SAN FRANCISCO--It’s been only a week since Apple distributed invitations to a media event today in San Francisco, but analysts, bloggers and fans have been feverishly speculating for months about what the company will announce. Many believe that Apple will announce an iPad 3, or iPad HD, and that it will offer only incremental upgrades: no more home button, a better display, the integration of the Siri voice assistant. But there have also been rumors that Apple has been experimenting with a new type of touch screen that would allow the display to take on a different feel based on what was being rendered on the screen. Apple, as usual, has been tight-lipped, declining to make any statements at all about today's event beyond what’s on the invitation (a picture of part of what looks like an iPad) – adding to the suspense.
The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang is reporting live from the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. Check out her blog below. Prefer to follow the developments on Twitter? Follow Hayley Tsukayama, who is live-tweeting the details as they drop.
2:24 p.m. EST: And that is a WRAP. Thanks for reading, folks.
2:22 p.m. EST: What? No “One more thing” from Cook. Cook talks about how iPad is the “ultimate poster child of the post PC world.” “Across the year, you are going to see a lot more of this kind of innovation. We are just getting started.”
2:20 p.m. EST: HERE we go. iPad 2 (16 GB, Wifi only) now priced at $399, double price of Kindle Fire. Is that enough to hurt rival up north?
2:16 p.m. EST: A rumor-check interlude: So far, what was rumored and TRUE: Retina display, 4G LTE speeds on AT&T and Verizon, same price. FALSE: Smaller screen, offers Microsoft Office apps.
2:14 p.m. EST: The iPhoto app will be $4.99. It’s available today.
2:12 p.m. EST: And now this... A (sort of) alternative to Facebook’s Timeline? Ubillos is saying iPhoto allows you to share photos, with comments, time and weather stamps, in a scrapbook format. Upload to iCloud and links get shared to friends and family.
2:07 p.m. EST: Apple shakes up short-lived market for photo apps. With tone, tilt, vintage and artistic filters, Apple is moving into Instagram’s domain.
1:59 p.m. EST: Randy Ubillos, chief architect of the photo and video applications for Apple, introduces iPhoto on iPad. This app, on the Mac, is for photo enthusiastics. Creates new ways to browse photos and edit with multi-touch editing, brushes etc. Can beam high resolution photos between devices. Can create photo journals through iCloud.
1:51 p.m. EST: Schiller talks business -- how the iPad can be used by businesses, that is. He talks about iWorks software updates. $9.99 for the apps, or free updates. This is still a barrier. Many companies are still really committed to Microsoft’s Office suite. Now getting Office on the iPad, that would be the big barrier breaker to the enterprise market. Dream on.
1:47 p.m. EST: A couple more apps -- including Autodesk -- will demonstrate how their apps look on the new iPad. They are showing how retina display (in other words, the better screens) make the iPad better for design, graphics people and businesses. Phil comes back up. So what’s it gonna be called, this new iPad? No word yet.
1:42 p.m. EST: Now a demo. Namco, a game developer, showcases graphics on Sky Gambler’s Air Supremecy. Pretty impressive -- if my motion sickness is an indication of how good the graphics are.
1:41 p.m. EST: Huh. No mention so far about how much the iPad 2 will cost. Think Seattle (Amazon) is breathing a sigh of relief -- no indication yet of iPad 2 taking over their Kindle Fire price bracket of $200.
1:40 p.m. EST: As expected the price has not changed and it will be available March 16. Starts at $499 for entry. Preorders start today.
1:38 p.m. EST: Oh, one less hour on 4G devices -- 9 hour battery life. Other details: The new iPad will come in black and white. 1.5 pounds.
1:37 p.m. EST: The iPad can act as a personal hotspot for up to 5 devices.
1:36 p.m. EST: In North America carrier partners include AT&T, Verizon, Bell, Rogers and Telus.
1:33 p.m. EST: This is as big one: LTE has arrived for the iPad. To much applause from the audience here in San Francisco, Schiller announces that the new iPad will have 4G LTE speeds. This is huge. Makes users much more mobile, able to download graphics 72 megabits per second. And 4G networks don’t have capacity problems felt by 3G networks. Businesses and consumers will love this.
1:32 p.m. EST: ...and Apple is bringing voice dictation into the iPad. In English, French, German, Japanese with microphone key on keyboard.
1:30 p.m. EST: New iPad will have better camera and HD video. iSight camera will be sharper, 5 megapixels. Video will be HD.
1:27 p.m. EST: Schiller: 44 percent better color saturation, more pixels and driving all those graphics improvements -- a new chip! Called A5X chip, that is quad-core.
1:25 p.m. EST: Phil Schiller comes out to announce new features. Indeed, as expected, it has a retina display. Essentially an HD-quality display on the same sized iPad screen. For the number nerds: 2048 x 1536 pixels, that means 3.1 million pixels on the display.
1:21 p.m. EST: Cook announces the new iPad. Says everyone has been wondering who will bring next tablet better than iPad 2. “Everyone has been wondering this. Well stop wondering. We are.”
1:20 p.m. EST: Cook begins to poo-poo the competitors. Talks about how iPad is so successful because of 200,000 apps. Shows how Twitter, Yelp and other apps for the Samsung Galaxy doesn’t look good.
“You won’t find these incredible apps on other products. In some estimations over 100 competitive tablets that came to market just last year. You won’t find that great experience”
1:18 p.m. EST: Cook begins to talk to iPad. Here we go. “When we set out to create the iPad, we set out to create not just a new product but a new category. We said in order to do that, the iPad had to be best device for things you do most often, like browsing the Web and checking email.”
1:15 p.m. EST: Cook says new Apple TV is available for same price of $99, orders can be placed today, will be rolled out March 16.
1:14 p.m. EST: Apple now demos how iCloud’s support of movies allows you to pull up video purchases from iTunes onto Apple TV. This shows greater synchronization of Apple’s devices through iCloud.
1:08 p.m. EST: TV: As expected, Apple announces upgrades for its Apple TV. iCloud supports movies, 1080P HD. “Many of you like to watch movies and TV shows with Apple TV, we are announcing new Apple TV that now supports 1080P”
1:07 p.m. EST: First new announcement: Cook talks about Siri, which is in U.S., Australia, France. And “Today we are bringing Siri to Japan.” Rolling out in next few weeks. “Siri running on the iPhone is your best friend, intelligent personal assistant who gets thing done just by asking. Whole new way of interfacing with phone and customers tell us that they love it.”
1:06 p.m. EST: Runs video on opening of the Apple retail store in Grand Central Station in New York City
1:05 p.m. EST: 360 retail stores and 110 million custmers visited them just last quarter.
1:04 p.m. EST: “Last year Apple has sold 172 million post-PC devices” Made up 76 percent of revenues.
1:01 p.m. EST: “At Apple we have 3 post-PC products”: iPod, iPhone, iPad -- reinventing portable computing and iPad “outstripping wildest of predictions”
1:00 p.m. EST: Chief executive Tim Cook comes out in black dress shirt (untucked), talking about “Post PC-world”... Lights dimming, about to start!
12:55 p.m. EST: Here at Yerba Buena Arts Center, the big event begins in 5 minutes -- pop music blasting, bloggers a-twittering and tech giants like Marc Benioff in the cheap seats tweeting too.