Spotlight on Apple
Update: 11:10: Apple's stock is down almost 5% in a morning that also sees the Nasdaq down more than 3%. Despite the lineup of new MacBooks and MacBook Pro, is the market disappointed that the prices are not low enough to boost the Mac momentum in a depressed consumer market?
Update 11:03: "We think there's a refresh cycle that's going to be triggered in both the MacBook and MacBook Pro," Jobs said.
What about a future Apple netbook? "That's a nascent market that is just getting started. We'll see how that goes," says Jobs.
Touch screens on laptops one day? "We've certainly experimented with it and it doesn't make sense yet to us," said Jobs.
Jobs is opening up the session to questions. Some caveats, he said. We have earnings in a week, so don't ask about financials.
And secondly, 110/70. "This is Steve's blood pressure. That's all we're going to talk about Steve's health today. If you want to see the number go higher, then ask a question about it."
And another thing -- "We are not economists," he said, showing a photo of the New York Stock Exchange.
Also from the video: "All of our innovation we bring to the popular Mac we make," says Ive. "If something doesn't need to be there, it's not there. I don't know how we could make anything more essential, anything more simple than the new MacBook."
Update 10:50: Jobs is summarizing: Two notebook families, he said. A new way to build notebooks, from a slab of aluminum to a notebook. And we're making them more affordable.
A video is airing, with Jony Ive saying that the new MacBook is changing the way MacBooks are made. "We figured out a way to make the notebook thinner, lighter and robust," Ive said. "And the only way to make that part is from a single piece of aluminum."
We are seeing video from the manufacturing process. "It's more beautiful internally than externally," says Ive. "That just shows how much we care."
Update 10:40: But wait. Jobs is talking about the MacBook. The new entry price is $999, down $100, "to make them a little more affordable. We'll keep selling them for a long time. These are fantastic products," Jobs said.
Plus the company is introducing a new generation MacBook on top of its white MacBook. The next-generation MacBook has many of the same features of the new MacBook Pro, the same "unibody" structure," eliminating about 60% of the parts. It comes with the glass track pad.
And the price? The first model is $1,299, which Jobs says is $700 more affordable for some of the key features in a MacBook Pro. The second model is $1,599.
Earlier Jobs said the company is updating the MacBook Air with the faster graphical chipset and GPU. It will be $1,799 and $2,499. They will be available, as will new cinema displays, in early November.
Update 10:35: OK, here come the prices and there's no recession-priced MacBook Pro this Christmas:
$1,999 for one model that has a 15.4-inch LED-backlit display.
The second is $2,499.
The MacBook Pro is shipping today and should be in stores tomorrow.
Update 10:30: Learn the phrase: "precision unibody enclosure," because Apple is proud of it.
The new structural frame for the new MacBook Pro saves the company from having to use half the structural parts.
Lights are up and they are passing the structural frame around, which is light.
"This is a tour de force of engineering," he said.
"Let's move them along through," he said. "You guys in the back are a little slow. Time's up. You can see them later."
Jobs is continuing through the features of the new Mac, including putting the battery indicator to the side of the product so you don't have to turn your computer upside down to find out how low your battery is.
The MacBook Pro will have the first solid state drive.
Update 10:22: Steve Jobs is back on stage. The company has partnered with Nvidia for a chipset and GPU that performs five times faster for laptops.
And the new notebooks will have new multitouch track pad -- glass "for silky smooth travel," said Jobs. He is showing a graphic. "Where's the button, you might ask," he said. "Well, the whole pad is the button."
"Today we are introducing our new MacBook Pro," he said. "And it's gorgeous."
Update 10:17: Jony Ive, senior vice president of industrial design, is talking about the struggles of building a thin but strong Mac. The company had a breakthrough. "We've had a significant breakthrough in the design and manufacturing of this product, the MacBook Air."
"Rather than start with a thin piece of aluminum, we discovered if we start with a piece and withdraw what we need, we make a stronger part."
"Precision aluminum unibody enclosure," he says, is the name of the process that allows the MacBook Air to be strong but thin.
Update 10:09: Steve Jobs has come out and he still looks thin. "Today is about notebooks. We want to tell you the story of how we created these things."
Tim Cook is telling about the momentum that Apple's Macs have experienced. The company sold 2.5 million Macs last quarter, he said.
The event comes as Apple shares have risen a bit from a year-low price. Speculation has been rife that the company will introduce new laptops starting as low as $800. (From what I can tell, the least expensive MacBook available now on Apple's site starts at $1,099.)
But there may be something really new.
In July, during an earnings call with analysts, Apple executives said the company was working on "state-of-the-art products at price points that our competitors can't match."
They demurred then, saying they couldn't talk about it anymore.
But maybe whatever it is will be revealed today.
-- Michelle Quinn
Photo credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press