Live coverage of the Apple iPod launch

19.15 I'm now backstage and i take it back - the new nano is far from mediocre. It's gorgeous, and the UI is a leap forward. Check back for more thoug

19.04 Yup, it's over. I'm goint to go next door and test out the new iPods and see what I

reckon. Check back for some thoughts, pics and videos later.

19.00 In case you're wondering if I'd disappeared, I'm still here. It's just that Jack Johnson is enganging in some teeth-grinding mumble-patter with the audience - before launching into another of his acoustic ballads. Hmmm. I'm just keen to go next door and get hands on with the new pods, to be honest. And ask what happened to the Shuffle.

18.56 You can undestand why Apple might be a little upset with accessory manufactuers - the constant rumours about a new iPod nano, combined with spy pics like this, means that the only design change was pretty well known. So it's hard not to feel a little disappointed. Jack's still singing, though - not sure he counts as a fat lady...

18.50 And that's it, I think - Steve's going to intro some music. So it's not a massive change to the iPod line up. And to celebrate a slightly underwhelming performance from Apple, some slightly underwhelming music from Jack Johnson, the iTunes Store's number one selling artist. Will there be a One More Thing afterwards? I wouldn't hold your breath. Let me do that for you...

18.48 New 2.1 software for the touch is free to version 2.0 users, but older touch owners will have to pay more. iPhone also has 2.1 software which offers fewer call drops, better battery life, faster backing up to iTunes and multiple bug fixes. That's coming at the weekend.

18.47 We'll report back on UK pricing as soon as we have it.

18.46 The new iPod has a really shiny back too - looks very nice. It's available in 8GB for a lower price of $229, 16GB for $299 (the same price as the old 8GB) and 32GB for $399. Available today.

18.45 Battery life is 36 hours of music and 6 hours of video on the new iPod Touch. It has the same green credentials as the new iPod nano.

18.42 From EA comes Need For Speed Undercover, the racing game. It looks pretty slick but I'll reserve judgement until I play it.

18.41 Next up is a game called Real Football 2009 (Real Soccer in the US) from Gameloft. It's a 3D football game. The intro looks pretty cool but controls will be interesting (or just rubbish) - there are virtual d-type controls plus gesture controls. Schiller just scored a ludicrously easy goal. Not sure about this one.

18.38 Phil Schiller is now on stage to dem some new games. But first the one that came out yesterday - Spore Origins. It's only the first part of the Spore game, when you're amoebic, but it looks gorgeous. In a hold-on-isn't-this-just-tamagotchi-with-knobs-on kinda way. But it gets better - add a few eyes, add some shields, anything you like. Then you're ready to go out into the world and try to survive. You control your amoebic thingy with motion sensitivity, eat things and try not to be eaten.

18.34 App Store - over 100,000,000 apps have already been downloaded - in just 60 days! The App Store is available in 62 countries.

18.33 It's certainly not a radical redesign - and certainly not enough to make current Touch users upgrade.

18.32 Nike+ iPod is built in, including the receiver - so you just need the transmitter in your shoe. Very cool.

18.29 new iPod touch is even thinner. It has a volume button on the side (the number one request). It has a speaker, plus Genius playlists. The UI is enhanced a bit too - 'nicer to scroll through songs'

18.28 There are new accessories too - a tiny inline remote on the headphone cable, plus a microphone for use with the new voice recording feature. But you'll have to pay $29 for them. There are also new earbuds that look like Shure with 2 drivers in each - $79.

18.25 8GB $149 16GB $199 - and available in 8 bright colours. 8Gb available today, 16GB next week.

18.24 The new iPod is green(ish) too - arsenic, mercury and PVC free and 'highly recyclable'.

18.23 The accelerometer makes photo viewing more fun too, and the display looks clear. 24 hours battery life for music, 4 hours for video.

18.21 The interface looks like a real improvement - Steve is giving us a demo now, including the Genius playlists. They've also stolen a Sony feature - 'shake to shuffle', which does what it says on the tine. Don't like a song? Just shake the pod...

18.20 holding the centre button down allows you to access genius playlists or add the song to an on-the-go playlist. And for the first time it has voicenotes.

18.20 The new Nano has curved class, has better UI and an accelermeter. It also has Genius built in for playlists on the go. The accelerometer means you can use the cover flow view if you hold it landscape.

18.19 It's the thinnest iPod everand it's the same shape as the old 2G iPod nano - longer and thinner.

18.19 iPod nano - Steve's already alluded to accessory manufacturers spilling the beans. He's going through the generations before the big reveal. And it's just as we thought it would be.

18.18 120GB iPod classic for the same price at the old 80GB. 160GB discontinued.

18.17 cumulative iPod sales now over 160million.

18.16 iPod - in July iPod has 73.4% market share in the US - number 2 is 'other' with 15.4. Sandisk has 8.2%, Microsoft has just over 2%.

18.15 iTunes 8 is available today, for free naturally.

18.13 Steve is making a rock n roll playist with Genius - That'll be the Day goes with Heartbreak Hotel, and then the genius sidebar suggests songs to pay money for.

18.12 The grid view allows you to browse by genres - and see what's inside them by hovering your mouse over the icons - like events in iPhoto.

18.10 Steve's doing a demo of Genius - using the new grid view.

18.08 Genius also suggests songs to buy from iTunes. Or, you know, download from elsewhere! Apple's genius algorythms sends up information about your music library to iTunes (is that dodgy) so that 'we can learn about your musical tastes' (apparently it's all anonymous). All the information is combined with information from other users, and that allows Genius to 'get smarter and smarter'. The hive mind is here!

18.07 Genius allows you to create playlists of songs that readlly work together with just one click.

18.06 There's a new grid view for browsing, which looks nice but hardly revolutionary.

18.05 iTunes 8 has 'a bunch of new stuff in it'. It has HDTV shows, accessibility, new browsing features and Genius.

18.04 HDTV shows availabe in the US for $2.99, and they can be watched on your computer, not just on Apple TV like movies. NBC is also coming back.

18.03 The iTunes store now has 8.5m songs in the US, 5,000 movies and 3,000 apps. Oh, and 65,000,000 customers. They're now the number one music distributor in the US.

18.01 Steve puts a slide up saying 'reports of my death are exaggerated', referring to a recent erroneous obituary that was published by Bloomberg. He gets a laugh.

18.00 Steve is on stage!

17.58 The feed from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco is now live, showing an even larger packed audience including Apple's co-founder Steve 'Woz' Wozniak, who recently admitted he hacked his iPhone. Gotta love him. Not surprising he fell out with Jobs, though!

17.56 Pascal is wrapping up the European side of things with news that a big German newspaper publisher is moving to using Macs. But now he's inviting us "to rock". Steve should be on soon.

17.55 There are 3.2km of shop windows in Europe dedicated to Apple products... more random facts to follow...

17.53 Apple Stores are growing with a new store in Bristol and Belfast, plus European expansion.

17.50 The iTunes store in Europe now has over 8million songs available. In the first 3 quarters of 08 iTunes revenue is up 45%. Market share for the iPod has grown in the UK by 16%. Apple has been outperforming the PC market by a ratio of 2:3, with 47% year-on-year growth for the Mac business.

17.49 Apple's European boss Pascal Cagni is now taking stage for an introduction. He's giving an update on the iPhone 3G.

17.47 As usual, you'll get updates to the action at the top of the post, and we're going to do our best to post a few more pictures than we have before. Naturally we're limited by bandwidth... but fingers crossed!

17.45 It's likely we'll see a new version of iTunes, too - you can read rumours of a new auto playlist feature called genius on a previous post. But there's talk amongst the journalists (aka professional speculators) here that Apple may introduce a subscription music service. But with Napster struggling, I think that's unlikely. A movie subscription service might make more sense.

17.40 Although it's only early September, this annual iPod event is turning into the de facto start of the Christmas period. It's against this new generation of iPods that all other media players will be judged. And Apple needs to get it right - the latest players from Creative, Archos, iRiver and Sandisk are all closing the gap in terms of features and price. But one area where Apple seems to win every time is design. So it'll be interesting to see what tweaks are coming - and whether we'll have any shocks.

The end of the hard-drive based Classic? It's unlikely, as flash memory is still to expensive for high capacities. Huge price cuts are more likely. And where does that leave the Shuffle - it hasn't had a redesign for two years and is looking more feature light than ever. Perhaps it's time for a new budget iPod for these credit crunched times?

17.35 There must be at least 500 people from around Europe sitting in this darkened auditorium waiting for the announcement. And more are still arriving. Quite a few are journalists, but there are also swathes of besuited analysts, plus manufacturers and retailers - all desperate to find out what's next in the world of iPod.

17.31 The buzz is that we'll see a new Nano with larger screen, and a revamped touch. Hard to tell what will be new with the Touch, though - a 64GB version would be nice but likely very pricey.

17.28 BST. We're in the foyer waiting for the event to begin - and yes,

we have mobile coverage! Steve Jobs and his black turtleneck will be

beamed in front of our faces in about half an hour.

Apple is expected to unveil its new range of iPods, plus revamped iTunes software, at a special event on Tuesday 9 September.

We'll be on hand to blog the event live, take pictures, and hopefully get hands on with the new players.

Check back at 17.30 BST for the start of our live coverage. And take a look at our Twitter feed for news too!

Read our Apple iPod rumour roundup

Exclusive: Nano 4G revealed

More iPod nano pictures unveiled

Rumour: iTunes 8 to feature 'genius' playlist generator