Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, where the company traditionally makes some of its biggest announcements of the year, is scheduled to kick off today at 10am Pacific time.
This year, the company has already announced that it will be showing off the latest version of its iPad and iPhone operating system, iOS 5, as well as Mac OS X Lion and a new service called iCloud. There are also rumors suggesting that iOS 5 will include a new notification system and that iCloud will feature extensive integration with Apple’s existing backup product, Time Machine.
Once the keynote starts, check back on this post for live updates from the event. We’ll also be posting a number of other stories about Apple’s news.
10:02 am: Steve Jobs takes the stage. Crazy applause, and an audience member shouts: “We love you!” Jobs: “That always helps.”
10:04 am: “We’re going to talk about three things today. Today we are going to talk about software,” OS X lion, iOS 5, and “some interesting new cloud stuff.”
10:07 am: Phil Schiller takes the stage. “We now have over 54 million active Mac users around the world and growing.” Last year, PC market shrank 1 percent, while Mac grew 28 percent. Mac has outgrown the industry every quarter for the past five years. “These products are the best we’ve made in the history of Apple.” The company launched Max OS X a decade ago. “This is what Mac OS X looked like 10 years ago when we launched it.” Loud applause.
10:11 am: There are more than 250 new features in Lion; Microsoft will highlight 10 today. 1) New multi-touch gestures. Lion “can count on multi-touch.” Beautiful, fluid, momentum-based scrolling. The ability to swipe through photographs, etc. 2) Full-screen applications. Button on top right of applications to go back-and-forth from full-screen mode. You can swipe to go back to the desktop as well. 3) A new “Mission Control” area where all of your open documents and windows are organized by the application that’s running them.
10:12 am: Demo of those three new features. Maybe the coolest thing: No scroll bars. You can swipe through your entire Internet browsing history on Safari. Demo also shows off a face-tracking technology, so demonstrator moves his head while camera follows him, and app adds animation of birds flying over his head. Also shows off creating a new desktop in Mission Control and dragging windows into that desktop.
10:19 am: 4) Schiller says Mac App Store has now become the number one channel for buying PC software. Topping Best Buy and Walmart and Office Depot. For example, Autodesk has seen 1 million new users on the Mac. With Lion, Mac App Store is built right in, so you don’t have to go out and download it. App Store now supports in-app purchases, push notifications, sandboxing, and “delta updates”, where users don’t have to download an entirely new app with each update, and instead just download what’s new.
10:22 am: 5) A new feature called Launch Pad allows users to bring up a menu of all their applications by simply pinching the track pad. 6) Resume. When you relaunch an application in Lion, it returns to right where you were when you closed it. 7) Auto Save. As you’re creating a document, Lion will automatically save it in the background. Additional features include the ability to “revert to last opened” version of document, and the ability to lock the document or to create a duplicate. 8 ) Versions. Creates automatic versions of documents. It only stores differences, so it’s an efficient use of disk space. You can also create manual snapshots if you want to save a specific version.
10:28 am: Demo. Shows off downloading Twitter from the App Store, and it “jumps” right out of the App Store and into the Launch Pad menu of apps. Next, shows off editing a brochure about guitars in Pages. When quitting the app, there’s no “do you want to save?” option, because the saving is automatic, and then it’s all restored when Pages is opened again. Then the demonstrator browses all past versions of the document. He copies and pastes an image of a guitar from an old version of the brochure into the new version.
10:32 am: 9) AirDrop. Peer-to-peer, WiFi based network for sharing. In the Finder, you see a new option called AirDrop, and you’ll see everyone else on your WiFi network who’s also running AirDrop. If you want to share a file with them, just drag-and-drop it onto their window. Files are encrypted. 10) A completely new version of Mail. New design, new search options, and “probably the best feature” (according to Schiller), Conversation View, which aggregates an entire email thread in one view, with all the redundant text hidden, similar to Gmail and other programs.
10:35 am: Demo. New search option allows you to search for any email with the word “trip”, or only emails with “trip” in the subject line, or home in on a specific subject line that includes the word “trip”. Demonstrator scrolls down a Conversation. It looks really beautiful, with in-line images and all the redundant text hidden away unless you want to see it.
10:38 am: A bunch of other new features, which Schiller doesn’t describe in-depth, including a new Windows migration tool. And Lion will only be available in the Mac App Store, rather than in a box. Schiller says it will be “the easiest upgrade you have ever seen.” It will be 4 gigabytes in size. According to App Store rules, when you purchase OS X Lion, it will work on all your authorized machines. Priced much cheaper as well, at $29.99. Crowd goes crazy. Latest developer preview available today. It will be available for customers in July.
10:42 am: Apple executive Scott Forstall takes the stage to talk about iOS 5. To-date, Apple has sold more than 200 million iOS devices. That makes iOS the number one mobile operating system, he says. More than 44 percent of mobile installed base compared to Android’s 28 percent. More than 25 million iPads sold in first 14 months. iTunes music store sold more than 15 billion songs, making it the number one music retailer in the world. iBooks store launched a little more than a year ago. Customers have downloaded more than 130 million books. Customers have downloaded more than 14 billion apps from the App Store in less than three years. Apple has paid out more than $2.5 billion to developers building apps for the App Store. More than 225 million accounts on Apple’s various stores.
iOS 5 includes more than 1,500 APIs for developers and more than 200 new features for consumers. 10 highlighted today. 1) Notifications. Apple has already pushed more than 100 billion push notifications. Apple is announcing a better user interface, called the Notification Center. When you swipe your finger down from the top, you’ll see the Notification Center, which displays all the push notifications you’ve received from applications. Notifications are less disruptive now, too, so they just show up at the top of the screen and automatically disappear if you ignore them. Demo shows off swiping down to bring Notification Center and swiping up to make it disappear. Demonstrator lists all the notifications, taps on the Facebook notification to get taken to Facebook, and swipes down again to return to the Notification Center.
10:51 am: 2) Newsstand. Forstall talks about Apple’s previously announced subscription feature, notes that many magazines like Vanity Fair, GQ, Elle, National Geographic, Wired, and many others have signed up. The Newsstand is a single place in the App Store for all your subscriptions. Your subscriptions are displayed on a “news rack” (which looks pretty similar to the bookshelf in the iBooks store). The newsstand supports background downloads of the latest issue in your subscription.
10:52 am: 3) New feature to make it easier to use Twitter on iOS devices. Single sign-on so you can log in to Twitter from other iOS apps without having to re-enter your username and password. A new interface for tweeting from other apps, such as sharing photos from Photos and articles from Safari.
10:57 am: 4) Safari. Forstall says nearly two-thirds of all mobile Web browsing is on Safari. When you’re reading a story on a website, you can tap the “Reader” button, then it creates a better presentation of the story, with a full screen and all the pages collected into a single scrolling screen. Readers can also use the “Reading List” to save a story to read later, which is saved to all your iOS devices and to Safari on your Mac. Safari for iOS now includes full support for tabbed browsing. Demo on iPad. One cool feature: Even though you can scroll through all pages in an article, Reader still includes a little break between them.
10:59 am: 5) Reminders. Allows you to store multiple lists of things to do, say one for a trip to San Francisco and another for a grocery list. Reminders can be tied to a specific date or a location. So you could say, “Remind me to call my wife when I leave WWDC,” and you’ll get the reminder when you cross a “geo-fence” showing that you’ve moved a certain distance away from Moscone West, where the conference is taking place.
11:02 am: 6) Camera. iPhone 4 is by the far the most popular camera on phones and will soon be the most popular camera overall. There’s now a shortcut from the “lock” screen to go directly to the camera so you can take photos quickly. You don’t even have to enter the passcode to take the photo — you just won’t be able to see past photos. You can use the volume button to take the photo. Camera also includes optional grid lines to compose the photo, a “pinch to zoom” filter, and there’s a way to lock the focus on a specific element of the screen. It’s also possible to edit photos from iPhone and iPad with features like crop, rotate, and red-eye reduction.
11:06 am: 7) Mail. You can drag-and-drop contacts. You can flag messages. You can now search entire messages, not just the from, to, and subject lines. Added support for S/MIME for encrypting messages. Demo also shows off a built-in dictionary that’s available from any app in iOS. Also shows off the way that the keyboard can be split and dragged anywhere on the screen.
11:10 am: 8 ) PC-free. “With the iPad, we’re ushering in the post-PC world.” Customers want to buy the iPad, or even the iPhone, as their only device. Selling into a households that don’t have computers. Now, when you take an iPhone out of the box, instead of seeing a “connect to computer” command, you’ll see a setup program straight from the device. To make this possible, software updates now happen over the air (you don’t need to plug in to a computer). Those updates are now delta updates, so you don’t have to download an entire new operating system, just the new elements. The company has added a lot features to apps so that they work standalone from the iPhone or iPad, rather than as a complement to the Mac or PC experience.
11:12 am: 9) Game Center. In nine months, Apple has 50 million Game Center users. That’s more than XBox Live, which has 30 million users. Apple adding photos, achievements points for games, the ability to see friends of friends, friend discovery recommendations, and game discovery recommendations. Games can be purchased and downloaded directly from Game Center. Apple has added support for turn-based games directly into the OS (previously turn-based games required more work from developers).
11:16 am: 10) iMessage. A new messaging service between all iOS users, including iPad and iPod Touch (which previously didn’t include text messaging options). New features include delivery receipts, read receipts, and typing indication, so you can see when someone is writing a message to you. Conversations are stored across your devices, so you can start a conversation on your iPad and continue it on your iPhone. Messages are sent over WiFi or 3G, and are all encrypted. Demo shows that delivered and read receipts are pretty subtle parts of the experience.
11:19 am: Other new features include the ability to mirror your iPad 2 on your television. You can now sync your iTunes account over WiFi. Also new development tools. Developer version of iOS 5 available today. It ships to customers this fall. Will work on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad and iPad 2, and third and fourth-generation iPod Touch.
11:22 am: Jobs back on-stage to talk about iCloud. “We’ve been working on this for some time now and we’re really excited about it.” Ten years ago, Apple realized PC was “going to become the digital hub for your digital life.” But now, devices have changed, and they all have music, photos, and video. If you buy a song on your iPhone, you want to be able to hear it on your Mac. “Keeping these devices in sync is driving us crazy. … We’re going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device. … We’re going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud.”
11:27 am: iCloud is more than just a hard drive in the sky. You upload files to iCloud, and then they’re wirelessly pushed out to your devices. Jobs admits there might be skepticism: “Why should I believe them, they’re the ones that brought me Mobile Me?” Jobs said Apple has learned a lot from the Mobile Me experience. Everything stored in the cloud, everything automatically updated. That includes Mobile Me data like contacts and calendar. Apple has also added calendar sharing. Again, shared calendar updates go to the cloud and then are pushed to all other devices. In outlining improvements to Mail, Jobs delivers a zinger: No ads. Mobile Me as you knew it ceases to exist and is available for free as part of iCloud.
11:31 am: Adding three new elements to “the iCloud universe.” There’s now a list of all the apps you’ve purchased, even if it’s not on a specific device, and you can download them to new devices. Future apps are now downloaded to all your devices. For iBooks, similar idea. Purchase history of all the books you’ve purchased available on every device, and new iBooks pushed to all devices. Bookmarks also synced across all devices. Also includes wireless backup to the cloud. Once each day, Apple will back up most of your important content from the phone to the cloud. Backed up content includes purchased music, apps, books; camera roll; device settings; and app data.
11:35 am: Three more apps that Jobs calls the “most inventive” part of iCloud. Documents in the cloud. Pages documents saved to cloud and pushed to other devices. Includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynotes. Demo shows editing a document in Pages on the iPhone, then seeing all of those changes instantly on the iPad.
11:37 am: Documents in the cloud completes Apple’s document storage story, Jobs says. The file system is the hardest part of the Mac to learn. On iOS, the app manages the presentation of its own documents. Now Documents in the cloud allows users to move those documents between those devices. There are APIs for app-makers to tapp into iCloud Storage. It works on all iOS devices, and on Macs and PCs.
11:43 am: Photo Stream. Jobs says this may be his favorite new feature. Users take photos on any device, camera roll is uploaded to the cloud, and it’s automatically downloaded to every other device. Users can also import photos into the Photo Stream from their Mac, and it’s then pushed to all their devices. It’s built into the Photos app in iOS, the iPhoto app on Macs, and the Pictures folder on Windows PCs. It’s also built into Apple TV, which is synced directly with the Photo Stream servers. To save space, Apple will store the last 1,000 photos on your iOS devices. On Macs or PCs, photos will be stored permanently. On Apple’s servers, photos will be stored for 30 days.
11:49 am: iTunes in the Cloud. Any music you purchase from iTunes can now be downloaded to any additional device at no additional charge. In the future, if you turn the switch “on”, any song purchased on any device will be automatically downloaded to all devices. Demonstrator looks up a Foo Fighter song on iTunes on the iPhone, which was purchased but not previously downloaded to the phone. Demonstrator taps the cloud icon and it’s downloaded to the phone. Demonstrator also purchases a Bruno Mars song on their iPhone, which is a automatically downloaded to the iPad. Supports up to 10 devices.
11:52 am: Every part of iCloud is free. Jobs: “We want every user to take advantage these. … We want people to see what these devices can really do and what the software can really do.” A competitor (oh, say Google) that doesn’t have access to the apps or the developer community can never build something like this, where “It just works,” he says. Will include 5 gigabytes of free storage for mail, documents, and contacts. Purchased apps, books, music don’t count, nor do the photos in Photo Stream. Developer beta test of iCloud is available today. iTunes in the Cloud part is available in the beta version of iOS 4.3. iCloud will ship as part of iOS 5 this fall.
11:57 am: One more thing. What about songs that you’ve already ripped yourself from CDs? There’s a new service called iTunes Match. Software will scan the non-iTunes music and match it up with songs in the store. Give that music the same benefits as music purchased from iTunes. It only takes minutes, compared to other locker programs, Jobs says. (Presumably a swipe at Google and Amazon.) Anything that doesn’t match up will still be uploaded to the cloud. Matched songs will be upgraded to high-quality, DRM-free formats. iTunes Match costs $24.99 per year. Jobs shows off a chart highlighting all the advantages of iTunes Match over Amazon and Google: “It’s an industry-leading offering, let’s put it that way.”
11:58 am: Jobs: “If you don’t think you’re serious about this, you’re wrong.” Apple just completed third data center in North Carolina. “It’s a pretty large place, and it’s full of stuff.”
11:59 am: And that’s it! Thanks for reading.
We’ll be exploring the most disruptive mobile trends at our fourth annual MobileBeat 2011 conference, on July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It will focus on the rise of 4G and how it delivers the promise of true mobile computing. We’re also accepting entries for our mobile startup competition at the show. MobileBeat is co-located with our GamesBeat 2011 conference this year. To register, click on this link. Sponsors can message us at email@example.com.
Like this story? Want to learn more? On April 14-15, our fourth annual VentureBeat Mobile Summit will tackle the eight biggest growth opportunities in mobile today. The invitation-only Summit will gather the top 180 executives at the scenic Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, Calif., to discuss issues like this. Request an invitation.