Apple Launches the iPhone 4S (Live Blog)

3:01 ET: Thanks for following along. We’ll have a wrap-up on the iPhone 4S posted soon.

2:50 ET: iPhone aside, it’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out among all the iPhone fans who expected the iPhone 5 today. Since it’s Apple, I suspect they’ll come out ahead. Still, you could hear people slumping in their chairs all around the world just now.

2:43 ET: Prices: 16 GB – $199; 32 GB- $299; 64 GB – $399

2:42 ET. Well, gang, that’s all she wrote. Lights are going up.

2:39 ET: “I want to thank you for joining us?”

2:39 ET: “I am so proud of this team… I want to thank you for joining us.”

2:38 ET: He says:

“Now, when you look at each of these, they’re great and fantastic and industry leading in and of themselves. But what sets them apart, and what puts Apple way out front, is how they’re engineered to work so well together.”

2:37 ET: Cook — I mean Tim — is back. He’s recapping…

2:35 ET: The Unofficial Apple Weblog provides background and context on Siri:

Apple picked up mobile assistant app Siri quite a while ago, but only at today’s event did we finally see why. The company is relaunching the app as official, though it will keep the name Siri. To access it, all you’ll have to do is hold down the home button, and then a little purple mic will pop up, listening in to whatever question you ask. From your question, Siri will then find any and all pertinent information, including data about the weather, stock and clock information, and even searches for local restaurants and businesses. You can ask for directions and get them right away, or even get messages read off to you via Bluetooth, and create calendar appointments and replies right inside the Siri system.

The whole thing is very impressive, and if it works as well as Siri did, Apple’s phone has yet another killer feature on it. Unfortunately, Apple said that Siri is “the coolest feature of the new iPhone 4S,” so presumably you’ll need the new handset to make use of the feature. We’ll double-check on that going forward, but all indications are that Siri will be 4S-only.

2:32 ET: If that’s the case, I think some Apple PR people will be in for some very, very bad days.

2:30 ET: Our friends at It’s a Gadet think the iPhone 4S announcement may have been the main event.

2:29 ET: Siri will support for English, French and German. It’ll be launched in Beta.

2:27 ET: Siri has a personal assistant, too. Or maybe it IS a personal assistant. Whatever, it’s cool.

2:24 ET: Says This Is My Next:

The tech is pretty amazing — Siri will follow along with your actions and understand context. Still, Scott has to talk to the machine slowly, like you would to a child or a foreign language speaker.

2:23 ET: iPhone 4S’s voice system is called Siri. Phil Scott Forstall asks what is the weather like today?” Siri replies “Here is the weather for today.”

2:22 ET: Another note about iOS that I didn’t report:

Apple’s Game Center, which allows multiple people to play games together at the same time, has registered 67 million users after launching only a year ago.

2:21 ET: Another great note from the Guardian folks:

(Look, after all this if they don’t have an iPhone 5 then people are going to lynch someone. All that just for this?)

2:19 ET: Now, Schiller moves on to voice on the 4S. (Should I be  calling him “Phil”? seems like everyone at Apple goes by their first name, even Mr. Jobs.)

2:17 ET: John Pozadzides on Google+ says Apple’s just launched  “iSNIFF! A Scratch-N-Sniff variant of the iPod/iPhone which incorporates a revolutionary permanently scented poly-plastic resin!” Scratch the device to small an Appletini. This is a joke. You probably knew that, but I’m just being sure.

2:15: While Schiller’s stabilizing, an iOS app I didn’t mention: Find My Friends.” It lets you find friends and family if they’ve opted into sharing their location with you. TechCrunch notes that it sounds a lot like Google’s Latitude.

2:12 ET:And now… get ready for…. VIDEO STABILIZATION.

2:11 ET: Best snark so far: from Schiller: “The new iPhone 4S takes just 1.1 seconds to the first photo. And just half a second for the next shot. I don’t know what Droid Bionic customers have to do between taking pictures… like, go get coffee.”

2:09 ET: Guardian notes that Schiller doesn’t usually toss specs out like this — and now he’s Mr. Numbers Guy.

2:08 ET: iPhone 4S camera ist f2.4 and 30% sharper.

2:06 ET: And, it’s got a new camera – designed to rival point-and-shoot cameras, not smartphones. New sensor, 8 megapixels – 60% more than in the iPhone 4 camera. New sensor brings in more light. It’s all a lot faster, has a Hybrid IR filter.

2:04 ET: It’s not 4G, but it’s just as fast, he says. “We think it’s even faster with our updates.”

2:02 ET: Schiller: “…As you know we revolutionized with these steel bands on the outside of the phone. We’ve done something technically amazing. It can now intelligently switch between the antennas for even better call quality.”

2:01 ET: The new iPhone 4S will be seven times faster than the its predecessor, but look the same on the outside.

1:59 ET: An Schiller talks about the…. iPhone 4. With an A5 chip. CEO of Epic Games is coming up to show it off.

1:58 ET: Schiller also talked about a white iPod Touch, starting at $199.

1:57 ET: Phil Schiller says it’s time to start talking about the iPhone. Anyone taking bets on whether he says it’s a nice product, and then talks about the Touch?

1:55 ET: More details if you want them on the cards app, from Apple Insider.

1:48 ET: Update on iPod Nano… Added new features. Can swipe between icons instead of seeing a grid. New fitness apps to track your walk and runs (I won’t be using that). Phil Schiller’s doing the presentation.

1:46 ET: iCloud available Oct. 12. iTunes Match available at the end of October. Now they’re beginning an iCloud promo video.

1:45 ET: Cue’s now talking about iTunes Match. Cnet says this is WWDC deja vue. Nothing much new.

1:42 ET: Guardian wonders if Tim Cook’s getting ready to come out juggling chainsaws. The iSaw?

1:39 ET: Let’s talk about iCloud now… Apple says it’s so cool. When GOOGLE says it, we’ll be impressed. Eddie Cue’s doing the presentation. He’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.

1:37 ET: iOS 5 coming out on Oct. 12, possibly.

1:35 ET: Recapping the 10 best iOS features: iOS message, Twitter integration, location-based reminders…

1:30 ET: From MSNBC, a photo of the venue in Cupertino. It ain’t the Moscone Center.

1:28 ET: Guardian:

It seems really retrograde. Is this Apple looking to revive the postal services somehow?

1:26 ET: Showing a new app… a greeting card app? You make the card online and Apple mails it for you. (For $2.99. But then your app tracks it. Kinda cool.)

1:23 ET: Cook: “Today, we’re taking iOS to the next level.” Apple’s VP of Software Scot Forstall takes the stage.

1:21 ET: Cook: 92% of Fortune 500 are testing or deploying the iPod. Cnet notes about 30% of adults say they use the iPad in the bathroom. (Which is why the People magazine app is so popular.)

1:19 ET: Fun fact, from the Guardian:

Notable thing: Cook does his slides in different colours from Jobs. He uses greys and blues, where Jobs was greens and greys and blacks.

1:18 ET: And….. “We’ll come back to iPhone in a bit.” Who writes this stuff? Now talking about iPad. A lot of love for this product.

1:17 ET: Cook: 93% of Fortune 500 is testing or deploying the iPhone.

1:16 ET Cook’s starting to talk iPhone. iPhone 4 half of all iPhones they’ve sold.

1:16 ET: More than 300 million iPods sold. Cook: “It took Sony 30 years to sell 220,000 Walkmen.”

1:14 ET: Talking about iPod. It’s had more than 70% market share since the day it launched. Cnet loves the fact Apple can toss those kind of figures around.

1:13 ET: “Cook: 70% of people still buying something else. We have a lot of work to do.”

1:12 ET: Live blogs are apparently crashing all over the world.

1:11 ET: On the the Macbook Air! It’s light! It’s popular!

1:08 ET Now, Cook is going to being “walking through” all of Apple’s products, starting with OS X Lion. (6 million downloads.)

1:07 ET: Cook talks about OS, mobile services, mobile apps.

1:06 ET: Some backing and filling by tech media going on. Apple never said this was an iPhone 5 announcement, after all – what if it’s not?

1:04 ET: Cook’s building it up – talking about other events that’ve been shown off in Cupertino – like the MacBook Air (which, for the record, I want.)

1:03 ET: Tim Cook takes the stage.

1:02 ET: Event’s beginning now – or at least the logo’s on screen. Apple’s not streaming video of this one.

12: 57 ET: Molly Wood and Brian Tong on Cnet Live are trying to damp down how exciting the device’s features may be. “A software event, not a hardware event.”

12:52 ET: If it is, in fact, the iPhone 5 that launches this afternoon, it may not run on the fastest networks. Sources tell The Wall Street Journal the device will work on 3G networks, not long-term evolution or WiMAX fourth-generation networks.

12: 32 ET: eWeek says Samsung may try to block Apple’s launch of the iPhone 5. Since Apple’s event starts in about 20 minutes, let’s figure the report, if true, means distribution and not announcement.

The situation between frenemies Samsung and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is looking increasingly dire, which could lead to Samsung seeking to block the launch of the iPhone 5 in the U.S. and Europe, according to an analyst.

Jefferies & Co. Analyst Peter Misek thinks Samsung might ask for injunctions preventing the launches of the iPhone 5 in the U.S. and Europe. Which, of course, could lead Apple to find other suppliers for components for its devices.

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