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Apple’s iPhone event (live updates)

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(Photo by Justin Sullivan )

(Photo by Justin Sullivan)

Apple fans everywhere are holding their breath today ahead of what’s widely expected to be the launch of at least one new smartphone.

Follow along here to get news about the event as it happens. We’ll be rounding up reports from across the Web and injecting analysis to explain what’s coming out of the company’s Cupertino headquarters this afternoon.

To get caught up, check out our recent coverage of the tech giant, including where Apple  stands in the global marketplace and why this even is an all-important launch for Apple in Asia:

Photo gallery: Apple introduces new iPhones

Apple’s new iPhone: What the expected update faces in the smartphone market
Three Apple predictions you haven’t heard yet today
Apple confirms Sept. 10 event, expected to reveal new iPhone

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You can ignore all the NSA jokes about Touch ID and fingerprint scanning

Twitter is (predictably) awash with jokes that Apple is now going to hand all of our fingerprints over to the NSA. Here’s why that’s unlikely: Apple claims that no fingerprint information is ever uploaded to a central database, and that any fingerprints stored with Touch ID stays on the phone. It’s unclear whether Apple still has access to your fingerprints despite that, but if not, it’d be hard for the NSA to subpoena Apple for the biometric information.

That said, there are still a lot of reasons why fingerprint scanners are problematic, legally and practically. I go into a little more detail here.

The iPhone 5C isn’t going to halt Apple’s market share slide

Apple has been steadily losing market share to Android. The Cupertino firm now controls just 13 percent of the smartphone market, while Android vendors collectively control almost 80 percent of the market.

A big reason for that is that Android dominates the low end of the market, especially in the developing world. Android’s open architecture makes it accessible to scrappy hardware vendors who have produced dirt-cheap phones and sold them by the millions in India and China.

Rumors suggested that the iPhone 5C might be intended to help Apple go after the low end of the smartphone market, but it’s not likely to help Apple much there. The 5C will start $549 without carrier subsidies, significantly more than analysts had expected. That’s simply too expensive to seriously threaten low-end Android phones.

Of course, Apple may not care. While Android is outpacing iOS in market share, Apple’s position as the BMW of the smartphone market is making the company enormous profits. Perhaps Cupertino simply isn’t interested in competing with the razor-thin margins of low-end Android vendors.

Once again, Apple shares are tumbling

(Google)

(Google)

Apple’s stock price is taking a hit in the moments after its presentation. It’s now down more than 2 percent, to $492.99. The plunge began at 2 p.m. Eastern, just as Phil Schiller was debuting the iPhone 5S’s new fingerprint scanner.

And we're done!

Although Apple shares almost always fall after a major event, stock prices are still falling now that Tim Cook, and Elvis Costello, have said goodbye.

Shares are trading now at $497.86, down from an open of $506.20, indicating that investors, at least, are #notimpressed with what the firm unveiled today.

And while Apple made several announcements, this even was more in line with an “S”-year upgrade, rather than the company’s traditional big updates that tend to come every two years. For high-end gadget lovers, Apple released a phone with a faster processor and improved camera — essentially the same things the company upgrades every cycle. As for the new, lower-priced phone, there are questions about whether the device’s unsubsidized price is low enough to really catch fire in global markets. Analysts will be talking about that.

However, it looks like Apple is giving off some clues about its strategy ahead. The inclusion of a fingerprint sensor, in particular, may boost Apple’s security reputation and also trigger interesting moves in mobile payments down the line.

Thanks for following along, everyone! For a more detailed wrap-up, head here.

Apple puts up press releases for new products

If you want Apple’s summation of the products it released today, the company’s official releases is now up on its Web site:
Apple Announces iPhone 5s—The Most Forward-Thinking Smartphone in the World
Apple Introduces iPhone 5c—The Most Colorful iPhone Yet
iOS 7 With Completely Redesigned User Interface & Great New Features Available September 18
NTT DOCOMO & Apple Team Up to Offer iPhone in Japan on Friday, September 20

But, for a TL;DR version of new information today:

- Apple’s colorful, plastic –sorry, polycarbonate – iPhone 5C will cost $99, or $199 and come in five colors. Users can order it starting Friday, or buy it starting Sept. 20. CNET also reports that the phone will be $549 off-contract. So not that cheap, then.

- The iPhone 5S sports a fingerprint scanner, better camera and faster “desktop”-level processor. It will be $199, $299 or $399 depending on memory. You can start buying it Sept. 30.

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C and the new cases for the phone are seen at Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C and the new cases for the phone are seen at Apple Inc’s media event in Cupertino. (Stephen Lam/ Reuters)

Tim Cook returns to the stage, hands it over to Elvis Costello

Tim Cook, Mashable reported, was back on stage to recap the day’s announcements and before harkening back to Apple’s extensive history with the music industry — iTunes, anyone? — and turning it over to musical guest Elvis Costello.

Costello is singing “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?” on stage. Hey, this would be another good opportunity for Apple to plug iTunes Radio.

If Costello is the closing act, then this was a very efficient Apple event — focused closely on the company’s phones and iOS 7. Sorry (so far, anyway) to anyone who was hoping for any information on Macs, iPads or Apple TV.

We’ll have to see if the company has a famous “one more thing” up its sleeve.

iPhone 5S is powered by a new A7 processor

Apple Event

Apple Phil Schiller on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

One of the distinctive things about the iPhone 5S is the A7, a “system on a chip” that provides the smartphone’s computing power. Traditional PCs have separate chips for the processor, graphics card, RAM and other components. Smartphones and tablets tend to use a “system on a chip” (SoC) design incorporating all of these components. That allows for smaller, cheaper and less power-hungry hardware.

The emergence of SoC’s about a decade ago represented a significant change in the trajectory of Central Processing Unit technology. Moore’s Law, which has proven valid for close to a half-century, says that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every 18 months. There are different ways for engineers to use the fresh batch of transistors they’re blessed with every 18 months.

During the 1980s and 1990s, they mostly focused on performance. The trend was toward CPUs with higher clock rates and more and more processing units. But that approach ran out of steam about a decade ago. Higher clock speeds generated more heat, and it was proving impossible to keep CPUs cool. And adding more “execution units” was running out of steam, because there was only so much computing a CPU could do in one clock cycle.

So over the last decade, chip engineers have focused less on increasing raw processing power and more in packing more functionality onto each chip. That has enabled the creation of smartphones that may not be as powerful as their desktop cousins but are dramatically smaller, lighter and cheaper. That’s why you can buy a $200 device with as much processing power as a 1990s PC that fits in your pocket and can run all day on battery power.

While some other vendors purchase SoC’s designed by others, recent Apple products have been built on Apple-designed chips. Previous iterations were known as the A4, A5, and A6. The new iPhone introduces the latest iteration of this product line, the A7. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, it has more than a billion transistors and is the first in its line to support 64-bit addresses, a technology that was adopted on desktop computers in the last decade.

Truly an international launch, but is it a winning strategy?

Not to hit this point too hard, but Apple knows where its market for the future will be, which explains the enormous global launch.

Apple investors, however, are still holding judgment on the company’s announcements. Shares are still down a little over 1 percent at $500.96.

It’s also worth noting that Apple had a bad leak problem this time around: Just about every feature of this phone, as well as the arrival of a new lower-cost phone, has been reported ahead of time.

Prices for the iPhone 5S

Apple Expected To Introduce New iPhone At Product Launch

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The iPhone 5S will be the same price as the iPhone 5, and will have 16GB version for $199, a 32 GB version for $299 and a 64 GB version for $399, all on contract, CNET reports.

The company is also offering somewhat pricey premium cases for the 5S for $39.

Contrary to what Apple hinted earlier in the event, the iPhone 4S will be staying around — only the iPhone 5 is being replaced.

The iPhone 5S will be available for purchase on Friday, the 13th. (Spooky!)

The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will be available for sale Sept. 20. Apple will be launching that day in over 100 countries and on 270 carriers — including in the all-important market in China.

The iPhone's fingerprint sensor can learn multiple fingerprints

So, users won’t have to always use the same finger to authenticate.

With this fingerprint sensor, Apple is  playing up the security angle on the new phone, which could give it a clear advantage in the enterprise space.

All Things Digital, by the way, reports that other apps on the phone don’t get information via users’ fingerprints and that the fingerprint data is not stored on Apple’s servers.

Apple talk turns to security, fingerprint sensor

Apple Expected To Introduce New iPhone At Product Launch

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple is saying that the best way for consumers to protect their phones is by using passcodes, but that only about half of users do that. So the company is introducing a new fingerprint sensor called “Touch ID.”

All Things Digital reports that the sensor is smaller than a human hair but can scan fingerprint information.

Users will be able to teach the iPhone to recognize a fingerprint, reports The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple, and also be able to authenticate their App Store purchases through a fingerprint.

Consumers may want to consider, carefully, whether they want Apple to have that kind of biometric data.

Gaming on the iPhone

Apple Event

Donald Mustard, CEO of Epic Games (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Gaming on mobile devices is growing quickly, with the NPD Group reporting Tuesday that children are playing games on mobile devices nearly as much as they are on consoles and computers.

Over half of mobile device users say they spend more time gaming on mobile devices rather than computers and consoles now, and that growth is particularly pronounced among teens — bad news for handheld gaming makers like Nintendo and Sony.

If Apple ups the quality of gaming on its phones, mobile devices could eat into that piece of the market even more quickly, though there is a question of how the smartphone’s battery will be able to hold up to marathon gaming sessions in the future.

The iPhone 5S camera gets a turn in the spotlight

Apple_Event-074a7_image_982w

(AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Apple’s worldwide marketing head Phil Schiller is now talking about the iPhone’s new camera, which has a larger sensor to let in more light, All Things Digital reports. The camera will also take multiple photos and choose the sharpest one.

Cameras have become a fairly competitive area in the smartphone world, with companies — notably Nokia and Sony — working hard to distinguish their phones via the camera. Many of the new iPhone camera features are already available on competing phones.

Apple has said that its iPhone  is the world’s most popular camera, and the firm is clearly looking to keep the title. In fact, Schiller says that camera is “SLR-level,” according to CNET.

It will also have a “burst mode,” which he said allows for better action shots. It will also have a slow-motion mode, CNET reports.

More spec information on the iPhone 5S

Mashable reports that Apple is putting a new chip into the smartphone, the M7, which will help the phone measure motion and environmental information, allowing Apple to tap into the growing field of health data.

This type of feature is already included in Samsung’s Galaxy S4.

Apple is also saying that the new phone will have 10 hours of battery life — for 3G talk time, reports Jim Dalrymple at The Loop.

Apple says iPhone 5S is "desktop class"

Apple is taking its time in touting the iPhone 5S as high-performance — on a same class as a desktop, Schiller says.

At the Loop’s Jim Dalrymple reports that the company is welcoming Epic Games, maker of the game-powering Unreal Engine,  onstage to show off the phone’s processing power. Epic is also announcing Infinity Blade 3, the latest title in a series of games that are often used in demos to show continuing evolution of the processing power on mobile devices.

And here comes the new iPhone 5S

Apple Event

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Apple has now turned its attention to the new iPhone 5S, which — yes — will come in a gold-toned hue.

The company is calling it the most forward-thinking smartphone ever made, though that’s ultimately for consumers to determine.

According to Manjoo at Slate, the phone will have a 64 bit, A7 chip — the first ever in a mobile phone.

Attendees at the event also say that the home button looks different, but the company has yet to announce whether it added a rumored fingerprint sensor.

Apple's iPhone 5C is a play for a wider market

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C are seen on screen at Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C. Stephen Lam/Reuters

Apple’s iPhone 5C, the firm’s response to competition from cheaper smartphones for developing markets and the more price-conscious, replaces the company’s old strategy of simply discounting older phones.

The company’s design guru, Jony Ive, is saying in a promotional video that the phone is “beautifully, unapologetically plastic.”

The phone does have a steel frame, Mashable reports, so Apple is keeping to its mission of offering quality products by trying to differentiate itself from other smartphone makers who have embraced the plastic body but have been criticized for making phones that feel cheap or insubstantial.

The plastic phone  puts a more durable version of the iPhone on the market — which should be good news for iPhone users suffering from a case of butter fingers.

As for specs, the company is saying that it the phone will have graphics on par with gaming consoles.

iPhone 5C prices

Apple Expected To Introduce New iPhone At Product Launch

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller talks about the iPhone 5C. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The iPhone 5C will cost $99 for 16 GB on a two-year contract and $199 for 32 GB — essentially the same price points that Apple used to offer for its older phones.

Cases for the phone, by the way, will be $29, All Things Digital reports.

The big moment -- moving on to the iPhone

Cook is now talking about the iPhone 5 and its performance — a surefire sign that he’s getting ready to announce updates.

Mashable reports that the company is replacing the iPhone 5 with two new versions, including a less expensive iPhone 5C. That phone will be available in several different colors and has a polycarbonate back. It comes in green, gray, light blue, pink and yellow.

Slate’s Farhad Manjoo reports that Apple promises the case will not have seams or joints and that iOS 7 colors will match the color of the hardware. Manjoo also reports that it will sport the A6 chip, a slightly larger battery than the previous iPhone and has the same camera as the iPhone 5.

Apple’s decision to replace the iPhone 5 with the 5C and another model means that the current iPhone 5 will not get a price discount, as past older versions have been.

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