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The combination of outlandish rumours and Apple’s trademark secrecy mean iLaunches are famously exciting. For all the expectations, no one will really know what Apple’s got up its sleeve until Tim Cook sings. And with a major design overhaul expected, including the first non-3.5in glass to grace an iPhone, Apple’s autumn 2012 event is set to be a glowing highlight in the year’s tech calendar. Join us – and the stars of Apple – for the big reveal at the following times…
While we wait for the event to kick off, why not whet your appetite with some of the recent rumours in our Apple iPhone 5 rumour round-up?
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17:30 We've got our access all areas pass and we're ready to claim our front-row seats at the biggest phone launch of the year. Over the coming hour and a half (ish), we'll be bringing you live updates from Apple's top dogs as they unveil the iPhone 5. Plus we've seen evidence of a new iPod Touch, a new Nano and a massive iTunes overhaul. Grab a comfy chair – this is going to be huge...
17:32 And here's that front-row seat we were talking about. Hope yours is more comfortable...
17:42 Padded wooden chairs. Bassy lounge dance on the stereo. The place is packed with tech glitterati. Exciting times ahead. Only 15 minutes to wait until Apple CEO Tim Cook takes to the stage.
17:46 Speculation on the ground is that we're in for a big One More Thing. Yes please, Apple.
17: 50 So, what will the One More Thing be? The best rumour we've heard is a built-in Pez dispenser. Ten minutes and counting...
17:58 Two minutes to go. "YBCA Theater Program About to Begin" on the screen... eek.
17:59 The music is just too trendy. We should, but don't know what this is.
18:00 We're on - whoops and cheers. "Good morning" says Tim Cook. Blue trousers this time. It was all black last time. Mixing it up.
18:06 Seven million copies of Mountain Lion have been downloaded. Surely that's more than there are actual Mountain Lions.
18:07 iPads - 17 million sold between April and June. That's 84 million in total. More iPads have been sold than all PCs put together in the States.
18:09 iPad accounts for 91 per cent of web traffic on all tablets. "I don't know what these other tablets are doing," quips Tim. Mee-ow.
18:11 There's talk of taking things to the next level. Is this the part where we start sweating?
18:13 It's iPhone time. "Today we're introducing iPhone 5!"
18:14 And it looks just like the rumour pics we've been seeing. Made entirely of glass and aluminium. We'll have pics in a sec... having a few Wi-Fi issues at the event.
18:15 7.6mm thin, 18 per cent thinner than a 4S. And 20 per cent lighter: 112g.
18:16 Retina display - four inches, but it's still got the 326ppi of the 4/4S. Resolution is 1136x640 - that's 16:9 aspect ratio fans.
18:17 Keynotes, Pages, Numbers, GarageBand, iPhoto, iMovie are all being updated.
18:18 Black borders on third-party App Store apps that haven't been resized. We'd expect most devs to update pretty quickly, based on what happened after the iPhone 4 upgraded to the Retina Display.
18:19 Some devs were given early access – CNN, OpenTable, etc – to make use of the bigger screen. "See a bit more of everything," is Apple's mantra of the minute.
18:20 Display has 44 per cent more colour saturation. Yeah, we called that. Not.
18:21 The touch sensors are integrated right into the display. "The most accurate display in the industry." Apple's removed a layer and made it sharper. We can't wait to sear our eyeballs on it.
18:23 iPhone 5 will have LTE – one chip for voice and data and one chip for radio and a dynamic antenna.
18:25 Coming to EE in Europe. As hinted yesterday by EE's CEO, Olaf Swantee.
18:26 Apple A6 chip has 2x faster CPU and 2x faster graphics, plus it's 22 per cent smaller. No word on the number of cores, but we guess Apple doesn't want to get into a spec battle.
18: 27 Nearly twice as fast to load a music app with songs, over twice as fast to launch Pages.
18:28 Rob Murray from EA on stage to demo Real Racing 3. "Real console quality." RR3 looks stunning – particularly the rearview mirror. Plus there's a new Game Center feature: time-shifter multiplayer. You're playing 'interactive ghosts' of your Game Center mates. Coming to the App Store later this year.
18:29 Battery is better than the iPhone 4S. Eight hours 3G talk time, ditto 3G browsing, ditto LTE browsing, 10hrs for Wi-Fi and video, 40 hours for music and 225 hours for standby. That's nearly 10 days.
18:30 Next up: the camera. Sounds a lot like there's no upgrade: 8MP, BSI sensor with an f/2.4 aperture and a 5-element lens. A few camera enhancements: dynamic low light mode for two extra stops of sensitivity, a sapphire crystal cover and better lens alignment: the promise is better snaps tha iPhone 4S.Photo capture is now 40% faster.
18:31 Sly dig at Nokia - these are "untouched" photos. And they look great. Lots of bokeh. We love the word 'bokeh'.
18:32 New mode: Panorama. Just like Sweep Panorama on Sony's cams, and various camera apps already in the App Store. Takes images up to 28MP in size. That's pretty amazing.
18:33 Video capture is 1080p with face detection for up to 10 faces, and features "better image stabilization". Front camera is now 720p, backside-illuminated.
18:35 The big one: it has a new 8-pin connector. The excuse? Everything's wireless these days. It's called Lightning - as in Thunderbolt and Lightning. Partners include Bose, JBL and B&W. Plus there's an adaptor, as expected. Not many claps for any of this. Is that the sound of a decade of accessories going obsolete?
18:37 Scott Forstall is here talking iOS 6. We didn't dwell on Lightning for long – probably sensible.
18:38 Here's Apple Maps. 3D turn-by-turn directions look good, like they did at WWDC 2012 in June.
18:40 The satellite mode is very neat. Flyover mode as impressive as ever. Big Ben is on screen, and the zoom-in rendering on the iPhone 5 looks super-quick. American whoops fill Yerba Buena.
18:42 Scott Forstall shows how easy it is to tweet from within iOS 6. "Love Flyover," he says. Anyone follow Scott? Is he always this exciting?
18:44 Safari – iCloud tabs. This is like Chrome, syncing open tabs between your desktop and mobile versions of Safari.
18:46 Aha. Passbook. Keeping your tickets, passes and storecards in one app on your phone, using on-screen QR codes. But no mention of NFC yet. It's looking bleak on that front. Kind of as we expected. Ah well...
18:48 On to Siri. Siri knows all about sports. Apparently the 49ers beat the Packers last weekend. The crowd loves this fact. They'd probably get a different reaction if this event was in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
18:49 App launching through Siri is very neat, as is Movies – Scott asks what good movies are on locally, and it throws up the ones that received the best Rotten Tomatoes rating first.
18:50 You can also post to Facebook using Siri. Scott posts "looking forward to sushi tonight" as his status, all through Siri. Impressive, but once again - anyone friends with Scott on Facebook? Always this exciting?
18:52 Back to iPhone 5 hardware. Black version has a 'slate'-coloured aluminium back, white gets a silver back. Both look pretty smart. We want to touch them. And we will. Soon.
18:53 "iOS 5 is the best phone we've ever made," says Phil Schiller. Oopsy! Jony Ive's on video: "We take changing the iPhone very seriously."
18:54 "By making the screen taller, but not wider, we can show you more of your content, but it's still easy to use with one hand."
18:55 We're watching a wrap-up video. More on Lightning – it's all digital, and reversible, which will be quite handy. Still - what about all our docks?
18:56 "Never before have we developed a product with this extraordinary level of fit and finish," says Jony Ive.
18:57 The "highly polished, chamfered edges" of the phone are diamond-cut and high-gloss, while the differences between phones are "measured in microns". It's all about the fit and finish.
18:59 How much? Same price as the 4S: US$199 for 16GB, US$299 for 32GB, US$399 for 64GB, all on two-year contracts.
19:00 iPhone 3GS is dead - iPhone 4 8GB is now free on ontract, 4S 16GB is US$99.
19:01 It'll be out here (UK) on September 21st. Whoop!
19:02 iOS 6 comes to your iOS thing next week – 19th September.
19:03 Tim Cook's back: "iPhone 5 and iOS 6, the biggest things to happen to iPhone since iPhone."
19:04 Now we're talking bout music. "Apple loves making music products. Music is embeded into our DNA. Today we're announcing excitng changes to both iPod and iTunes," says Tim. Here's Eddie Cue, talking iTunes.
19:05 iTunes has 26million songs, and 20 billion songs have been downloaded in the last nine years. How much of that is One Direction?
19:06 There are 435million iTunes accounts, all with one-click purchasing. More than two-thirds of downloads come from iOS devices. And so... the iTunes Store has been completely redesigned for iPad, iPhone and iPod.
19:07 You can 'Like' anything on the store direct to Facebook, and share media on Facebook and Twitter. Launches on September 19th, with iOS 6.
19:08 Now we're talking iTunes on PC and Mac. There are 200 million people using iTunes in the Cloud – the new, "dramatically simpler" (thank God) iTunes has iCloud built in.
19:09 The new album browser looks a lot neater, and dangerously easy to buy stuff that's related to what you're listening to. Now, artists can share photos with you. Coldplay can share photos with you. "Here's Gwyneth on our hols in Scarborough," etc.
19:10 Making playlists is much simpler, and search is far neater. iTunes has needed this stuff for a while.
19:11 More Coldplay to demo the new Mini Player. Now Black Keys. Now Foo Fighters. It's like XFM drivetime.
19:12 Still going on the new iTunes. iCloud integration means you can pause on your iPad and pick up on your computer.
19:13 Now this is better. Demoing the iTunes Store with The Boss. No, not Tim Cook. Springsteen.
19:14 Go on to The Boss's page and it'll show you his tour dates. Data from Songkick? We do hope so – Songkick is awesome.
19:15 We're finished with iTunes. Now, Greg Joswiak's on talking iPod. 350 million iPods have been sold so far. "But we don't do this just for the numbers."
19:16 The Nano: "It's about the best portable music experience. We wanted to reinvent the Nano".
19:17 The 7th gen Nano has the Lightning Connector and a much bigger 2.5in multitouch screen. It's 5mm thick – 40 per cent thinner than the 6th gen, with a big control rocker on the left so you don't have to use a screen.
19:18 iPod Nano 7G gets video back, has built-in pedometer and Nike+ integration, plus Bluetooth for streaming to various digital paraphernalia. 7 different colours, FM tuner, 2.5in screen, video, pedometer built in, Bluetooth, new Lightning connector, longest battery ever in a Nano.
19:25 Aha – the iPod Touch: the world's most popular games console." It gets the iPhone 5's 4in widescreen, and it's 6.1mm thick. All-aluminium, with a slight curviness to its back. It has an A5 chip in it – the one that's in the iPhone 4S.
19:26 Demo time: Clumsy Ninja. Weird-looking game. Not sure what it's for. You can tickle your ninja and he hides behind trees to get away from you if you're mean. We prefer Half-life 2.
19:27 iPod Touch battery - 8hrs video, 40 hours music. And the camera is now much better: a 5MP 'iSight', with sapphire crystal lens, BSI sensor and an f/2.4 aperture.
19:30 And Siri on the iPod Touch.
19:32 New feature: iPod Touch Loop. Push the little circle in the bottom left of its back and you get a little pop-out loop you can put a wriststrap through. For kids, we think (surely the biggest market for the Touch).
19:34 For the first time, the Touch can also handle AirPlay mirroring and Siri. All thanks to the A5 chip out of the iPhone 4S.
19:35 Ooh, and it's availble in silver, black, blue, yellow and red. Each gets its own colour-coded loop. Very merry Christmas, Apple.
19:37 There are 600 million sets of iPod headphones in the world. 600 million ways to make music sound terrible. So they're being replaced with EarPods, which took three years to produce.
19:40 So, we've seen some advertising and now Tim Cook's wrapping up the show. There's been a lot - we're no longer expecting a One More Thing...
19:41 And the Foo Fighters are playing... that's probably our cue to go and get hands on with some of this new stuff. We'll have pics and thoughts with you in a bit. Keep checking the stie for more news and reviews. Thanks for staying put. We're out.
All of the iPhones together - but which was the very best