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Live: Apple iPod event, 9/9/09, San Francisco

The view from inside the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Photo: Jon Fortt.

Will we get new iPods with video recording? Will Steve Jobs show or won’t he? Refresh this page during the event for live updates. It all begins at 10 a.m. PT, 1 p.m. ET. The presentation is about to begin.

Steve Jobs walks out on stage to a standing ovation. He clearly appreciates the reception. He still looks quite gaunt — much like he did before he took his leave. Applause lasts a good 45 seconds.

He says he has the liver of a person in his or her mid-20s who died in a car crash and donated organs. He asks everyone to consider organ donation. He thanks the Apple community, and Tim Cook and the rest of the Apple executive team.

Steve Jobs announces sales of 30 million iPhones.

Users have downloaded more than 1.8 billion apps, not including updates.

Today there’s something new for iPhoen and iPod Touch owners: OS 3.1. The new stuff includes:

Genius technology. The same recommendation technology that works on songs in iTunes now works for apps in the App Store. He’s showing it in slides. There’s a Genius button there with recommendations.

Ring tones: Adding ring tones to the iTunes store for $1.29. (These are pre-made ringtones, unlike the ones you can make yourself in iTunes now.)

3.1 is free for both iPhone and iPod Touch owners.

He says iTunes is now the #1 music retailer in the world. More than 8.5 billion songs have been sold, and there are more than 100 million accounts on iTunes, all with credit cards.

Today: iTunes 9.

He’s quoting my “iTunes Genius is pure genius” review. Cool.

Now there are new genius features. Now there are Genius mixes.

There’s also improved syncing. You can be more specific about what you want to sync – photos, but specifically events and faces.  You can also be more specific in movies.

The best thing, though: A new way to manage apps on the iPod Touch and iPhone. You can arrange them how you want, and then automatically change them around. (There was a jailbroken app that did this already, but it’s nice to have it official.)

He’s also announcing Home Sharing, a feature that allows you to more easily move files from one computer to another, or to stream it from one to another.

Now, the iTunes Store. There’s better navigation with cleaner layout, bigger image display.

Now, iTunes LP. Jobs says he misses LPs, which came with essays, liner notes, pictures. He’s showing iTunes LP for American Beauty, the Dead album. Dylan, Doors, Norah Jones, Pearl Jam, DMB.

Someone’s up on stage to demo iTunes 9.

He’s showing app organization. It shows all the pages, and you can rearrange the apps by drag and drop. You can even select more than one app at a time. In a list to the left, it shows all the apps. You can even rearrange pages. When you’re done, click apply and the changes are made.

Now he’s demoing Home Sharing. He enters an iTunes account and password. it loads his wife Laura’s library. He can see everything, including apps. And he can stream things from there. He can also select items and drag them to his own playlist. (The confusing thing — I can’t tell if he has his wife’s computer here, or if he’s doing it remotely. Big difference.)

Now, the iTunes Store. There’s a new navigation bar at the top that makes it easier to jump from one category to another. There’s now a quick view within iTunes that pulls up album information and lets you browse songs. You can also post information about songs and albums directly to Facebook. Clearly an attempt to use social media to spark viral buying. It will be interesting to see if it works out that way.

iTunes LP: Showing The Doors. The lyrics are in there, too. Awesome photos. Very interesting. It would be really great if this stuff synced over to iPods and iPhones; not clear yet whether that works. Now he’s showing Dave Matthews Band LP, with art Matthews drew himself. Looks pretty cool on the screen, but I wonder whether seeing it on the screen is as cool as having something tangible.

There are also iTunes extras for movies, like the special features in DVDs. He’s showing the extras for WALL-E. Cool – probably going to give some in Hollywood migraines, but cool.

Phil Schiller is up to talk about the iPod.

Apple has sold 220 million iPods to date and has 73.8% market share. Apparently more than half of iPod buyers are new to the iPod. The iPod touch is the fastest growing. Apple has sold more than 20 million of them so far, in addition to 30 million iPhones. He’s reviewing features of the iPod touch. WiFi, now Genius, Genius Playlists, Genius Mixes.

It’s also a great pocket computer. He’s talking about apps, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook. “It really fits in your pocket. Not everybody can say that.” He shows a picture of someone trying to shove a Dell netbook into their back pocket and ripping it.

It’s a great game machine. He’s comparing the touch to the PSP and DS, saying it’s better. (Some gamers would call this a stretch; the DS is one of the best-selling gaming titles of all time.) Now he’s showing how many game and entertainment titles are available for each platform, with the DS showing just under 4,000 and the iPod more than 21,000. (While that may be true, it doesn’t account for quality; there are a lot of free games on the iPod, and a lot that are just junk. So, not a very fair or relevant comparison.)

Some developers are coming onstage to talk about games. First, Ubisoft’s Ben Mattes, producer of Assassin’s Creed. He’s talking about Assassin’s Creed II, Discovery. Very interesting graphics – not so great by console standards, but great for mobile. You can put your own face on the wanted faces around town, which is a nice use of the platform. Arrives November 11.

Next, Bart Decrem from Tapulous. He says they wanted a million users in the first year, and got them in three weeks. Now, Riddim Ribbon. You race down a ribbon and try to stay on it. If you slip off, your mix gets stripped down to basics and you have to build it back up. Very cool – exciting to watch, and it must be really engrossing to play. Reminds me of a mobile version of Dance Dance Revolution. The crowd is really excited about this one.

Next, Mark Hickey from Gameloft. He’s showing a first-person shooter called Nova. You’re a space marine defending the world from an alien attack. (The graphics are VERY nice.) You can listen to your iPod within the game, which is a nice touch. There’s the option to switch guns, zoom in with a sniper rifle. It ships later this year.

Last, Travis Boatman from Electronic Arts. Madden 10 is coming to the iPod. All 32 teams. He’s showing 49ers vs. Steelers. Defense has a deep playbook. You can tap on defenders to switch, and he picks one and intercepts. Wow — a feature called hot routes lets you re-draw routes right on the screen. He uses the feature and throws a touchdown pass. Hot.

Schiller’s back onstage. He calls the iPod touch the most affordable gateway to the App Store. (Side note: I think I might see Google CEO Eric Schmidt in the audience. That would be especially interesting since he’s no longer on Apple’s board.)

The iPod touch’s price is coming down today to $199 for the 8GB version. The $299 and $399 versions get upgraded to 32GB and 64GB. The higher-end versions will be 50% faster, and will have OpenGLs. He’s showing an ad now. It’s a quick showcase of some of the most popular games, a few of which I recognize.

Now, iPod classic. They’re keeping it. They’re bumping up the capacity to 160GB from 120GB. But that’s all.

iPod shuffle: now there will be more headphones that work with it, and there will be an adapter that lets you use any headphones. Also, colors: black, silver, pink, green and blue. $59 for 2GB, 4GB at $79. Also, a special edition make of polished stainless steel for $99. (Interesting for a penny-pinching holiday season.)

Jobs is back onstage to announce one more thing: a video camera. YouTube serves up 1 billion streams a day. He shows the Flip, which has 4GB at $149. Apple will have 8GB for … free, he says. There will be a video camera built into every iPod nano. (So, not exactly free, but, you know.) It’s a fifth as thick, and a tech the volume of competitors, he says. He’s showing video from it. Looks pretty good – but I wonder what the specs are. You have to sync video to your computer to upload it to YouTube, of course, because there’s no connectivity in the iPod nano.

There is also an FM radio built into the nano, and a voice recorder app and a pedometer. (With the pedometer you can sync up to Nike+, which is a nice touch.) It also comes in polished anodized aluminum with nine colors. Two models, available today. He shows a commercial that basically (and effectively) shows that the nano shoots video.

He’s now showing the now-obligatory environmental checklist that establishes the Green Cred of the lineup.

Now he’s bringing Nora Jones onstage to perform. She says she thinks it’s the earliest she’s ever performed. She’s on a red electric guitar with another guitarist, a bassist and a drummer. Next, a song called Young Blood from her album that’s out in November.

Steve Jobs comes out and kisses and shakes Nora’s hand, gives her a kiss on the cheek. That’s a wrap.