the device back in 2010, before saying that sales just passed 170 million. “Now, everyone seems to be making a tablet. Even some of the doubters are making a tablet,” Cook said. But iPads are used four times more than other tablets (81% of total usage, versus 19% according to the pie chart slide that he displayed, which didn’t show the source). That’s due to the integration of hardware, software and 475,000 iPad-optimized apps, Cook said. “But it’s not about quantity. It’s about quality.”
10:58 a.m. Cook is back on stage, and points out that with all of its free apps, “We are turning the industry on its ear.”
10:54 a.m. iWork now offers collaborative editing. “Others would have you spend hundreds of dollars every year,” he says as a slide for the $99 upgrade of Office 365 shows behind him. “But we’re going to do something different,” by making iWork free as well. “I think you’ll see why this is the biggest day ever for apps.”
10:51 a.m. Cue is showing off a slew of new features of iWorks, but reaction in the room is muted. The presenters are getting lots of laughs, but not much in the way of applause. There’s some, but then again, the room is half-filled with Apple employees.
10:41 a.m. Enter Eddy Cue to talk about apps. For example, you can now create photo books from an iOS device, not only from a Mac. Cool–though I still want more flexibility to lay out my annual family calendar even on the Mac.
10:35 a.m. The Mac Pro starts at $2,999. Delivery date still hasn’t changed: it’s still “by the end of the year.” Hmm. The product is the first to be made in the U.S. The project involved 2,000 people in 20 states. They’re now showing an extremely glitzy video that makes computer assembly look incredibly sexy … except for one quick shot of a worker in a clean-room bunny suit using a screwdriver. Still, it’s great that Apple is doing this. Apple may be the only company with the hardware volume to force its supply chains to set up shop here in the U.S.
10:31 a.m. Schiller moves on to the new Mac Pro. One person claps once, cueing him to say, “Well, somebody’s interested in the Mac Pro.” He’s recapping all the technical gee-wizardry. He’s listing specs way faster than I can type. A focus is on the ability to process video, including the ability to support up to three top-of-the-line high-definition displays.
10:26 a.m. The new 13-inch Macbook Pro is lighter, and has the Haswell chip with Intel’s Iris graphics, with up to 9 hours of battery life. Faster Wi-Fi, with 802.11ac, and Thunderbolt 2. While the older 13-inch Macbook Pro cost $1,399, “We’re really happy to tell you the new 13-inch Macbook pro costs just $1299.” It will ship starting today. The 15-inch has Intel’s Crystalwell chip, up to 8 hours of battery life. “It’s just better across the entire system.” Old price was $2,199. New price: $1,999. It also ships today.
10:25 a.m. Phil Schiller is on stage, and is about to demo a new MacBook Pro.
10:24 a.m. First big news of the day. Federighi noted that Apple has reinvented the way OSs are developed and distributed. Now, they’re revolutionizing how they are priced, he said. “The days of spending hundreds of dollars to get the most out of your computer are gone. Because today, we’re announcing that Mavericks … is free.”
10:20 a.m. He’s demoing new calendar functionality. When someone sends an e-mail with appointment information, you can hover to see what the weather will be like and how long it will take to get there via car or walking.
10:15 a.m. There are new apps for the Mac, including Maps with turn-by-turn directions and iBooks. Here comes the demo. The iBooks app is pretty cool. You can drag text or other elements from the book into a work document (not sure if that’s only for iWork, or whether it will also work with Office, for example). Also, there’s new notifications, including notifications from websites for, say, sports updates or products you’re bidding on–like a $395 VW van being auctioned. “That looks like exactly what I need,” jokes Federighi, who is getting lots of laughs. He’s a terrific presenter.
10:12 a.m. Craig Federighi is on stage, talking about Mavericks. There’s better power management, and something called compressed memory that lets you fit 4 gigs of data in 6 gigs of system memory. There’s the new graphics co-processor that kicks in on graphics-intensive apps (but not when the system isn’t being heavily taxed. That I didn’t know).
10:11 a.m. Cook busts on the competition, for having a confused product roadmap–for example, hybrid models that meld elements of tablets and PCs. “Who knows what they will do next? I can’t answer that question, but we have a very clear direction and a very ambitious goal.”
10:06 a.m. Cook recaps launch of iOS 7. “I’m happy to tell you today that almost two-thirds of devices are running iOS 7.” Amazing. If there’s any clearer distinction between Apple and Google, with the fragmentation of Android, I’m not sure what it is. People have downloaded more than 1 million apps on the App Store more than 60 billion times, said Cook. Developers have earned more than $13 billion.
10:05 a.m. They’re showing the video about their corporate philosophy that first ran at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference this summer. Now Cook is on stage. Here comes the iPhone update. He mentions the first weekend sales of nine million. Let’s see if he updates that, after showing a video about that first weekend. And by the way, they did launch right at 10:00 a.m.
9:59 a.m. Okay, let’s see if they’re on time with the launch of this event. The lyrics to the song I don’t know that’s playing go “It’s all better now. Wait for me.” Add your interpretation here.
9:56 a.m. Just a few minutes to showtime. It was chilly out there this morning with the assembled press.
9:41 a.m. Reporters, photographers and other attendees are lining up at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Apple has held numerous product events here, including the iPad 2 introduction in 2011, one of the last with Steve Jobs at the helm.
9:23 a.m. Here’s what we’re expecting to be shown off today: a new iPad mini with Retina display, a slightly redesigned full-size iPad, the new Mac OS X Mavericks operating system and probably a delivery date for the top-of-the-line Mac Pro. Any surprises could add fuel to the stock rally that’s been underway since late June.
8:58 a.m. I’ll be live-blogging from Apple’s event in San Francisco. The company is rounding out its holiday lineup, so expect new iPads and plenty of other products. We should get started around 10 a.m. Pacific Time (1 p.m. Eastern Time).