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San Francisco - Live Coverage of Apple Special Event

1:00PM EDT, September 12th, 2006 - Digg This!

[2:24 PM] Steve came back out and told us that's it. Commentary coming soon over at

[2:18 PM] Mr. Legend is launching into a new tune. "It's great to be here. I was just glad to see the presentation," Mr. Legend quipped, referring to the Stevenote.

One more song is it, and we'll see if Steve has a third "One more thing" for us.

[2:14 PM] This is really just for the media folks on hand. Something to make everyone feel special. Apple, or at least Steve, is simply brilliant when it comes to this sort of thing.

In any event, Mr. Legend is on stage with a grand piano (maybe a baby grand -- I don't know my pianos as well as I should). It's telling that no one in the audience left, and we're talking about folks with deadlines here.

[2:13 PM] Steve has one more "One more thing." John Legend is here to perform for the media on-hand for the event. Mr. Legend won three grammys, was nominated for eight, and has a new album coming out.

[2:09 PM] Price will be $299. Some will decry it as too high, but for the target market, that price will work.

[2:08 PM] Apple is in your Den.

Apple is in your living room.

Apple is in your car.

Apple is in your pocket.

This is Steve's message, and it's an effective one.

[2:06 PM] Photo viewing now. Just like with Front Row. This is brilliant, IMNHO. A Front Row set top box is just what Apple needed in its race to own the digital media space.

[2:03 PM] As with Front Row, you can access iTunes to see movie trailers right from iTunes through the iTV. Apple should get paid for that by the studios, but it's likely a part of the movie-selling consideration.

[2:03 PM] Steve is now showing the ability to play music through iTV, just like Front Row. If it's not obvious yet, BTW, iTV's interface is literally a Front Row set top box.

[2:02 PM] The video quality is greatly enhanced over the original tiny resolution offered at iTunes for TV shows.

[2:01 PM] Has a very nice, Front Row-like interface. Very slick, with some awesomee CoreAnimation effects. It's so drastically superior to anything from Microsoft, the cable companies, or even TiVo, though it certainly doesn't have the recording features. This is for playing your iTunes media.

[1:59 PM] Called iTV, this is a Mac mini looking device. Steve says it's a code name, and that a final name will be introduced when the product is released "in the first quarter of next year" (2007).

[1:58 PM] HDMI, WiFi, FireWire, component video, analog vide, digital audio (via optical cable)...These are all the outs. That's a lot of choices.

Controlled via the Front Row remote.

It basicaclly fits between whatever you have in your home entertainment system and your Mac, inclouding a wireless connection.

[1:54 PM] We're looking at some kind of connector from iTunes to your TV. Apple is clearly recognizing that people don't want "Media PCs," by and large.

[1:53 PM] The $12.99 price point is too high IMO, but it's cheaper enough below DVDs that Apple should have yet another hit on its hands.

When I say "too much," I mean in terms of digital distribution vs. the distribution costs of DVDs. Apple isn't the culprit here, if my educated guess means anything, it's the studios, but I am honestly surprised Apple was able to get it *this* low. Look for more commentary from me later today.

Note that I missed a new iPod nano that is tiny. Very cool looking. I think I missed something else, but the boys in TMO Towers will hopefully fill you in.

Oh, and "One mor thing..."

[1:52 PM] Bob Iger is heaping priase on Apple, calling the company creative, and in other ways swell (my wording).

[1:45 PM] Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, is on stage talking things up. The deal with Pixar and Disney, Eisner's ouster, the TV shows, and now the movies...It's no coincidence.

[1:44 PM] Apple will be adding movies, of course, each month, but Steve didn't indicate how many.

That said, Bob Iger said his company will be adding movies from their library (i.e. older flicks) on a "day to day basis."

[1:41 PM] Appears that some movies will be $9.99 at first.

[1:40 PM] "But, there is one more thing. And that is movies." So says Steve. That makes it official, Apple is adding films from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures, and Miramax Films. Apple is launching the service with 70 films, including Pirates of the Carribean and Cars.

Movies will be available the same day as DVDs.

Prices will be $12.99 during a pre-order time period. After the first week, they will go up to $14.99. This is contrary to some published reports from earlier today.

[1:40 PM] Movies will be 640 x 480, downlaodable in 30 minutes with 5 MB/sec connections. Movies are watchable as they download.

[1:39 PM] Videos also have a graphical view, allowing you to pick them by what appears to be the opening frame.

[1:37 PM] Gapless playback seems to work quite well. Steve demoed some Pink Floyd and Classical music that transitioned perfectly from one song to another, just like the original recordings. In my opinion, this is a small, necessary and overdue feature, but I am glad it's here now!

[1:35 PM] The cover art view is sortable by artist, in addition to alphabetical. For those of us harkening back to the LP era, it's a natural view.

[1:35 PM] There is also a new album view which allows you to see your tunes organized in blocks, by album, with the songs listed in track order. Very cool in its presentation.

The album cover art view is very slick and is similar to the CoreAnimation demo we got at the WWDC keynote.

[1:32 PM] Two or more Macs or PCs authorized with the same iTunes account can share the same iTunes downloads. That's a big, necessary step, in terms of DRM limitations.

[1:32 PM] New TV show manager included in iTunes that will handle what TV shows are included on your iPod automatically, according to your criteria.

[1:29 PM] Here, a tad late, so let's dig into it. Apple is introducing a new version of iTunes.

One new feature will be to provide album art for music you ripped yourself if you have an iTunes account. Apple is also introducing a new view to find albums via album art.

TV shows will be at TV resolutions (640x480).

Gapless playback will be provided.

A new installer and manager for iPod and iTunes is being added.

[1:28 PM] New iPods! The video capable iPod now has a 60% brighter screen, and comes in 30 or 80GB capacities. The new nano is thinner, and replaces the plastic case with aluminum. It comes in colors, just like the iPod mini it replaced. The nano is availalbe in 2, 4, and 8gb capacities. The second generation iPod shuffle is completely redesigned. It's small. really small. About the size of the iPod radio remote. It has an aluminum body, and a built-in clip.

All are available now, except for the shuffle. It will ship in October.

[1:26 PM] Well, it seems like it's our turn to hit a technological brick wall. We're still trying here, but it seems like today's coverage from TMO is going to come in the form of our in-depth, post-event analysis pieces. Stay tuned to for all of that and more!

And yes, we'll be here, live for you, for the next special event. This particular technological hurdle won't hit us again. We promise.

Edit: no sooner did we post this, than the above coverage appeared. Thank goodness!

[12:47 PM] Greetings, all! If technically and otherwise possible, this is where the live coverage from Apple's Special "Showtime" Event will appear today. Either way, keep checking The Mac Observer for updates during the event.