Mac Event Liveblog

2:29:55 PM

New ad. “Evereything we’ve learned…has come down to this.” Nice subtle reference that brings the hipness of iPad and iPhone into the Mac line.

Jony Ive, stranded in the Apple Negative Zone, talking about the MacBook Air.

It truly does look as though it’s a notebook built using iPad technologies. Just goes to show how Apple does business: everything’s connected.

It also looks as though this new Air can peel the skin off of a tomato and slice tin cans in half while not losing its edge.

So the Air has a “take two.” It’s one of those products that was released and then sort of just sat there. It was expensive, underpowered, and the lack of ports (just one USB) was a big inconvenience. I took it for a weeklong conference days after Apple sent me the loaner and it was really tough to juggle the Air and a digital camera.

(My Air will arrive tomorrow morning.)


2:24:43 PM

Why solid-state storage? Instant on, 2x faster, more reliable, 90% smaller and lighter…and faster.

“Apple is the largest user of flash memory in the world; we know a lot about making flash storage subsystems.”

Battery life, when using wireless web: 7 hours of use. 30 days of standby time.

“Even using the more stringent tests, that’s what we’re getting. Using the old, liberal tests, the old MacBook Air got 5.”


Flash storage right on the board, like on iOS devices (not in a housing). Biggest thing is the battery (four slabs). TIny board is the actual Mac. “Using the knowledge we’ve gained designing iPhones and iPads.”

“And it has a younger brother, too:”

Little brother is 11.6 inches, 2.3 pounds. All the things with the larger one (Core 2, NVid, big keybaord, LED backlit display, camera, 1366×768 pixels.

5 hours of wireless web, 30 days of standby.

Pricing: $999 for 11.6 inch model, 64 gigs of storage. 128 gigs is $1199.

13 inch: slightly faster processor, $1299, 128 gig. $1599 for 256 gig.

Both models include 2 gigs of RAM.

Energy Star 5.0, Mercury free, arsenic free, meet EPA standards. You damned hippies.
Both models are available starting today. (Applause).


2:18:34 PM

“One More Thing…”

“Virtuous Circle”: Mac OS creates iOS and that inspires new features for Mac OS.

“It also has benefits for our hardware. What if a MacBook met an iPad? There’s a lot to be inspired there as well.”

Instant on.

Great battery life.

Amazing standby time.

Solid state storage…no hard drives or optical drives.

Thin and light, which means more mobile.

“What would happen if a Mac and an iPad hooked up?” (laughter)

“It’s one of the most amazing things we’ve ever created: it’s the new MacBook Air and we think it’s the future of notebooks.”

Damn, that looks thin. Stupid thin. At its thickest point .68 inches and tapers down to .11 inches at thinnest point. Weighs 2.9 pounds. (Oooo…triple the weight of an iPad, tough)

New iPad is completely unibody aluminum construction. Full-sized keyboard and fullsized glass trackpad. “These are areas you don’t want to sacrifgice.”

13.3 inch LED backlit display.

1440×900 pixels (“More than on the 15″ MacBook Pro”)

Core 2 Duo, NVIDIA GeForce 320m (same as MacBook)

FaceTime camera, mutitouch trackpad.

“Just as important are the things it doesn’t have: no optical and no hard drive.”


2:13:57 PM

“The Mac is a third of our business” with $22B in revenue. Continue to invest in retail store and happy with how “it brings people into the Mac tent.”

Steve is wrapping up announcements so far. Next up for sure: the new Airs.


2:12:29 PM

Steve: “I wish we had another hour and a half to show you more.” Will show more as they get closer to release. Plan is to release Summer 2011 (though that’s a target, not a promise).

“We don’t want to wait for Lion” for the Mac App Store. Will open it for Snow Leopard within 90 days. (!!!) Developers can start learning about it today, app submissions start in November.

(OK, Steve, but is it curated? Can ANY app get in there? More info, please!)


2:10:31 PM

Hands off the demo.

App Store. Dock icon for the App Store. Store looks like the same App Store for iOS. (I worry. I already have a hell of a lot of trouble culling out the one good app in a category from the 29 other similar ones that totally suck.)

One panel to download updates to all of your apps. (Does it work inside System Update as well, or do I need to go to the App Store to do it?)

Store pages. Customer ratings, screenshots, one-click purchasing. App icon actually flies out of the store page and lands inside the Dock. Click and you’re running the app. (Demos it with a purchase of Pages.)

Next: LaunchPad. “Super convenient way to organize and launch your apps.” Click icon in Dock. You get a grid of icons. Click to launch. LaunchPad fades back as app fades forward. Pages of icon and you can flick through like on the iPad, with multitouch gestures. can organize with click and drag.

Make folders the same was as on iOS: drag one icon on top of another.

(Interesting. So if Apple <em>does</em> build that convertible-hinge iMac like we saw in the patent filing, all of the components for a simple multitouch desktop are there.)

Fullscreen. Can open a PDF (say) and use multitouch gestures to turn pages. Gestures for getting in and out of fullscreen.

iPhoto goes from fullscreen to “standard” view with a flick. It looks like the open fullscreen PDF is another “space”; you flick to the left, and your desktop slides off to the left and the open “book” slides in from the right.

“Flick” seems to be part of the new lingo.

“We’ve unified dashboard (and all that stuff) into one space called “mission control.”

Gesture on trackpad makes an Epose view of windows, plus across the top there’ ariubbon of fullscreen apps, and on the bottom there’s the dock. Click or gesture and I’m inside any of these apps. Another gesture and back to Mission Control.

“If I’m looking for a window and it’s covered up, I can flick in and you see there it is, clustered by apps so it’s easy to find. I click and it comes forward.”

Expose now clusters windows from apps and clusters them together (as a wide “pile” with live previews.)



2:02:59 PM

“Touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical. It gives great demo, but after an extended period of time, you arm wants to fall off. Touch surfaces want to be horizontal…hence Pads.”

This is why they’ve done multitouch trackpads; “best way to get multitouch into a notebook.” Also done it with the mouse and the external trackpad. “That’s how we’re going to do multitouch on the Mac.”

The App Store. “Over 7 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store. We’ve never seen anything like this.”

As part of Lion there’ll be a Mac App Store:

1) Best place (not the only place) to discover apps.

2) One-click downloads.

3) Free and paid apps.

4) Revenue sharing (same 70/30).

5) Automatic installation.

6) Automatic app updates.

Apps will be licensed to be used on all of your Macs. “Very simple.”

You’ll have a single place to put them: “LaunchPad.” A single space, like on the iPad (OK, but can I put those icons elsewhere, too?)

Expose, Dashboard, Full screen apps, Spaces.

As we’ve added fullscreen apps, we’ve found a way to integrate them all, “We call it ‘Mission Control’.”


1:58:56 PM

Next up: the entree. MacOS X.

Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard — and now “Lion.”

“We started with Mac OS 10, and created a new version called iOS, which we used for the iPhone. We added new things, and perfected it, and now it’s in the iPhone. What wed like to do is, we’re inspired by those innovations and now we’d like to bring them Back To The Mac.”

“At a high level, these are going to be the most exciting things.”

“What have we learned and been inspired by on the iPad?”

Multitouch gestures “can be really important on the Mac.”

“The App Store has revolutionized how people get their apps.” (Big Brother uh-oh number 3)

App Home Screens.

Fullscreen apps (every app on iOS is a fullscreen app). “Sometimes, that’s a great idea for the desktop.” Says “Sometimes” twice…don’t worry.

Auto-save “is one less thing to worry about.”

“And when you launch apps, they come back to right where you were when you left them.”


1:55:19 PM

FaceTIme: “We’ve shipped 19 million FaceTime devices.” OK, so there’s the “there’ll be more than 10 million FT devices by the end of the year” announcement at the rollout.

Brings FaceTime to the desktop, gets all the info out of your contact list. No need to set up a new account. Even does fullscreen.

Hmm…no mention of “And it’s integrated into iChat.” Are they keen to make it an iTunes-like app, available for all platforms?

FaceTime window supports rotation…if chatting with someone on an iPhone and he rotates, you can swivel your window the same way.

“There’s really nothing else to demo,” he says.

“That’s FaceTime for the Mac.” Beta is released today, downloadable from New logo.

(No mention of Windows or the “open-ness” of Facetime promised earlier.)


1:51:53 PM

Learn To Play tracks your performance and shows you how well you’re doing. Or not doing. Called “How Did I Play?”

Back to Steve. “Isn’t that great?”

“We have over 5 million people using GarageBand.

No mention of iDVD, even though it was one of the icons showed at the top of the demo. Still free suite with every new Mac, $49 as a bundle if you have iLife ’09.

Steve urges the engineering manager of iLife to stand up for a bow. I’ve always liked that; it’s been a consistent thing with Apple, this recognition of (some) of the engineers.



1:49:17 PM

FLexTime lets you stretch or squash sections of recordings to match up with other tracks.

New lessons. This is a feature that didn’t really catch on from the last edition, did it?

“Let’s look at Mozart’s Minuet in F-Major”:

Learn To Play feature plays in fullscreen.

My disappointment with these lessons has always been that the point is to train you to hit the right keys in the right sequence. It doesn’t really teach you the underlying ideas that help you to understand the “language” of the keyboard. This is why I stalled after three or four years on the keyboard; I hit a wall were I couldn’t get past “This sheet music represents the keys you need to hit and the proper sequence.” Friends of mine really grokked the language. They <em>read</em> music.

I do like the new “group performance” lesson, where you can play along with a quartet and see how well you do.




1:45:27 PM

(Jobs sounds a little hoarse.)

GarageBand 11. New features for fixing the timing and rhythm of the music (I shall call this the ‘American Idol’ feature.)

Xander Soren takes the stage to show it off. Shows off new recording tools and “a fun way to learn the piano and guitar.”

(“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” “GarageBand 11”.)

(Anybody? Okay, whatever, let’s bring out your headliner now…)

Xander shows off a multitrack recording in which the drums are the only track where the musician is playing on tempo.

New “Groove matching feature” can fix this with just one click. Hover over tracks, can select one track as the “groove” track designating it as having the right rhythm. GB analyzes it “including the human feel” and then locks everything together to the rhythm of that track (as opposed to the app simply saying “OK, he’s playing in 3/4 time” and making everything 3/4).

So: GarageBand has brought Incompetence-Masking Technology to a new level, opening the world of pop music to a wider swath of lost sheep desperate for fame.



1:40:34 PM

Now direct sharing to Facebook and Vimeo.

Showing off two more trailer styles.

Well, if nothing else, it’ll help convince people to only do REALLY short, trailer-ey videos. As the survivor of wayyyy too many 45 minute extravaganzas inflicted by so-called “friends,” I like what this means.

Music is great. I think the new pastime will be to try to spot this music in commercial videos…like, in the middle of a gum commercial you’ll shout “J’ACCUSE!!! That’s ‘Radiant Triumphant Swell #2’ from iMovie 11!!!!”

Jobs pronounces it “Awesome.”


1:37:43 PM
Finished trailer looks great. But Apple is sitting on 50 billion dollars in cash. Couldn’t they have hired the “In a WORRRRLDDD…” guy to be standing by 24/7 to narrate your home movie trailer?


1:36:36 PM

Trailer tool lets you adjust metadata for the clip, the studio logo, the “microtext” credits page — it looks like a fun tool that tries to make your video look as much like a real studio trailer as possible.

Actually commissioned new scores for these titles, recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. Yeah, you “open source apps are always best” — you folks have the resources for THAT? :)

Spending a lot of time showing the Trailer tool. Odd. Seems like a fun idea but they spent less time explaining the audio tools.

People Finder: Face detection in Video. Can ID shots that have 1 person, 2 people, Many people. Can identify closeup, medium, wideshot. Wow, that could be quite awesome. When editing you might be thinking “We’ve been wide for a long time. Show me a medium shot with people; that’s what I need next.”

I like what I see. I hate editing video because I think it’s still so technical that you really need to have a very good reason to make this video before you’ll set off to invade Russia like this. But if I can get as much help as possible from iMovie to find the shots I want and keep things organized…awesome.


1:31:51 PM

That’s iPhoto. Steve: “I think that’s awesome. This is why we do what we do.” For the record, I do believe that Steve is completely sincere when he says things like that.

Next up: iMovie. “The number one request we got after the last iMovie was ‘better audio editing’. The team has gone above and beyond the call of duty and come up with something great.”

Plus: “One step effects,” a “People Finder” (to help you find clips with people in them — note, second “Big Brother” feature of the day), and a third feature I missed because I was typing that. I believe it was new Sports themes and such.

Audio editing: can now show audio waveforms, color-coded to show peaks, overlaid right on the video clip in realtime. This should make it very easy to to close edits (you can easily see the point where someone starts talking, for instance.)

Adjusting audio segments is easier. Can select a segment and drag it downward, which reduces the volume until the peaks are under the point of pain. Slick.

New: audio effects. Little boy does the “Luke…I am your father” line with an icicle. Can make him sound like Vader. OK.

One-Step Effects: like Instant Replay. Select a clip, choose “Instant Replay,” and tell it how slow you want it to go. One-step and it builds the replay with a title and everything.

“Flash and hold last frame” – the usual “photo of the last frame sticks around” effect.

I’m always a little skeptical about these effects. They’re cool demos but do people really use them? I’d be happy if it were easy to put arbitrary text on a frame instead of making my text fit inside one of the canned Title templates.

New “movie trailer” builder.


1:25:00 PM

New Books features. A style carousel previews a book layout with all of your photos already there. One-click Create tool.

Do lots of people really use that Book feature? I should give it another try. My problem is that it’s so tricky to make sure that the printed results match your expectations. (Also, I’m the kind of dork who keeps editing a Flickr album for days after the original post. It’d be like that Monty Python sketch in which the customer keeps tearing out pages from the bird book because there are so many birds he suddenly doesn’t like.)

It does seem a little quaint to see Apple so eager to get people to use…you know…actual books. You’d think Steve would be pacing and talking about all of the problems of analog photo sharing and how the iPad represents Apple’s solution.

Also keen to see if this feature will let me build iBooks photo books. I’ll be surprised if Apple misses that trick.

Nnnnope, he’s moved on to cards. New letterpress styles. So cool that it seems to require its own video. Reminiscent of those “How A Trombone Is Manufactured” videos they used to show on “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.”


1:20:50 PM

New mechanism for sharing photos via email: it all happens within iPhoto. No longer hands you off to the Mail app. Hmm. Does it have its own mail client built-in? Would it work if I didn’t use Mail as my favored client?

As usual: a very pretty photo bulletin board collage goes off. Can send a postcard version or the full-sized originals. Even the RAW files, I wonder?

New “Sharing” panel: when I look for details of a photo, iPhoto will tell me that I emailed it to so and so, that I uploaded it to Flickr, that these were the comments it got on Facebook. Neat…nicely social integration, there.


1:18:20 PM

iPhoto. Interesting how “fullscreen” looks a lot like an iPad app, eh? Though it’s probably more accurate to say that the iPad’s photo library was designed to be consistent with Apple’s future plans.

Very nice “camerawork” on the enhanced Map function. Could almost be a clip from a spy thriller in which the CIA is trying to target Jason Bourne…smooth camera moves as you traverse the map, looking for pushpins marking photo locations. Lovely slideshow feature (automatic) incorporating mapwork. Map moves behind the photos as the slideshow moves from one shot to another.

So this might convince people to turn on the Location features on their cameras. Which plays RIGHT into the hands of the Trilateral commission and their plans to track our every movement! Treachery! Beware!

(Joke. I hope.)

Another slideshow template. Looks a little like an Apple commercial, as your photos move in and out of Apple’s patented White Void where all of their products live.

Another slideshow template. Using Vince Guaraldo’s score from “Charlie Brown Christmas” as the music. “Holiday Mobile” is the name of the template…wonder if you get that track with iPhoto? Prolly not. Very famous instrumental tune. But these templates look great.


1:13:10 PM

iLife is first out the gate. iLife 11 with the same range of apps (including iDVD, curiously; it’s long been marked for death by the rumor mills).

iPhoto: has new fullscreen modes. “You can live fullscreen in iPhoto.” New Facebook enhancements, which makes sense as FB has become the #1 photo hosting side. New features for emailing photos, new slidehows, and they’ve goosed up the Books feature (“We’re printing 2 million books a year.”) Also adding letterpress cards.

Phil Schiller takes over for the demo.


1:10:33 PM

This is a three-screen event for me, incidentally: I’m watching the livestream on the iPad, blogging on my MacBook, and I have a second Mac open for live chat with MacBreak Weekly with video (which I’ll join when the event is over).

Damn and blast…the video has skipped back a few minutes just as Steve asked everybody to silence their phones. I don’t dare close to refresh the video window…I couldn’t get the feed up on another machine after I started it on the iPad!



1:06:37 PM
Starting off with the usual stuff: numbers. Apple kicks butt, we should have our own orbiting battle station by 2018, etc.


1:05:57 PM
Late start, sensation-seekers, but off we go!


11 thoughts on “Mac Event Liveblog

  1. Rich

    Boy, last time I was here I commented that hard drives were the new ‘wires’ to El Jobso. Now we can add the command line and programming environments to that list.

    I didn’t need a developer’s license to try “10 PRINT ‘RICH IS COOL’ 20 GOTO 10 RUN.”

    It’s going to be a lovely sealed environment that will appeal to many. Tinkerers, resist!

  2. Tim

    FaceTime is separate from iChat (and probably always will be) because iChat relies on AOL servers for buddy lists and user name data. Apple likely doesn’t want to increase that reliance.

  3. Jeff Edsell

    As others have mentioned, the incomparable Don “In a World” LaFontaine has passed away.

    However, a MacinTalk Pro Don LaFontaine voice would be AWESOME.

Comments are closed.