Live from the launch of the new iPod

[intro]We'll be blogging live from the Apple launch this evening from 5.30pm BST[/intro] 19.10 That's it. Check back for my first impressions over on

[intro]We'll be blogging live from the Apple launch this evening from 5.30pm BST[/intro]

19.10 That's it. Check back for my first impressions over on the Future Stuff blog later this evening, plus we'll have a full news story and official pics over on the news pages.

19.05 The had of Starbucks is talking about the 'global reach' of Starbucks. They open 7 new stores every day. Shame their coffee doesn't taste of coffee. Be warned, folks, the global Apple/Starbucks hegemony has begun. I'll have a double-shot skinny cappuccino with a touch of iPod please. One good thing - you can sit outside a Starbucks and get free access to the iTunes Music Store. The whole deal starts in October in New York and Seattle, with all stores in the US offering the service by 2009. Doesn't sound like it's coming to Europe any time soon.

18.59 And finally... there's a partnership with Starbucks ('We love Starbucks... it's an incredible phenomenom'). Right, here it goes: when you pass a starbucks you get a new button on the Touch that allows you to buy the song playing in Starbucks. I'm struggling to get excited about this, but here comes the demo ('They've just built a Starbucks backstage'). Meh. Great if you're into the later works of Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell I guess. Was this built specifically for Steve and his baby boomer buds? I think so... Dammit, I thought he was gonna finish with the Beatles thing.

18.58 I think that's pretty much it. We're off to get hands on with the new iPods. The Nano is the only one that worries me. It looks a little ugly, but hey I'm sure I'll get used to it. The iPod classic in 160GB is tempting but it's the 16GB Touch that gets me going.

18.56 Yup, the Wi-Fi iTunes Store will come to iPhone too.

18.54 Steve is showing off the Wi-Fi iTunes Music Store. It seems like a pretty simple idea, but it's been wrapped up - as you'd expect - with Apple's trademark ease of use. It works really quickly - at least in this demo, which Steve assures us is 'all live', and could be dangerous for impulsive music buyers who happen to get drunk in Wi-Fi hotspots (am I the only one?). The pricing is the same as the normal iTunes Music Store, obvioulsy, which is one in the eye for mobile networks: a full quality song at a proper price, with no dual downloads to worry about.

18.51 One more thing... there's an empty spot on the Touch for the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. It looks different that iTunes on a PC, of course. But it works the same - You get free previews, buy with one touch, then syncs back to your itunes when you next dock your iPod. Surely this must come to the iPhone too. You can search for anything in the iTunes music store.

18.50 Having just spent £260 on a 4GBiPhone that doesn't work as a phone, I'm a bit jealous.

18.48 8GB $299 1GB $399. Shipping this month (but not quite yet).

18.46 Good news - it's shipping all around the world. It has 22 hours of audio playback and 5 hours of video.

18.41 It has YouTube too - so it really is a phoneless iPhone (does that just make it an 'i'?)

18.38 But wait... there's more. It has Wi-Fi built in after all. This is amazing. 'Some others have done this... and have failed'. Eat that, Microsoft. It includes the Safari web browser. This could seriously affect iPhone sales, because in my view it's the best mobile web browser in the world.

18.37 This is a beautiful MP3 player, but it's still clearly flash-memory based - so I expect memory will top out at 8 or maybe 16GB. Which is a little bit of a shame because video looks gorgeous on the 3.5in screen.

18.36 As you'd expect it features many of the iPhone, including the accelerometer that allows you to view pictures and video in landscape, and go to coverflow by turning the device. The first song Steve plays is Beck's 'cellphone is dead'. Surely not the iPhone, Steve?

18.34 The iPod Touch is with us. It looks like an iPhone but it's thinner - just 8mm thick. 'We think it's one of the seven wonders of the world'. It features MultiTouch and includes pictures but I don't think Wi-Fi... let's find out!

18.29 They'll be a 160GB version too. They'll all feature the same interface as the Nano. It'll cost $349. The smaller is $249. Available today.

18.28 And now... the iPod. 'It's got a funny name... today we're going to call it the iPod Classic'. I think there has to be an iPod Touch coming... The Classics look the same and they're thinner than they're predecessors. They're 80GB and give 30 hours of battery life.

18.23 24 hours of audio playback and 5 hours of video, which is pretty much the same as the old nano. Except for the video bit, obviously. The storage: 4gb (silver, $149 - same price as old 2gb) 8GB (all colours, $199 - same price as old 4gb). Ship today

18.22 I'm not sure about the mini scrollwheel but the Nano's coverflow interface - similar to the iTunes/iPhone interface, with a 3D carousel - is to die for. I keep noticing Beatles album artwork on Steve's iPod... could it be a sign?

18.20 The 204ppi 2in screen has the same resolution as the iPod video. it comes bundled with 3 games.

18.15 The new nano will play video with a larger brighter display with Cover Flow. It'll also have games, more storage and a full metal design. And the reveal - it is a much wider but shorter Nano as featured in spy pics on the web.It's incredibly thin and available in a range of colours - re, black, silver, blue and green.

18.11 now the iPod. Every single iPod will be refreshed. First up, the Shuffle will get new  colours (wow) including a (Product) Red shuffle for charidy. Same storage, same price.

18.10 iTunes shows which songs you can make a ringtone from by showing a bell by the song title - and you get to choose which bit of a song to make a ringtone out of by viewing the audio file, GarageBand stylee. Steve's showing this feature off now - he makes one from 'give peace a chance' and says 'that's for when NBC calls'. (NBC just pulled its shows from iTunes)

18.08 New version of iTunes will include a custom ringtone maker - you can make ringtones from half a million songs from the store, then sync with iPhone. They'll cost 99c in addition to the cost of the song (so figure 79p here in the UK, plus 79p for the song).

18.05 Steve is talking numbers - iTunes is the number one service in all 22 countries its in, with 3 billion songs sold and 6 million songs available on every store. 125,000 podcasts available, including ours of course. In the US 32% of music releases were digital only.

17.59 The satellite link-up has begun, after a brief intro by Apple's CEO Pascal Cagni who bigged up Apple's successes in Europe, where it's apparently outpacing the market by a factor of 3 in both PCs and MP3 players. He also hinted that we'd get to touch a new, exciting product tonight... and now Steve Jobs is about to take the stage.

17.25 I'm in! And, even better, I have a 3G connection. At least until all of the other journalists here at the BBC TV Centre steal all the bandwidth. We're all waiting for the live satellite broadcast of Steve Jobs's keynote to begin.

 

We're girding our loins for Apple's latest announcement, which is likely to be the biggest refresh of the iPod since the introduction of the video iPod two years ago.

We're hoping for a video-playing Nano and touchscreen 160GB iPod proper (which might look like the iPhone, pictured above). Is that too much to ask?

More after the break...

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