Home Live Blog: Apple’s “Back to the Mac” Event (iLife, OS X Lion, New Macbook Air)

Live Blog: Apple’s “Back to the Mac” Event (iLife, OS X Lion, New Macbook Air)

Apple is holding a Mac-centric press event on its Cupertino campus this morning. The rumor mill is pointing towards a preview of OS X 10.7 Lion, as well as a refresh of the MacBook Air line and possibly a new version of Apple’s iLife and iWork suites. Given that this is a Mac event, we don’t expect to hear anything about the Verizon iPhone or other iOS devices today.

To see what really happens, read on to see our live blog, which will start at 10 a.m. Pacific/1p.m. Eastern.

Apple will also offer a live video stream of the event, though the video is only compatible with Safari 4 and 5 on the Mac and iOS devices.

Live Blog

9:45 AM: Waiting for the event to start. Apple events tend to begin on time, so check in around 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern for the first updates.

9:55 AM: The live video stream is now up and running.

9:59 AM: And we are starting early. Steve Jobs takes the stage. “We’ve got some fun stuff to share with you this morning.” Some of the engineers will demo the projects.

Tim Cook will update the audience on the state of the Mac.

Mac makes up 33% of Apple’s revenue. The Mac business alone would be number 110 on the Fortune 500 list. Sold 13.7 million Macs in Q3 – three times as many as five years ago.

10:02 AM: Mac grew 27% year-over-year. Outgrew the market 4 1/2 years in a row. 20.7% of U.S. consumer market share.

10:03 AM: 600,000 registered Mac developers. Cook cites Valve – the gaming developers – as an example for how vibrant the Mac ecosystem is. Notes that AutoCAD is back on the Mac, that Microsoft continues to invest in the Mac and that Outlook on the Mac is “exceptionally good.”

10:06 AM: Customer satisfaction is high.

10:06 AM: Update on retail stores. 318 stores now. “The momentum on the Macintosh has never been more.”

10:07 AM: Steve is back on stage and reminds audience to turn off their phones.


10:08 AM: iPhoto 11. New features: new full screen mode, Facebook enhancement (even easier to post to Facebook), easier to email photos, new slideshows, “big leap in books” (Apple now prints more than 2 million books per year).

10:10 AM: Phil Schiller takes the stage to demo the new features. Starting with the new full screen mode. Basically all the regular iPhoto features are now available in full screen mode.

10:12 AM: Demo of new slideshows. New map-based slideshow looks nifty.

So far, the focus remains on demoing new slideshows. While nice, they are not revolutionary.

10:15 AM: Emailing photos: share photos from inside iPhoto. No need to go into your mail program anymore. Schiller shows how you can send formatted HTML-based emails with your photos from iPhoto.

10:17 AM: New info panel shows what your friends on social networking sites (Facebook) say about the photos you shared.

10:18 AM: New books. Just like with the slideshows, these are basically new templates, but you can also manipulate them in the new full screen mode.

Automatic book creation is now smarter. New book editor picks most highly rated photos as the big photos on a page, for example.

10:21 AM: New project view: see a bookshelf (looks a bit like iBooks) to see the books, cards, etc. you created.

10:22 AM: New letterpress cards. Shows video of how they are created.

10:23 AM: Steve back on stage. “I think that’s awesome. This is why we do what we do.” Recaps iPhoto news (full screen, books, letterpress cards).

iMovie 11

10:24 AM: The number one request we got was better audio editing. “What we try with iMovie is to make video editing really easy.” Also new: one step effects, people finder, news and sports themes, movie trailers (“This is going to be really fun”).

10:25 AM: Randy Ubillos – chief architect for iMovie takes the stage to demo audio editing.

New waveform now shows underneath the video clip. Gives you more control over editing your audio (fade audio in and out, etc.).

Audio effects (muffled, robot, etc.). “We think people will have a lot of fun with this.”

One step effects: Create instant replays, for example, with just one click. Also shows how you can take a single frame and turn it into a still image.

10:29 AM: Movie trailers. Starts in outline view where you put in a name for the video, name of cast members (2-6) and their gender, studio logo. Shows credits. New storyboard mode makes it easy to choose the right videos for your trailer by giving you an outline for it. Includes new scores for background music – some done by London Symphony just for Apple.

10:32 AM: Took face detection from iPhoto and brought it to iMovie. Now knows how many people are in a clip and if it’s a close-up, for example. In storyboard mode, iMovie can already preselect the right videos for you based on this information.

Showing off finished product – looking very good for five minutes of (much rehearsed) work.

Sharing to Facebook, Vimeo and CNN iReporter built-in.

10:37 AM: Showing more examples of trailers.

10:38 AM: Back to Steve. “A lot of great new features.”

GarageBand 11

New features to help you fix the timing and rhythm of your music; more amps, groove matching, new piano and guitar lessons.

Xander Soren from Product Marketing on stage.

Demo: example of a rather messy recording. GarageBand can now fix the rhythm. New groove matching feature can now fix this with just one click (based on one good track as the base track).

10:42 AM: “It’s like an automatic spellchecker for bad rhythm.”

New flex time feature: fix the timing for just one part of a track.

10:44 AM: New guitar and piano lessons. Apple always wanted to make this a focus of GarageBand but it always slumbered in the background. Good to see them bring this back.

Demo of piano lesson. Plays chamber orchestra in the background and points out errors and timing mistakes.

10:48 AM: Back to Steve again. 5 million GarageBand users. That wraps it up for iLife 11.

Available today. Pricing: $49 for upgraders and free on new Macs.


10:50 AM: 19 million devices with FaceTime sold. Number one request: bring it to the Mac.

FaceTime is coming to the Mac.

10:51 AM: Steve is doing this demo himself – talking to Phil Schiller. FaceTime on Mac knows to switch between portrait and landscape mode.

Beta release coming today.

Mac OS X

10:53 AM: “We want to give you a sneak peek where we are going with Mac OS X.” Seven major releases so far. “We know how to take it even further.

Lion – the eighth major version of OS X.

Philosophy behind Lion: “That’s where ‘Back to the Mac’ comes from.”

10:54 AM: “We were inspired by the features and interface we created for the iPad and iPhone.” OS X meets iOS.

Learned from the iPad: Multi-touch gestures, app store, home screens, full screen apps (“and sometimes that’s great on the Mac, too”), auto save, auto resume.

“These are some of the highlights that inspired us.”

10:57 AM: Touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical. “It doesn’t work. Touch surfaces want to be horizontal.”

Multi-touch on the Mac will be done through mouse, touchpads, but not on screen.

10:58 AM: App Store for Mac: 7 billion downloads for iOS. For Lion, there will be a Mac App Store. Best place to discover apps (but not the only one!), same 70/30 split for developers, automatic installation, automatic updates.

LaunchPad: a homescreen for your apps.

11:00 AM: Exposé, full screen apps, Dashboard, Spaces: “Wouldn’t it be great to unify them all.” Mission Control: a new way to find everything that is running on your Mac and switch between them.”

Craig Federighi on stage to demo features of Lion.

App Store: “We’ve taken everything that users love about the App Store on the iPad and brought it to the Mac.” Looks just like the regular iOS app store.

Apps are automatically installed to your dock.

11:03 AM: LaunchPad: “A super-convenient way to launch all your apps on your Mac.” These is basically a homescreen for your Mac. Brings up all the apps on your computer with just one click. Organize apps just like on the iPhone. Includes folders.

11:05 AM: Full-screen apps: pretty much what you expect them to do. Takes apps full screen.

11:07 AM: Mission Control: unifies Exposé, DashBoard and Spaces in one view. Nifty new feature: app clusters that clusters all the windows from a single app together.

11:08 AM: Steve’s back. “We’re really excited about Lion.”

“We will unveil more of this as we go along.” Release date: Summer 2011.

11:09 AM: Mac App Store will open within 90 days for Snow Leopard users. Developers can start learning about it today. App submissions accepted starting November.

11:11 AM: Steve recaps the news from the event.

One more thing…

11:12 AM: One more thing…

“What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up.”

What’s so great about the iPad: instant on, battery life, standby time, solid state storage, thin and light.

“This is the result. “One of the most amazing things we ever created. We think this is the future of notebooks.”

Very thin, weighs 2.9 points. Unibody construction.

11:15 AM: Specs: 13.3 inch LED display, 1440×900 pixels, Core 2 Duo, GeForce 320m, full-size keyboard. No optical drive, no hard drive.

Benefits of flash storage: instant on, up to two times faster than hard drives, more reliable. Smaller, lighter and silent.

Apple is already the largest user of flash memory in the world.

Battery life: seven hours on the wireless Web, 30 days standby.

11:18 AM: “The PC industry’s battery test don’t always reflect real-world results.” Apple uses more “stringent” tests.

11:19 AM: “This is not the whole story. It has a younger brother, too.” Version with 11.6 inch screen. All the same specs (besides the screen).

Battery life: five hours Web, 30 days standby.

11:21 AM: Pricing: $999 for 11.6 inch model with 64GB flash. Bigger screen starts at $1299 with 128GB flash storage. Top-end model: $1599.

Available today.

11:23 AM: Steve shows new ads and video demo of the new MacBook Air. Your standard Apple product video – I wonder if they have an iMove template for these…

11:29 AM: And it’s a wrap… Thanks for reading everybody. Stay tuned for more analysis of the news from the RWW team over the course of the day.

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