Apple Jan 27 Press Event Liveblog

We are live at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco this morning, bringing you constant updates on today’s big Apple announcement. Hardware specs, pricing, and availability details for the Apple Tablet can be found here! The show gets underway at 10:00 am Pacific.

Background music: Bob Dylan’s Mr Tambourine Man. Here in the jingle jangle morning, this packed audience will follow Steve Jobs anywhere. Next up: More Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone (live version).

Outside we spotted and talked with industry luminaries like IGN Wireless’s Levi Buchannan, 1up’s Sam Kennedy, What They Play’s John Davidson, Wired’s Chris Kohler, and The Chicago Tribune’s tech columnist Andy Ihnatko with the neat hat. We are also grateful to Sam Levin for letting us use his wifi so we can bring you this live coverage from inside Yerba Buena Center.

We’ve just been asked to silence our phones and paging devices. Under 5 minutes to go.

Lights are dimming, and our wireless just crapped out. Great! Well, we’ll keep typing and upload info when we can.

Steve Jobs takes the stage. Standing O from this non-biased crowd.

Introducing a “truly magical and revolutionary product”, but first a few updates.

Internet’s back (Apple Wifi). Stats from Jobs on iPod sold, Apps downloaded, quarterly revenue.

WSJ quote makes Tablet sound downright biblical. Now talking about, why a Tablet? Better than laptop and smartphone in the following categories:

Browsing, Email, Photos, Video, Music, Games, eBooks

Introducing iPad

Browsing

“Best browsing experience. Holding the Internet in your hands”

“Phenomenal for mail.”

Maps app, courtesy of Google. “iPad is an awesome way to enjoy your music collection, and of course we have the iTunes store built right into the iPad so you can discover music, purchase it. Movies, podcast, iTunes university, everything built right in.”

Steve Jobs now chilling on a chair, with the iPad on a side table. Home screen looks like iPHone, with a custom background. Tap Safari, open bookmarks, open New York Times. There’s the full page. Fast load.

Jobs now reading Time magazine online. Flash didn’t load on the NY Times website, btw. Laughter in the crowd. Going to Fandango, buying movie tickets.

Email

So that’s browsing the web. Opening email, viewing pictures. Landscape view. Interface looks like a giant iPhone on the left side. Image of the Paris metro. Can zoom in and manipulate a detailed photo.

Jobs is now viewing a PDF of wineries in Napa Valley. Hits compose butotn, giant keyboard (half the screen) pops up.

Photos

Viewing in landscape, cover-flow style. Jobs starts a slideshow with peppy jazz music, nice resolution on those photos.

Music

Jobs plays selections from Bob Dyland and the Grateful Dead. Boomer power! Now browsing iTunes and playing John Mayer samples. Movies, TV shows, etc, through iTunes.

Calendar: Nice calendar view, can add events. Contacts: Address book too.

Maps

Google Maps satellite view, traffic, pinch it big. Nice satellite image of the Eiffel Tower. Current location in San Francisco. Type “sushi”, finds good recommendations. Street view shows us “Sushi Boat”.

Video

Steve shows us “Wet and Woofy” on Youtube. HD Youtube of a dog on a surfboard. Waste your time like never before!

Now we’re watching Star Trek on Steve’s iPad. He’s like the coolest uncle ever… that device has all sorts of neat stuff. Don’t you want to be cool like Steve and buy one now?

Watching Star Trek and Up (the very very sad montage at the beginning). Star Trek looks like a skinny line due to the aspect ratio. Up just got zoomed in to full screen, though, and looks excellent.

Hardware

1/2 inch wide, 1.5 lbs. 9.7 inch IPS display.

1 GHZ Apple A4 chip. 16 gb-64 gb storage.

WiFi and Bluetooth. Accelerometer, Compass, Speaker, Microphone, 30 pin connector (iPod accessories). Battery for 10 hours. Month of standby life. Typical environmental checklist.

Software

Now Scott Forstall comes on stage to demo some Tablet Apps. 140,000 App Store apps will run with pixel-for-pixel accuracy black boxed in the center of the screen. Or DOUBLE for blown up versions. Using Gameloft’s Asphalt 5 as a screenshot.

How do games run? ESPN’s X-Games Snocross being launched. Looks quite good 2x bigger! Tilt entire device to steer.

“Download all apps you already have and you’re good to go”

Can take full advantage of large touch-screen. iPad SDK released today.

Gameloft gets the first third-party demo. NOVA on the iPad. More real estate on screen means they’ve added a minimap, and you can now slide two fingers to throw grenades.

“Multiple Targeting Acquisition”. Now you can drag on the screen to target multiple enemies, and let ‘er rip. Will fire on all of them. Higher resolution. New form factor. iPad version of NOVA shipping “later this year”.

NY Times now introducing their app. Mimics the experience of reading a newspaper. Plays a video through the app.

Brushes demo now. Brushes was the program used to make a New Yorker cover three times. Steve Sprang takes the stage. Shows how you can access more tools without obscuring the image. In-app playback of your creation process. Always fun to watch.

Electronic Arts takes the stage. Travis Boatman presenting NFS Shift. A great looking game even better on the big screen. “Like holding an HD TV inches from your face”. iPad version adds mirrors (look through them with a tap), shifter on lower right corner.

MLB.com showing At Bat app. Streamed over 60 million videos, making it one of the most popular sports apps on the iPad. Chad Evans presenting. Scoreboards, Game Day Pitch Tracker. Virtual baseball cards for players. Fun for baseball fans. Nice-looking replays in the corner.

That’s it for app demos on the iPad. Now- pricing and availability! Well, not quite yet. Now to compare to the Kindle.

eBooks

Introducing iBooks. Virtual bookshelf. portrait display or vertical. iBookstore on App Store works with new iBooks app.

Cool Uncle Steve pulls up his virtual bookstore on the iPad. “Secret Passageway” animation makes bookshelf spin around to reveal the bookstore…. or Dracula’s lair, maybe. Buying True Compass by the late Sen Teddy Kennedy. Tap anywhere on right to flip forward through pages. Drag to pull pages slowly. Table of contents lets you pick a chapter and jump to it. Photos in color or black and white, even video in the books. Change font size for aging Boomers.

iWork on iPad

Phil Schiller takes to the stage to talk about productivity, as opposed to wasting time with Youtube and Facebook. New version of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. A spreadsheet that’s fun to use?

Making a slideshow presentation in landscape mode using Keynote. Kind of a drag after Need for Speed and NOVA, but hey, people gotta justify buying this thing for work.

As Phil shows us making slides, our minds drift back to the game demos… they looked really nice in the bigger view, but tilting the whole thing looks kind of goofy. Isn’t 1.5 pounds, though light, a little heavy to use for an hour as a controller? Controllers should be measured in ounces, not pounds, right? Hopefully we’ll get to pick one up and try some games after the presentation.

For comparison, an Xbox controller weighs 9 oz, or a little over half a pound. That Gamebone controller isn’t looking quite so silly now, is it?

Phil’s office suite demo has us really uninterested. We’re sure you can do all kinds of Office-type stuff on the iPad, but is that going to be what gets people viscerally excited?

Seriously, this office demo is way too long. Phil’s showing how you can do all kinds of stuff without keyboard shortcuts. Finally, it’s over. $9.99 for each office application. Available on App Store. Too bad they don’t come included, though.

USB and networking

USB connection, plus WiFi and 3G. What does it cost for the data plans? Most companies charge $60 a month. Apple’s deal: two plans. 250 mb for $15/month, unlimited for $30/month. Free use of AT&T hotspots. No Verizon announcement today, it looks like. No contract- cancel anytime.

More details: International deals by June. iPhone 3G models are unlocked. Uses new GSM micro SIMS.

“Hold the Internet in your hand” (theme for today). Running through features list again. Availability date and price coming soon.

Price: $499 to start!

Models: $499 for 16 gb, $599 for 32 gb, $699 for 64 gb.

3G models: $629, $729, $829.

Available in 60 days for wifi models, 90 days for 3G models. Sorry, people waiting outside of Apple Store today.

New docks: Stand and Keyboard. Black carrying case. Now we’re watching a web ad. This is a fairly creepy infomercial. “You just do!” We’re running through the same feature set we saw earlier: Browsing, Photos, Videos.

In the video, Scott Forstall actually says there will be another “Gold Rush” for iPad App Developers. Thar’s gold in them hills!

Video’s over. Jobs is back, to bring us back to his initial comparison to smartphones and laptops. 75 million people “already know how to use the iPad” since it’s a lot like the iPod Touch/ iPhone. Three stores: iTunes, App Store, iBookstore. 25 million credit card accounts already enabled, ready to shop. 12 billion downloads already on all three stores.

To sum up. Jobs; “Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price”. Got that?

Apple’s philosophy, from Jobs: Intersection of technology and liberal arts. “The best of both”

Hands-on area! Yes!! We’re out of here, more later. Thanks for following!