Image via Engadget

The attention of the tech world is on San Francisco this morning, where Apple CEO Tim Cook is now on stage at an event that is widely expected to mark the unveiling of the iPhone 5, the next version of the company’s market-defining smartphone.

How big has the iPhone economy become? One economist suggests that the release of the new device could actually have a measurable impact on GDP.

We’re following along via live blogs from Engadget, the Verge and others. Stay tuned for details as they emerge.

Update, 10:15:  Apple just unveiled the new device on stage, rising from the floor. Confirming widespread rumors, it does have a larger screen — 4 inches diagonal vs. 3.5 inches for the current iPhone 4S. Same width as the current screen, but taller.

Older apps will be letterboxed with black borders on either side.

Update, 10:22: The phone will support 4G LTE networks. It will run a new A6 processor from Apple, launching apps faster than in the past.

10:29: Apple is promising graphics comparable to those of game consoles, but says it has still been able to improve battery life compared with the iPhone 4S.

10:33: Apple shows a new “Panorama” feature for taking images by sweeping the camera phone across the scene. The camera clocks in at 8-megapixels, with the company saying it will be better at taking shots in low-light environments and 40 percent faster photo capture.

10:44: A new Lightning dock 8-pin connector, with Apple saying it will provider adapters for old accesories. The connector is 80 percent smaller than the old adapter.

10:51: New iPhone will come in black and white, with exec calling it the “thinnest and lightest phone we’ve ever made.”

10:55: Engadget notes that NFC and wireless charging are missing in the new phone.

11:00: Here’s the pricing: $199 for 16GB. $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB. iPhone 4 will be free on contract, 4S will be $99. Preorders start on Friday, and the device ships on Sept. 21.

11:07: Apple has now moved on to iTunes on computers and devices, showing a new design for its music store, app store and other online stores. New iCloud integration for synchronizing content.

11:16: Now they’re moving on to the iPod. Nano is getting a larger screen, a 2.5 inch multitouch display, and the new Lightning connector, same as the iPhone 5.

This is interesting: New iPod Nano comes with an FM Tuner with recording functionality.

11:21: Now they’ve moved on to the iPod touch: Thinner (6.1 mm) and lighter (88 grams). Larger-screen display, same as the iPhone 5, and it’s getting Apple’s A5 processor, making it faster than previous versions. Siri will also be added to the iPod touch.

11:30: The iPod touch will come in multiple colors, and offer a spot in the back called the “iPod touch Loop” for attaching a wrist strap comparable to a consumer camera.

11:34: New earbuds, called EarPods. Shaped to fit the ear, but not create a seal. Multiple sound ports to improve quality.

11:37: iPod Touch will start at $299 for 32 GB version, up to $399 for 64 GB.

11:42: Tim Cook wraps it up and introduces Foo Fighters to play a song.

11:50: Make that two songs. “Times Like These” and “My Hero.”

11:52: Three songs! Sheesh.

11:58: That’s it. Stay tuned for follow-ups on GeekWire.

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  • PerspicacityHacksaw
  • Guest

    Congratulations to Apple on this announcement! We hope that 4 inches and 4G LTE are enough to get Apple back to parity with the Android and Windows Phone devices that collectively outsell iPhone by 4 to 1.

    • DisQProf

      I liked how you sneaked Windows phones device sales with Android. I’m sure Android fines would appreciate this.

      • Guest

        Most Android phones are based on Microsoft technologies, so we consider Android and Windows Phone to be interchangeable.

        • DisQProf

          Interesting. Are you saying this because Android manufacturers are paying Microsoft per each Android device sold? Between the two (Android or Windows Phone), I’ll go with Windows Phone for now I’ll stick to an iPhone since that’s where the money is if you’re an app maker.

          • Gues

            Yes, that is why we are saying this.

            We are very excited for Windows Phone as an innovative user paradigm, although we recognise that the larger install base of Android and of iOS may improve monetisation avenues on a macro basis. We anticipate power users gravitating more towards Windows Phone as it is more of a “get stuff done” platform than it is an “all things to all persons” platform.

          • guest

            Why do you talking like a marketing robot? This doesn’t really help Microsoft’s cause.

          • Gest

            Don’t be silly. Marketing can’t be done by robots.

          • guest

            Just ask yourself, would you ever throw words like “innovative, paradigm, monetisation, platform” with your mom. If you do, good luck selling people like her anything.

          • Gues

            Is that what we’re meant to do? Sell things to my mom?

            I use big words because I’m talking to sophisticated men familiar with the business of selling technology. If that makes me a robot, then beep-beep-boop-beep-bip, I guess.

          • guest

            Sophisticated do not need to use “big” words to impress people, substance impress people.

          • Agent

            This is key to Galaxy Note, I want to get my presentations together, scan news topics, perhaps test compelling new apps BUT the rest? It does seem irrelevant to some.

    • guest

      Well, Susan, I have to concede that Tim didn’t slam the door closed with that announcement. I frankly expected a lot more after so much delay. They’ll still sell tons of them, of course. But this isn’t likely to slow down Android, and even MS/Nokia might be able to gain some ground.

      • Guest

        Thank you, Caroline. iPhone 5 is quickly becoming a me-too product, befitting the vision (or lack of same) of Apple’s Ballmerian disciple of a CEO. We expect its value, as with the entire value of Apple, to decrease by about 50% over the next 13 years.

        • guest

          Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Susan. I said it was underwhelming, which it was.But it was far from even strike one.

          A 50% price drop for Apple over thirteen years is possible. But a) they’re starting with a far lower PE than MS had b) Tim hasn’t yet proved he’s anywhere near as incompetent as Ballmer and c) Apple’s board and shareholders aren’t likely to stand idle for thirteen years like MS has should the company’s success and relevance decline like MS’s has.

          • Guest

            Consider who’s on Apple’s board. Al Gore is on Apple’s board. He’s stood idly by for his entire adult life as we’ve destroyed the environment. How aggressive will he be in de-Tim-Cooking the executive suite at 1 Infinite Loop?

            Mark my words. Mark them with your S Pen on your Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Epic 4G Touch III Ativ S. Apple is today at a tipping point and shareholders will be left holding the bag. In 2025 we’ll look back on my words and thank me for my prescience.

          • guest

            Susan, it doesn’t take prescience to predict that the most valuable stock in the market might decline over the next thirteen years, just a knowledge of history. But as I said, it’s very unlikely that Apple’s board and shareholders would leave Tim in place should the company find itself on MS’s path. Anyway, I think it will hit $1000 first. Something would have to change dramatically for it not to.

          • Guest

            Good luck! I wouldn’t stake nearly seven hundred dollars on Tim Cook and company, but if you fancy yourself a gambler, play on.

  • Matt

    quite underwhelming

    • DisQProf

      Maybe technically, but sales wise will be overwhelming.

      • Matt

        no doubt, always someone willing to pay twice the price for outpaced technology

  • Red Russak

    Poo! Was hoping for UI improvements.

  • Eric Peters

    $199 for 16GB. $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB – are those contract pricing? unlocked? Anyone running around on the TMobile market in Seattle and has luck with HSPA+ or the 4G LTE on the iPad (so maybe it would work on the iPhone 5 in the area?)

    • Todd Bishop

      Yes, those are prices with two-year contracts, just to confirm.

      • DisQProf

        How about the iPod touch prices?

        • Guest

          $199, $249, and $299. We’re surprised that Apple would price iPod touch at the same level as iPad mini. (Note that iPad mini will be introduced next month.)

          • DisQProf

            Thank you. I’m a little worried now about all the different screen resolutionssizes. Hopefully that won’t cause too much of headache when developing for IOS moving forward.

  • Sally Trenter

    Yawn on the new iPhone5. My old iPhone will be traded in for a Win8 phone. (and I work for Boeing, not Microsoft)

  • guest

    Congrats to Apple on their new line of iLumias, oops I mean iPod touches.

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