Live blog: Steve Jobs presents the Apple tablet

Live coverage of Apple’s Jan. 27 “latest creation” event

Posted in reverse order, newest on top. Items are timestamped in local (Pacific) time. Add three hours for Eastern.

Steve Jobs on stage. Photo Michael Copeland

As expected, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a bid to create a new consumer electronics category Wednesday, unveiling a computer he calls the iPad.

The device is a 9.7-inch multitouch tablet that starts at $499 for the 16 GB model that uses Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet.

A 3G model that can reach the Web through AT&T’s network costs $130 more, plus $29.99 for unlimited data ($14.99 for 250 gigs). The first iPads are scheduled to ship in 60 days, the 3G versions 30 days later. The top of the line, 64 GB version with 3G, starts at $829.

The devices run most of the 140,000 iPhone apps out of the box, giving them a huge head start over previous attempts to market tablet computers. And as Jobs points out, he’s got a big customer base primed to buy it — loyal Apple users who have bought 75 million iPhones and iPod touches and given Apple 125 million credit card numbers.

Apple's sweet spot. Photo Michael Copeland

Jobs credits Apple’s success to working at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, and he sees the iPad as a continuation of that tradition.

It is, as he puts it, “Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.”

How many Apple will sell, and how successful it will be at carving out a mass market niche between the laptop and the iPhone depends on a lot of imponderables — starting, for me, with how hard it is to compose on the virtual keyboard.

The buzz among the press who have managed to put their hands on the iPad is pretty good. The line to see and touch one is long and disorganized, however. This could take a while.

OK, I’ve used the virtual keyboard. If I had to live-blog an Apple event on it I would never keep up. I would probably throw it, Frisbee style, out the window. But the $69 keyboard accessory is pretty good.

So is a $499 iPad with a $69 keyboard a MacBook killer? According to Gene Munster, it’s more likely cannibalize sales of the iPod touch. See Apple’s iPad: Is it a game changer?

The live blog follows…

– – – – –

Wrapping up. Photo: Jon Fortt

11:30 a.m.  Jobs goes back to the beginning. “Do we have what it takes to create a new category,” he asks rhetorically. “We think we’ve got the goods.”

He continues: Because we shipped more than 75 million iPhones and iPod touches, there are 75 million people who already know how to use it.

Between the three stores (iTunes, App Store, iBookstore), we have over 125 million credit cards on file. And people have downloaded over 12 billion products.

So we are at scale.

Jobs takeaway quote: “Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.”

Invites reporters to hands-on area.

He thanks us for coming and leaves the stage.

And we’re done.

Jonathan Ive. Photo: Apple Inc.

11:25 Jobs plays a video of Apple’s executive team talking about how great the iPad is, starting with designer Jonathan Ive who call it a new category. Bob Mansfield offers some new specs about the display. And mentions, for the first time, the power button.

[You can watch the video here.]

11:19. Price points: $499 for 16 GB. 32 GB for $599. 64 GB 699. Extra $130 for the 3G models.

When shipping? In 60 days. 30 more days for 3G models.

11:20 Accessories: Dock. Keyboard dock. Camera dock. Case.

11:15 Hopes to have international deals in place June or July.

All iPads are unlocked. They use the new GSM micro SIMS chips, so even though Apple has only cut a deal with AT&T so far, the devices may just work in Europe.

11:16 Jobs is wrapping up. So. iPad. It’s phenomenal to hold the Internet in your hand. Runs almost all 140,000 apps on App Store, plus new generation of apps coming. iBookstore. Can carry 1,000s of books around. New iWork apps with best interface, says Jobs.

iPad price grid. Photo Michael Copeland

What should we price it at?

If you listen to the pundits, $999. [That’s a dig at the Wall St. Journal.]

We had a very aggressive price goal. We want to put this in the hands of lots of people. We have met our cost goals.

I am thrilled to announce that it starts at $499. Big applause here.

11:12 Jobs back on stage. He sounds a little hoarse. Wants to talk about iTunes. The iPad syncs just like the iPhone, over USB and does a backup each time.

Wireless. Every iPad has Wi-Fi. Some models will also have 3G built in.

Cost? In the U.S. cellphone companies usually charge $60 per month for this.

2 plans: up to 250 MB per month for $14.99 (Big whoops)
Unlimited for $29.99.

These are real breakthrough prices, he says.

But when he mentions AT&T, there are scattered groans. “Never mind,” says a woman behind me.

[Note: later Jobs mentions that all iPads, even the 3G versions, are unlocked, no it’s not clear why they wouldn’t work on any other GSM carrier’s network — say, for example, T-Mobile’s. Verizon, which uses a CDMA protocol, is out of luck for now.]

No contract: pre-paid. You can cancel at anytime. That is cool. (Applause)

Phil Schiller demos iWork. Photo Michael Copeland

11:11 The first talk of money. iWork apps: $9.99 each from the App Store.

11:07 Pages. Manipulating tables, pie charts, adding rows of data. Double-tap on a cell opens up a numeric keyboard. Or a time and date keyboard. Lots of bells and whistles here. It does look easier than Microsoft Excel.

11:04 Schiller’s demo shows off some of the new gestures we’ve been hearing about, such as cropping photos using tapping and pinching, or a new page navigator for moving through a long document. Page wrap-around a giraffe’s head gets some whoops and applause.

10:58 iWork for the iPad. Same as iWorks, but new interface. Phil Schiller takes the stage.

New version of Keynote, Pages, Numbers.

Does a demo, starting with Keynote.

Jobs with bookshelf. Photo Michael Copeland

10:53 Jobs is back on stage to talk about ebooks. Shows the Amazon Kindle. “We’re going to stand on their shoulders.” The new app is called iBooks. A bookshelf. Can see two pages at once. Apple has created its own book store to compete with Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Five publishers are on board, opening it up to the rest this afternoon.


10:52 Forestall back talking about supporting developers. Meanwhile, we can run the old iPhone apps.

10:50 Last up: A larger version of their iPhone app, with pretty nice video enhanced with box scores, etc.
10:46 Electronic Arts, a major iPhone developer. Travis Boatman demos Need for Speed. EA seems to think this may be the best gaming platform yet.

EA's Need for speed. Photo Michael Copeland

10: 40 Next demo: The New York Times. Marty Nisenholtz. Save articles to reading list. Tap to change number of columns. Resize with a pinch. Embedded videos.

10:43 Brushes. Steve Sprang. Cool app for artists. This must be better for drawing than the iPhone.
10:35 Apple rewrote all its apps to take advantage of larger screen size. Expect developers will want to do the same. Enhanced SDK to do that, releasing today. Includes iPad simulator for developers.

Scott Forestall with iPad and iPhone. Photo Michael Copeland

Developers come to stage, starting with gameloft and a game called Nova.

10:32 Scott Forestall talks about the App Store. Repeats the 3 billion, 140,000 numbers. Says will run virtually every one of these apps out of the box. Can either run pixel for pixel in small box in center of screen or double pixel and run full screen.

Demos: Facebook.

10:30 Hardware: 1/2 inch thin. weighs 1.5 pounds. 9.7 inch IPS display. Multi-touch.

Powered by custom silicon. 1 GHZ Chip called A4. [Later learn it’s the P.A. Semi team that made the chip.] 16- 64 GB flash storage.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1
Accelerometer. Compass. 30-pin connector.

Battery: 10 hours (doing what?)

Says Jobs: I can fly from SF to Tokyo and watch video in one charge.

One month standby life.

Mentions environmental bona fides.

Jobs with iPad. Photo: Jon Fortt

10:27 More demo.

Photos. More of what you can do on an iPhone, only bigger. One new feature — pinch a folder to see the contents.

Music. We’ve seen this before.

YouTube videos in high def.

Hollywood movies. Star Trek. Up. (“Awesome movie.”)

10:17 More demo.

Goes to New York Times, Time Magazine, Fandango, Nation Geographic.

Landscape, portrait. Very very simple. It adapts to the way I want to use it.

He’s very subdued.

So that is browsing the Web.

Let’s go to e-mail.

This is nothing we haven’t seen before on computers. I guess you have to have the device in hand to be impressed.

Jobs does demo. Photo Michael Copeland

10:14 a.m. Catching up. Good morning. And thank you for coming today. We want to kick off 2010 with a truly magical product. But first, some updates.

A few weeks ago, we sold our 250 millionth iPod.

Retail stores. We now have 284 retail stores. Last quarter, we have over 50 million visitor. Photos of fourth store in NYC.

The App Store. We have over 140,000 apps now. A few weeks ago we announced the 3 billionth download in about 18 months.

34 years later ended 1st quarter with $15.6 billion in revenue. Apple is an over $50 billion company.

Three product lines. iPods, iPhones and Macs. Most mobile devices. Apple is a mobile devices company. By revenue, Apple is now the largest mobile devices company in the world. Bigger than Sony, Samsung, and by revenue even bigger than Nokia.

Photo: Engadget

The main event. Posts WSJ ten commandments quote.

Does some history. Goes back to 1991, first Powerbooks. 2007 reinvented the phone.

So all of us use laptops and smartphones now. The question has arisen lately is there room for a third category of device, something between a laptop and an iphone. Tough hurdle. Has to be better than the other two.

What tasks? Better at browsing the Web. Doing email. Sharing photos, Watching videos, Music. Playing games. Reading ebooks. It’s going have to better at these tasks or it has no reason for being.

Some people think netbooks are the answer. But netbooks aren’t better at anything.

He introduces the new device: “We call it the iPad.” (Applause.)

Jobs unveils the iPad. Photo: Apple Inc.

This is what it looks like.

It’s very thin. Personalize home screen.

What this device does is extraordinary. The best browsing experience you’ve ever had.  Way better than a laptop.

Shows NY Times.

See whole Web page.

See your mail. Get a keyboad that’s almost life size . “Its a dream to type on” [Says Jobs. Having since tried it, we beg to differ.]

Photos. Calendar. Address book. Maps with Google. Zoom in satellite views.

Music. iTunes store built in. Movies. TV shows. Podcast. iTunes University.

YouTube (Flash? Answer: No)

Movies and TV shows.

That’s the overview.

Goes to the demo.

Sits on chair that looks like it should be in a hotel room.

The filthy press. Photo: Philip Elmer-DeWitt

10:00 a.m. The lights dim. Jobs walks on stage to thunderous applause and a standing ovation. He’s as thin as ever — perhaps even thinner.

9:40 a.m. We’re in. Doors opened at 9:37 and the filthy press squeezed like toothpaste through the center’s narrow entryway.

The crowd is a who’s who of media celebrities. I recognize The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta, Disney’s Bob Iger, Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr, former TIME Managing Editor Walter Isaacson. There’s a bank of cameras lined up stage right, but there will be no live video. (Apple will post it’s own streaming version after the event.)

Lots of milling about and jockeying for seats.

Fox's Shibani Joshi. Photo: Philip Elmer-DeWitt

8:00 a.m. To paraphrase the entry in King George’s apocryphal diary the day American declared its independence, nothing of importance happened in the last hour. The press has started to queue up, separated from breakfast treats by Apple security and a black velvet rope line.

7:00 a.m. Eleven TV satellite trucks and one mobile TV studio line the blocks around the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. As the sun rises the TV “talent” are doing their stand-ups, Shibani Joshi for Fox Business News and Jim Goldman for CNBC.

Goldman is talking on his cellphone about Jason Calacanis’ tweets (see below), as is the tight knot of Apple PR representatives gathered nearby. The folks at Fox hadn’t yet heard about them.

Coffee and sweet rolls are being laid out on long tables for the care and feeding of the press. More important, there is said to be power and Wi-Fi in the auditorium.

Source: Patently Apple

Meanwhile, Patently Apple reports that the U.S. Patent Office granted the company 13 patents Tuesday, at least one of which — for proximity sensing — seems to be for a tablet computer. Good timing.

6:00 a.m. The sun hasn’t come up and the event doesn’t start for four more hours, but the chatter this morning is all about how Jason Calacanis may have spilled the beans before he went to bed last night.

[The Calacanis tweets turned out to be an elaborate hoax that did nothing to enhance his reputation. See here.]

Photo: Philip Elmer-DeWitt

In a series of dispatches on Twitter, the founder of Mahalo and co-founder of Weblogs talks in some detail about a beta version of the tablet he claims to have had in hand — after signing one of Apple’s (AAPL) famous non disclosure agreement (nda) — for a week and a half.

Putting together his brief notes, here’s what he has to say:

Ok, I will take two questions about the new apple tablet which I have right here. Go ahead… My nda is basically over. :)

Yes, there are 2cameras: one in front and one in back (or it may be one with some double lens) so you record yourself and in front of u.

Apple Tablet has thumbpads on each side for mouse guestures, reads fingerprint for security. Up to 5 profiles by finerprint for family.

Yes, apple tablet is oled + back has solar pad for recharging, but it really doesn’t work quickly. More a gimmic. Verizon+att,wifi yes!

Apple tablet’s 2 cameras is sick feature for video conferencing: u shoot what’s in front of you + yourself. Augmented video conferncing!

Source: Twitter

Ok, I’m going to bed (with apple tablet after reading nytimes+Vanity Fair on it!), steve jobs outdid himself, its greatest device ever!!!Apple tablet games are sick. Basically nintendo wii-level innovation. Custom farmville app is insane. Mark pincus is demoing with steve tmmr

For background: apple asked me to do press tomorrow on cnbc, cnn, etc. As a pundit they gave me tablet 10 days ago. 3people dropped it off!

apple tablet connects to other tablets over wifi for gaming. There will be LAN parties with these things, people playingFirst personshooters

The price will be 599, 699 and 799 depending on size and memory in apple tablet. Also, wireless keyboard + monitor connection for tv

Also, the apple tablet is really amazing for newspapers. Video conferencing is super stable, but nothing new.

The best part ofthe apple tablet as beta user has been the built in HDTV tuner and pvr, and the chess game.

also, Farmville for Apple tablet is a huge game changer. I know for a FACT Mark Pincus is onstage tomorrow with Jobs.

Off to bed, but I assure you I’m not joking and the specs are real….

Most of all that this is best gadget ever made and NOT overhyped. …

[You can read his tweets @Jason.]

We can vouch for none of this. Calacanis is used to be a serious person — and a serious self-promoter. If it is true, he has violated a serious non disclosure agreement and could be in some trouble.

We’ll find out soon enough. The event is scheduled to begin at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 10:00 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET). The press has been asked to be there by 9:00 a.m.

See also:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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