Apple WWDC liveblog

We're live at the event that saw the announcement of the iPhone 4 last year. iCloud incoming...

NOTE: This is the full liveblog from the event. If you would like to read about the individual announcements, please use the following links:

Need to know – iCloud

Need to know – iOS 5

Need to know – Mac OS X Lion

6:15pm (BST) To the strains of James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’ and a standing ovation, Steve Jobs took the stage at the 2011 WDC. One of the 5200 over-excited attendees yelled out ‘We love you!”. “If hardware is the sinew of our products, the software is the soul,” he says. He confirms that today’s launch is going to be all about software – Lion, iOS 5 and some interesting new cloud stuff.

MAC OS X LION

Need to know – Mac OS X Lion

He hands over to Phil Schiller. “Lion is all about the Mac and the Mac is doing terrifically well,” says Schiller. He shows the typical Apple graph – 54m installed users around the world. He goes on to show the PC market shrinking 1% over the last year, with Mac’s up 28%. (He doesn’t mention of course, that PC sales are starting from much higher numbers.”

Notebooks account for nearly 75% of Macs sold today. Lion has 250 new features but he runs through the top 10.

1.       Beautiful, fluid multi-touch gestures. “Why do we have scroll bars? You don’t need them any more.”

2.       Full screen applications. Apple has made it easier for developers to make full-screen applications – with simple swipe gestures to bring back the desktop. Most of the Apple applications are going full screen ‘out of the box’.

3.       Mission Control – a bird’s eye view of your system. Widgets accessible with a tap, and live tiles at the top of the screen.

6:30pm (BST) We get a neat demo of swiping through browser windows – you can navigate your entire Safari history. Swipe left to go back to the dashboard or double tap for smart zoom. New PhotoBooth effects, including birds circling your head that track your motions and new facial distortion features.

It’s the iPad-ification of the Mac OS. Adding zooms, swipes and tiles to the desktop.

4.       The Mac App Store. Phil  says the Mac App Store is now the leading channel for buying software in the US – although he compares it to old-school bricks and mortar retailing rather than downloads. The Store is built in to Lion, and will include in-app purchases, push notifications and sandboxing.

5.       Launchpad – A pinch gesture brings up application icons, including folders.

6.       Resume – A nice touch. When you launch an application in Lion it brings you right back to where you were. Same after restart – everything just the way you left it.

7.       Auto Save – Why should you have to keep saving? .

8.       Versions – Automatically save versions of your file as you go along. It’s efficient, it only stores the differences between the versions. And only the current version is shared.

6:45pm (BST) Another demo. The Launchpad is just like iOS, with icons, folders and an App Store that looks exactly the same. The Auto Save and Versions seem to work very smoothly, including a ‘browse all versions’ window that lets you restore versions all the way back through a document’s timeline. Can cut and paste between versions too.

9.       AirDrop – New feature to share documents. A solution for ‘sneakernet’ – sharing files with USB flash keys. This is a P2P Wi-FI wireless network that shows everyone around you running AirDrop. You just drag and drop, with confirmation at both ends. Fully encrypted too.

10.   Mail – New version of mail in Lion. Works in full screen, works in two or three columns. Shows snippets – first lines – like in iOS. New search suggestions across your entire Mail database. Conversation view arrives too, er, just like in the latest Outlook. It looks great though, with all the repeated forwarded and replied text hidden.

Lion is all about bringing Mac computers and iOS closer together. It seems to be intended to lure iPad users further into the Mac ecosystem, and the convenience features of Auto Save, Versions and Air Drops bound to appeal to the silver surfing tablet users too.

Lion is available only in the Mac App Store and is promised to be your easiest upgrade ever – and works with multiple Macs. Schiller even highlights the Windows Migration tool to drag over a mainstream audience. Biggest round of applause of the day greets the pricing – just $29 (that’s $100 less than previous OS upgrades). Available in July.

Need to know – Mac OS X Lion

7:00pm (BST)

iOS 5

Need to know – iOS 5

Over 200m iOS devices sold. Number one mobile OS, 44%.

25m iPads sold. Created a whole new category.

Stores – 15bn songs sold in Music Store – number 1 retailer of music in the world

Book Store – over 130m books downloaded. All six major publishers. No mention of not being the largest digital book retailer.

Apps – 425,000 apps, with 90,000 iPad only apps. Downloaded over 14bn apps in less than 3 years.

Apple has paid out over $2.5bn to developers building apps for the app store.

FDA and FAA approved apps

iOS 5 – 1500 new APIs.

More than 200 new features (don't worry – we won't list all of them)

1.       Notifications gets another massive cheer. These have been massively popular – eh? 100bn notifications pushed. That’s a bit of a stretch – they’re actually pretty annoying, interrupting games and disappearing notifications lists. Solution is the Notification Centre, combines all your notifications by a downswipe from the top – exactly like the Android notification. It has any push notifications from apps, app store and includes stocks and weather. No longer interrupting – just a nice animation that rolls out from the top of the screen. More information on the lock screen – slide your finger across a notification and it’ll open the app or service.

7:15pm (BST)

2.       News Stand with subscriptions. “most of the major publishers” have signed up to the service – you get audio, video on the iPad. Namecheck GQ, Popular Science, Wired, The New Yorker, The Daily, The New York Times, Daily Telegraph in the UK. Single place in the App Store that combines all in one place. Automatic background downloads – say newspapers while you’re sleeping. Applause – but pretty much like the Kindle. Looks good – covers of magazines update themselves too.

 

3.       Twitter. 1bn tweets per week. Adding single sign on to Twitter – just log in on your phone and then give apps permission to use it. Integrated in with camera and photos. Can add location. Can tweet vids from YouTube, pages from Safari. Will automatically update photos in your contact list from Twitter – and @usernames

 

4.       Safari. He’s saying it’s the best mobile web browser. Most popular 67% vs 24% Android. New Reader button that extracts a story from a webpage, removes distractions and turns multi-page stories into single scrolling window. Can email the content of a story. Reading List – quick way to save a story to read later, and it works across platforms so you can tag a story on the PC and read it on a tablet. Full tabbed browsing. At last!

The Reader button looks useful for iPad browsing. Interested to see how this will work with ads and other page furniture though – I can’t see some publishers going to be happy about this?

5.       Reminders. Get rid of scraps of paper. Reminders App you can store lists of things and dates and places – you can only be reminded when you get to a certain place or leave somewhere. It sets up a geofence. Works with iCal and Microsoft Outlook.

6.       Camera. Most popular mobile camera and will soon be the most popular. There will be a lock screen shortcut with a double click – straight to camera and ready to shoot. Even works with a passcode, works around it. And use the volume up button to shoot a photo. Also grid lines, pinch to zoom, and focus and exposure locks. Also editing – crop and rotate, red eye reduction – on the phone. Auto Enhance also.

7.       Mail. Adding rich text formatting, indenting, draggable addresses, flag and search entire message on phone and the mail server. Obvious upgrades but welcome.

Split keyboard for thumb typists that drags up and down the screen – might help us stop dropping our slippery iPads

7:30pm (BST)

 

8.       PC-free. Massive whoops. “We’re ushering in the post-PC world” People want their iOS device to be their only computer. Setup will not need a PC – activate the device on itself. Software updates are now over the air. Forget getting rid of the PC – this means getting rid of iTunes – now there’s something really worth cheering about.

The message here is that you don’t need another computer at all. Functionality is there to let you cut the cord with your PC (or Mac of course).

9.       Game Center. Most popular game platform on the planet. 100,000 games and entertainment titles. Games Center has 50m users, vs Xbox Live 30m users (9 months vs 8 years). Add photos, achievement points, recommended friends and game discovery. New turn based games.

10.   iMessage – Bigs up their messaging client. New messaging service between iOS 5 customers – text, photos, videos, contacts, group messaging – plus delivery receipts, read receipts, typing indication, pushed to all devices – can pick up where you left off. 3G and WiFI – encrypted.

Interesting thing here is how the carriers will take this, particularly in the US where SMS messages are still pretty pricey – and you pay for receipt as well as sending.

Extra features – AirPlay Mirroring, iTunes Tone Store, Wi-Fi sync to iTunes – again great, anything that lets us spend less time in front of iTunes is worthwhile.

Developers get access today – massive whoops.

iOS5 ships to customers in the Fall (deathly silence). Will work on all the same devices as iOS4

Need to know – iOS 5

7:45pm (BST)

iCloud

Need to know – iCloud

Steve’s back. “10 years ago we had the insight that personal computers would the hub of your digital life – images, video, music”

He is looking a little frail but it’s great to see him up here getting excited about a new Apple product.

Talking about how synching in the modern world is a hassle – “Keeping these devices in sync is driving us crazy. We have a great solution. We’re going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device, and we’re going to move the digital hub into the cloud. All these new devices have communications built in.”

Now, photos are going to be sent up to the cloud and are pushed down to devices automatically. “I don’t have to think about synching. I don’t even have to take the phone out of my pocket”

“The cloud is way more than a hard disk in the sky. iCloud stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices, automatically. It just works.”

“You might ask, why should we believe them? There the ones that brought us MobileMe. But we learned a lot. We’ve rearchitectured contacts, calendar, mail from the ground app as cloud apps.

“The truth is on the cloud.” Changed on any device, it’s updated on all devices, automatically. Adding calendar sharing

Big news – MobileME is dead – iCloud is FREE

Adding 3 new apps

App Store – all your apps visible on all your iOS devices, just tag to download. No extra charge. In the future, whnen you buy an app, it gets downloaded to all your devices

Book Store – The same. When you buy a new iBook, it downloads to all device. Wirelessly synchs bookmarks (like Kindle). “It all just works”

Backup – You can wirelessly back up to the cloud for people that want to be completely PC-free. Backup important contents – buy a new phone, type in your Apple ID and everyone will be loaded on to it. Automatic daily backups over Wi-Fi – music, book, camera roll with photo video, device settings and app data.

“But we couldn’t stop there. The final three apps are amazing, the most inventive part of iCloud.”

7:50pm (BST)

Documents backup - works with Pages, Numbers and Keynote – it’s already in the versions launched last week.

Steve leaves the stage while the document demo happens. Looks great, and happens pretty fast. In the background, changes are fed back and uploaded to all other instances of the application.

Steve’s back again. “We’ve been working for 10 years to get rid of the file system. The difficulty is staggering for most people. On iOS devices you don’t have to think about. This completes the iOS document storage solution. Apps stores documents in the iCloud, pushes changes to all documents and devices.” Naturally, there are some iCloud APIs for the developers here.

Works on Macs and PCs, too.

“This next one is my favourite one, called Photo Stream. It’s going to bring the cloud to photos. Take photos on any device, goes to the Camera Roll. Automatically uploaded to the iCloud where it’s stored, then automatically downloaded to other devices, including my Mac.”

It’s photos that you take or import. “We’ve built this right into the apps so there’s nothing new to learn.” There’s a new button in the app called PhotoStream.

Works with PCs and Apple TV.

Photos are large and will take up all the memory on your device – and in our servers. We’ll save the last 1000 photos on your device and if you want to save them, just move them into an album. We’ll store photos on your Mac or PC forever, and we’ll store photos in the cloud for 30 days, which is more than enough time to download them to all your devices.

7:55pm (BST)

iTunes in the Cloud.

Steve “I buy something on my iPhone, it’s not there on my other devices. For the songs you’ve already bought, we’ve added a Purchased button (sorted by artist or title or whatever), showing your whole purchase history. You can now download anything you’ve already bought on iTunes to any of your devices at no additional charges. First time in the music industry”.

“For the future, I flick one switch to on and now anything I buy will be automatically pushed to all my devices.”

Wow – big news here is that it doesn’t work with your entire iTunes library, unlike the Amazon and Google cloud music services launched here in the US recently. This is a much less compelling offering.

8:00pm (BST)

The demo is as crisp and assured as the previous ones.

256kbps AAC and works on up to 10 devices (compared with 8 on Google, unlimited on Amazon).

All the apps are free. “We want every user to take advantage of these apps. A competitor that doesn’t own the apps can never make this, so that it just works.”

All you do is type in your Apple ID and password, turn the switch on. 5GB of free storage for mail, documents and backups – purchased music, apps and books don’t count towards that, neither does Photo Stream.

This goes out to developers today, and iTunes in the Cloud goes live today, it’s already part of iOS 4.3 as a beta. Everything else comes with iOS5 in the autumn.

One more thing...

Colour me embarrassed – here is iTunes music matching!

“You can synch your new devices via Wi-Fi or cable. Or buy the songs you’ll miss on iTunes. Or you can scan the 18m songs in the iTunes library using our software. We give that music the same benefits as songs you’ve purchased.  We’re scanning your library so we don’t need to upload most of your library. The few songs that remain, we’ll upload manually.”

Matched songs will upgraded to 256kbps DRM-free. iTunes Match costs US$24.99 a year.

8:05pm (BST)

“most customers won’t need this because they’ve bought many songs from iTunes. But for those that do, this is an industry leading offer.”

“If you don’t think we’re serious about this you’re wrong. We’ve just completed our third data centre in North Carollna. It’s as eco-friendly as you can make a data centre. It’s a pretty large place full of expensive stuff. We are ready, we think, for our customers to start using iCloud.”

Need to know – iCloud

And that’s a wrap.

Need to know – iCloud

Need to know – iOS 5

Need to know – Mac OS X Lion

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