It's Christmas Day for techies. Apple's annual iPhone event is here, and we've got big news: two new smartphone models, a rainbow spectrum of colors, a run-through of iOS 7, and even a Steve Jobs-esque "one last thing." We live-blogged the whole thing, Elvis Costello and all:
2.31: The Apple site has a whole different feel to it.
Mustard yellow. For the brave.
2.23: Apple's stock is a little bit down from expected, having peaked at points during the event.
2:20: The Verge is reporting that the iPhone 5 has been discontinued. This is out of character for Apple — but, remember, so is introducing two new smartphone models. If you want to buy a cheaper iPhone model that the grand medallion-colored phones, you'll have to buy the plastic-backed iPhone 5c, which is exactly what Apple's hoping.
"The ancient iPhone 4 has been discontinued as well," notes The Verge. "But, surprisingly, the company will continue to sell the nearly two-year-old iPhone 4S."
The Apple 5c is $550 at full price.
2:14: Cook finishes things up by bringing on a music guest.
Elvis Costello appears. (Yes, this is happening.) "How y'all doing?" he asks. "Wow, that's a lot of fancy stuff. I feel underdressed. I've got just my old Fender guitar. Wow, can I say Fender in here?"
Costello starts playing. No-one predicted that one, that's for sure...
Fact of the day: Costello is Anthony Weiner's favorite musician.
2:13: The 5c will ship in a week and a half from now, as per Apple tradition.
2.10: Pricing: for a two-year contract, the iPhone 5c will cost $199 for 16-gigabytes, $299 32-gigabytes, and $399 64-gigabytes. Meaning, the cheapest version of the 5c is exactly the same amount to buy as the most expensive 5c – also $199 for the same contract.
2.05: More on this very exciting fingerprint-recognition technology: it's simple to use — you just hold your finger on the Home button for a few seconds. It can read multiple fingerprints, so it will unlock itself when held by the people you deign worthy.
Big question: who will you pick?
2.00: Fingerprint sensor! There's a fingerprint sensor!
As you might remember, Apple recently patented this technology, but critics thought it was unlikely that it'd appear in this model of the iPhone. They were wrong.
The scanner, named Touch ID, "all about security," said Apple's marketing chief. (What, it's not about looking at the pretty sworls on your finger?) Touch ID eliminates the need for a password, and makes your phone far harder to break into. It's embedded inside the home button, which now has a silver ring around it to emphasize the feature.
1.57: Now everyone's looking at a high-definition field.
1.50: The camera system for the iPhone 5c has been re-built from the ground up. It now has a decent aperture, meaning that users can control how light the photograph is, and night photographs will show up better. There's also a "burst" mode, in which 10 photos are taken every second, and a "slow motion" video option, which takes 120 frames every second.
Times: "The video example they are showing on the screen is like watching the opening of a National Geographic special on TV."
iPhone 5 versus iPhone 5c:
"Why is there a jellyfish up ... OK, moving on."
1.42: Mobile-game industry leaders have taken the stage and are showing the audience how much better games are on this model of iPhone.
1.40: Apple finally answers users' cries, promising that the new iPhone will have a far better battery: 250 hours, apparently, on standby. There's also a M7 chip in the iPhone 5c, which again is like a foreign language to us, but Cook explains that this can track a user's motion — like the number of steps taken every day. (There's already a free app that does this perfectly, called Move, but it's an interesting integration into the phone's software.)
1.34: We finally meet the iPhone 5c, proving that rumor-millers were completely correct about both titles.
It looks pretty much the same as the iPhone 5 in terms of size — its new superficial features seem to be only the Olympic medal-esque shades. This iPhone is 40 times faster than the original iPhone — as in, the 3G — says Cook, and it's made from aluminum. It uses a 64-bit A7 chip, which roughly translates to "fast: very fast."
1.27: If you get a two-year contract with your iPhone 5c, it'll cost $99 for the 16GB model, or $199 for the 32GB model. That isn't that much less than the iPhones at present, but remember that this phone was developed specifically for the Asian market. The best is still to come.
1.22: WE HAVE THE iPHONE 5C.
Cook confirms what we all already knew: there will be two phones this year. And the first one will be called the iPhone 5c. It's plastic, for cheaper manufacturing and a more low-key feel than the upgraded model, and it comes in a spectrum of rainbow colors. As we hoped. As we dreamed.
The consensus from the Bustle office is that it looks a bit like a "toy iPhone," or a "bad case."
Nokia's reaction is lightning-quick.
"Guys," says one Bustler. "Guys, you know that people will now buy plastic cases for their plastic iPhones?!"
It comes in five new colors: yellow, white, blue, pink, and green. "The colors are bright," says the Times helpfully. We prefer "neon," or "traffic-light shades."
The cheaper phone has a Retina display, Apple's marketing chief says — he's now taken the stage to introduce us to the 5c — which is a pleasant surprise.
You can personalize the "unapologetically plastic" phones with these covers, apparently:
1.15: The new Camera app has built-in filters — very Instagram (and Facebook, and every carbon-copy Instagram app.) You can zoom out into a "year" view, and see teeny-tiny little icons of your photos of the last year.
New apps are being designed around iOS 7, said Cook, and the new operating system has 200 more features to correspond to its makeover.
1.13: Siri is getting an update, because users apparently had issues (um, like the fact that Siri appeared to be vehemently pro-life.) It will now have a male voice option for those lonely nights — okay, Cook said half that sentence; you guess which half — and will be improving its voice-command feature, because Apple has to beat Google and there's all there is to it.
Again, Cook did not say all of that, but we're reading into it.
1.09: Cook welcomes his audience to iOS 7, the company's brand-new operating system that has plans to start shipping Sept. 18, and for free. The new design, showcased via projector, has an Android feel to it: clean and stark, and "calming as a zen monastery," according to the New York Times.
Now, it can start changing our lives.
1.02.: Tim Cook takes the stage.
He thanks everyone for being there (yada yada yada) and promptly launches into a run-through of Apple's annual iTunes festival, which features 30 nights of live music streamed via iTunes. This year, Cook says, Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake will be performing.
Yeah, yeah. Cry us a river. Where's this iPhone?!
1.00: IT'S STARTING! IT'S STARTING! The Times says that Al Gore is perched in the front row, chatting away with Tim Cook. This year's event is held in a small, town hall-like location, signaling an "intimate" approach to the unveiling. TechCrunch snapped the media line outside.
If you forgot, the invitations look like this, which has further fueled the "BALL PIT OF RAINBOW IPHONE" rumors. (Is it just us that loves the idea of rolling around in a stack of rainbow iPhones? Yup? Right, okay then.)
Apple, we've got high hopes. BRIGHTEN OUR LIVES ALREADY.