We'll have all the news from Apple's music event as it happens.
Tonight sees Apple's 'It's Only Rock and Roll But We Like It' launch event, which as the title suggests, should have a musical theme. ME is here liveblogging: read on.
Or if you want the precis: A larger 64GB iPod touch (but no camera); iTunes 9 with iTunes LPs with extra interactive elements for albums; new iPod nano with video recording functions; the iPhone 3.1 software; Apple's Genius recommendation tech being extended to the App Store; iTunes to sell ready-made ringtones; updated stats - 30 million iPhones and 20 million iPod touches sold so far. And NO Beatles.
17:30 BST: We're here, in the London venue for Apple's live satellite-cast from California. There are two rows at the back for 'livebloggers', complete with a power socket per chair. Which is nice.
17.33: Will tonight become known as The One Where Steve Jobs Came On Stage Riding On The Back Of Sir Paul McCartney Balancing On A Carpet-Sized iTablet? Probably not, no. But in store should be new iPods and other music developments - most of which will have significant relevance for the mobile market.
17.40: Much of the debate among journalists has focused on whether Steve Job will turn up. Not (just) for prurient reasons, but because if Apple's CEO helms all or part of the event, it would surely increase the chances of A Big Announcement. Although some hardened Apple-watchers have been reminding us that Jobs has overseen some underwhelming Apple launches in his time, too.
17.43: The lights have dimmed, just after the Wi-Fi connection went down. It's for a pep-talk from Apple's European boss. He's talking App Store, bigging up Gameloft's six million iPhone game sales, and saying European media (as in Big Media) have embraced the App Store.
17.47: Interestingly, he says India is a big focus for Apple in the EMEA region - it has guests from India here at tonight's event. "It's an amazing challenge for us." Apple pushing iPhone in India? Interesting...
17.51: Macs are doing well with the Back To School programme. Apple shops are performing well in the UK and expanding around Europe. By the end of the year, Apple will have its first French store too.
17.54: Apple is planning to refresh its in-store materials for iPods - presumably to tie in with whatever new models are announced today. Apps appears to be the focus, too - selling iPod touches for their gaming and app capabilities.
17.57: Okay, the satcast has started, from the YBCA Theater in San Francisco. They're playing the Stones track that Apple has filched for the title of tonight's event, so we're presumably about to kick off. Or they're just warming us up for Macca and Ringo's live performance of Hey Jude, obv.
18.01: It's all dark. STEVE JOBS TAKES THE STAGE. He looks... like Steve Jobs. And gets a standing ovation in California. Us Brits are all just sitting here being silent and a bit awkward. We'd shake his hand if we could.
18.02: "I'm very happy to be here today with you all," he says. "I now have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash, and was generous enough to donate their organs. And I wouldn 't be here without such generosity. So I hope all of us can be as generous and elect to become organ donors." Powerful start. He thanks the Apple community for the support they've shown him, and the Apple executive team.
18.03: Today is about music, and Apple's VP of iTunes engineering will be on-stage with Jobs. But first some iPhone stats: "In a little over two years, we have sold 30 million iPhones."
18.04: Now more than 75,000 apps in the App Store, and users have downloaded more than 1.8 billion. "And that does not include updates!". Indeed. And he reveals iPhone OS 3.1 with "a bunch of really nice features.
18.05: Genius technology - the recommendations tech from the iTunes Store for music will now be applied to apps in the App Store. It'll recommend apps to you like Genius recommends songs, based on the apps that you own. "It's really nice," he says.
18.06: And ringtones - Apple is adding over 30,000 ringtones to the iTunes Store for $1.29 apiece, with ringtones from all four major labels. I told you there'd be some mobile entertainment announcements tonight. iPhone 3.1 is available today and free.
18.07: Onto iTunes, which is now in 23 different countries, and "the number one music retailer in the world now". 8.5 billion songs have been sold through the store, and recently passed the milestone of 100 million people with credit cards registered with the iTunes Store. 100 million accounts in other words.
18.08: Today will see iTunes 9. A cleaner interface that's easier to navigate: Jobs is about to cover some new features. These aren't all mobile-specific, but I'll cover them to give the bigger picture.
18.09: 27 million people have submitted their music collections to Apple's Genius service - over 54 billion songs in total. And the resulting database and learnings is being applied to something called Genius Mixes - an automatic DJ that plays automatic mixes from tunes in your library. "Songs that go well together". Could this work on iPhone, I wonder?
18.10: Also improved syncing when users want to sync content to their iPhone and iPod touch. The ability to go beyond syncing just set playlists to these devices, and say "I want all the music by Bob Dylan". Same for movies - the ability to say "I always want the latest three movies I've bought or rented, but I always want Ratatouille."
18.12: Another new feature - the ability to choose what apps you sync from your iPhone or iPod touch. He doesn't dwell on this, but it gets a round of applause. Not sure why.
18.13: Home Sharing. The ability to share movies, music and content between five authorised computers in your house - actually make copies of the files for those computers.
18.14: Back to the iTunes Store and its cleaner navigation, with new artist, movie and TV pages. And finally, iTunes LP. This must be the Project Cocktail - interactive albums...
18.15: Videos, liner notes, "all sorts of stuff" - lyrics. Album chronologies... Jobs shows a Grateful Dead album, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews Band, Norah Jones. It gives you a sense of the likely target audience. And Apple is giving the tools to create these iTunes LPs to labels and artists so they can create all this content.
18.16: And into a demo of these features, kicking off with the improved application syncing. Okay, so it's like seeing your iPhone homescreens within iTunes on the PC or Mac, and letting you drag app icons around, and drag apps onto or off the device. Much slicker and easier than the existing way of syncing.
18.21: The redesigned iTunes Store for the desktop - and remember, this is where a lot of people are buying music and movies for their iPhones - is also impressive at first glance. Features include the ability to gift albums, set up Amazon-style wishlists, and share directly to Facebook or Twitter a link to any content within the store.
18.22: Now a demo of iTunes LP - I'm still wondering how these will work on iPhones and iPod touches. At its simplest on the desktop, it's pretty pictures plus lyrics for every song. "If you're a Doors fan, this kind of extra material is priceless". Hmm. There's also for this particular example exclusive videos - interviews with Doors band members.
18.24: And the Dave Matthews Band, which is a bit more interactive - hand-drawn artwork turned into animations. He's playing the music too, which is a downside. But a new feature: iTunes Extras - for movies. Wall-E comes with extra features, information, 3D set fly-throughs - the sort of things you'd get as extras on a DVD, in other words. Again, the question from ME's perspective is if this content will be accessible on your iPhone or iPod touch.
18.27: Back to Jobs. iTunes 9 is available today as a free download from Apple's website.
18.28: And he moves on to the iPod, inviting Phil Schiller to come up and introduce new models. Stats: Apple has now sold over 220 million iPods. In the US, he says it now has 73.8% market share. He has a nice pie chart showing Microsoft's 1.1% by comparison. Ouch. And 50% of people who buy an iPod now are new to the iPod, still.
18.29: And the iPod touch is the fastest growing member of the iPod line. "To date we have now sold over 20 million iPod touch." That means 50 million App Store capable devices in total, with those 30 million iPhones.
18.31: Genius Mix WILL work on the iPod touch and iPhone. Also, if any of you were wondering why the times on this liveblog were an hour behind... Well, you imagined it. Really.
18.33: Schiller goes through some of the established features of the iPod touch - would you believe, it's great for music, apps and gaming. Schiller spends a bit of time on the latter, flashing up the PSP and DS. "When these things came out, they seemed so cool. But once you play a game on the iPod touch, you think 'hey, these things aren't so cool any more..." Shazam! Gauntlet flung. "We're talking about 25, 30, 40 dollars a title. The kids can't afford those titles... Worse isn't the price, it's the buying experience..." He's really putting the knife in - but to the established PSP/DS model - both are going digital fast, admittedly in the iPod touch's wake.
18.35: And now a chart with a bar graph showing PSP's 607 games, DS' 3,680 and then iPod touch's 21,178, before kicking into a video montage of App Store games.
18.36: And now some game demos. This is interesting - this is a music event, but games are getting a big priority. Oh, and now Ubisoft are coming up to show off a new Assassin's Creed game. Er.. not Gameloft? That's very strange - "Ubisoft is putting the finishing touches on one of this holiday season's hottest properties: Assassin's Creed 2".
18.37: So no mistake - not that it would be - Ubisoft is on-stage talking about iPhone games, rather than Gameloft. Gameloft did the first Assassin's Creed iPhone game, so I'm not sure if this is a case of a licence being taken back in-house... One for further investigation.
18.39: And now Tapulous' Bart Decrem takes the stage, with Riddim Ribbon, a new music game to join its Tap Tap Revenge. You play a DJ who is racing down a ribbon - if any gamers are shouting VIB RIBBON?! at this point, a prize. But this is 3D. And a ball jumping through hoops and forking off the track to select different DJ mixes. The best it of this is the chap who's actually playing the game for the demo, who is dancing as he plays.
18.42: It launches in October with three special Black Eyed Peas "content bundles", while Tiesto is supplying downloadable content. And players can share the mixes with their friends on social networks when they finish a level.
18.43: Ah, now Gameloft do get their moment on-stage, showing off a new first-person shooter called Nova. Very nice-looking. And at this point, I should note that games are getting as high a priority as iTunes 9 at this event - a telling sign of the priority they're being given by Apple.
18.45: Nova will have push notification, voice chat and the ability to challenge friends, and it ships later this year.
18.46: And finally for the games segment, Travis Boatman from EA takes the stage. Madden NFL 10 (hasn't this been announced already?). But it does look good. Obviously, being British, I'd understand it more if they ditched the padding and helmets, spent more time grappling, and made more use of joke-shop blood capsules.
18.49: Madden NFL 10 is out today, and that's a wrap. Back to Schiller, and presumably some new devices.
18.50: "It's the most affordable gateway to the App Store," he says, reminding us that it costs $229. "We learned something really important a few years back in the iPod business," he continues, referring back to the iPod mini - and how its sales doubled when it dropped to $199.
18,51: "$199 is a magic price point in the iPod market..." Yep, the iPod touch is dropping to $199 from today, for an 8GB model. There'll be a 32GB model for $299, and a new 64GB model for $399. And the two higher-price models will have...
18.52: Faster processors and OpenGL ES 2.0 - "50% faster at nearly everything you do". So bringing them into line with the iPhone 3GS. No cameras mentioned.
18.53: Onto the iPod classic. Upping its capacity to 160GB, but same size and price as the current 120GB model. Not being killed off then.
18.54: iPod shuffle. Lots of new headphones will come out with the iPod shuffle controls built in. Schiller spends longer talking about how great the shuffle is than he spent on the new iPod touch models... Oh, new colours. Black, silver, pink, green and blue. And the 2GB model will cost $59, shipping today, with 4GB $79 models.
18.56: And one more: the Special Edition iPod shuffle - $99 for a 4GB model looking like a very high-end lighter. Ah well. Maybe Steve has one more thing up his sleeves...
18.58: He does! And it's... a video camera? Nobody predicted that. Apple is taking on the Flip with an 8GB video camera, with a price tag of... Free? Yes, free. "We're gonna build a video camera right into the new iPod nano." Ah, so it's a new iPod nano with a video camera plus microphone.
19.00: And it'll sync to a PC's My Videos folder or to iPhoto on a Mac, with one-click to then upload videos to YouTube. It'll support the same Genius Mix feature that iTunes and the iPhone/iPod touch have. And there's a built-in FM radio too, a voice recorder app and a pedometer. And a larger 2.2-inch display.
19.02: And it comes in lots of colours. Pink, purple, blue, green... polished anodised aluminium. There'll be an 8GB model for $149 and a 16GB model for $179, both available today.
19.03: If that's the One More Thing, then it looks like no Beatles iTunes announcement today. Ah well. But at least all these new iPods are eco-friendly, according to Apple.
19.05: And that's all, folks. "Now..." Oh, hang on. "Like you, we love music and we never wanna forget that..." Live performance a-go-go from Norah Jones. There is, I think, an audible sigh from the UK journalists at this London satcast. Whether lust or disappointment, I'm not sure. And that really is all folks.