Live blog: Back to the Mac

Macworld Australia Staff
21 October, 2010
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The time has come for Apple’s ‘Back to the Mac’ event. We’re gearing up to cover it live for you, but Apple has also announced you can stream video of the keynote on your Mac or iOS device.

We’ve actually had some confirmation from our very reliable rumour source of what to expect this morning, so check out our Twitter account for the details.

We’ll get underway shortly. Bringing you all the action will be online editor Xavier Verhoeven as well as our US colleagues Jason Snell and Dan Moren.

3:56am: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We’re on lovely Apple campus and the word of the day is L-I-O-N. (DM)

Smooth jazz is playing, there’s a “Back to the Mac” pictures on the screen, and Jony Ive is in the house. All the successful ingredients of an Apple event. (DM)

3:57am: As usual, the Apple top brass is assembled in the front row. I’ve seen Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Bob Mansfield, and Scott Forstall in addition to Ive. (DM)

4:00am: Here’s Steve (XV)

4:01am: “We’ve got some fun stuff to share with you this morning.”

4:01am: Tim Cook is talking about the Mac, putting the revenue in context. (XV)

4:02am: The Mac company, if it were a standalone company—”and we have no plans to do that”—would be 110 on the Fortune 500 list. (DM)

4:02am: Almost 14 million Macs in the fiscal year. (DM)

4:03am: incredible increase in the installed base, which is just shy of 50 million users. (DM)

4:04am: This didn’t just start happening, Tim points out. Last quarter, Mac grew 27% in comparison to 11% of PC growth overall. Mac has outgrown the market for 18 quarters in a row—4.5 years. (DM)

4:04am: 20.7% US consumer retail market share in August 2010, according to NPD. (DM)

4:04am: You get the feeling they’re a little mad that people assume that Apple is not paying attention to the Mac! (JS)

4:04am: With the share rising and the unit rising much faster than industry, very vibrant developer community. 600,000 registered Mac developers. (DM)

4:04am: Even more amazing: they’re growing at 30,000 per month. (DM)

4:04am: New developers like Valve and creator of Steam. One of the premiere gaming developers in the world. Bringing titles simultaneously to Mac and PC. Bring titles like Half Life. Great for the Mac, and a shot in the arm for gaming on the Mac. (DM)

4:05am: Steve is letting Tim Cook talk more at this event than he did on the analyst call! (JS)

4:05am: Developers we’ve worked with for a long time, like Autodesk—they’re bringing AutoCAD to the Mac. “We’ve coveted this app for a long time.” (DM)

4:05am: It’s good to see Tim Cook front and centre. He’s a really sharp guy. (JS)

4:05am: Then there are continuing developers, like Microsoft. Tim says they’ve done a remarkable job of Office. (DM)

4:05am: “Customer survey after customer survey, the Mac is scoring #1.” And they’re #1 in customer satisfaction, according to ACSI, seventh year in a row. (DM)

4:06am: One of the key things in fueling momentum is Apple Retail. It’s still under 10 years old. Stores welcomed 75 million visitors last quarter. Over the last fiscal year, sold 2.8 million Macs. (DM)

4:06am: Half of those are new to the Mac! (XV)

4:07am: Stores in China are the highest trafficked of any of the stores. “And if you’ve ever been to any of our U.S. stores, you know that’s making a statement.” (DM)

4:08am: Momentum on the Mac has never been more. (DM)

4:08am: Back to Steve – asking everyone to silence their phones. (XV)

4:08am: ‘iLife is widely regarded as best suite of digital life applications in the world. It’s why some people buy a Mac.”

4:09am: Got a new version today – iLife ’11.

4:09am: First one is iPhoto. Fullscreen modes getting fleshed out, more Facebook enhancements, easy to email photos, new slideshows, big leap in books (how you make them and the quality of the printing). (XV)

4:10am: Phil Schiller is demoing iLife 11.

4:11am: Fullscreen iPhoto looks nice – has Apple taken cues from fullscreen iOS apps? (XV)

4:12am: Pushpins on the map for all your locations. You can click show photos to you all your pictures from the area you’re looking at. Or run a slideshow. (DM)

4:13am: iPhoto makes a slideshow for you from Places with animations and transitions, with a map moving behind the photos. Looks very nice. (XV)

4:14am: Go into album view, which also looks a bit like the iPad as Phil points out. (DM)

4:14am: Reads photos from Facebook and Flickr, all read automatically. (DM)

4:14am: So iPhoto is basically going crazy with the full-screen view. Interesting UI direction. (JS)

4:15am: The “Reflections” template shows one-up, two-up, or four-up automatically, a white background, and a slight reflection along the bottom of the photos. (DM)

4:15am: Holiday Mobile, 3D effects, photos swing around as suspended from strings while snowflakes int he background drift. (DM)

4:16am: Emailing photos: if you’ve got a bunch of photos and want to email them, you just select them, click “Share via E-mail” and inside iPhoto it creates an email for you. (DM)

4:16am: You can pick templates and the photos get laid out. Dragging and dropping let you move them. “I want to make this koala bigger. Everyone loves koalas.” (DM)

4:17am: New iPhoto email interface looks a lot like iOS. (XV)

4:18am: Now, Phil brings up the info panel, with a new sharing panel. It tells Phil that he just emailed the photo to Steve, and that he’s uploaded it to Flickr and Facebook, along with comments from Facebook friends. (DM)

4:18am: If you want to create a new book, you pick an album. Here are 121 photos you want to put into a coffee table book. Just click Create, select Book and you get a new book fullscreen view, the carousel. You can pick a book, but the photos are already laid out. (DM)

4:18am: You can pick a theme, a colour, and a size. Then click Create, and iPhoto’s made the book. (DM)

4:19am: It uses the information about the album to make the book. The cover used the key photo from the album. The higher you rate a photo, those will be photos it uses for the bigger spreads. It tries to keep photos together if they were snapped around the same time. (DM)

4:20am: Some people are wondering why they’re taking so long with iPhoto. The thing is, iPhoto is the most popular app in iLife and a huge advantage when Apple sells new Macs. So it’s worth the time, from Apple’s perspective. (JS)

4:21am: There’s a new Projects view in the fullscreen mode that’s a wooden bookshelf, that shows you everything you’ve made: books, cards. (DM)

4:21am: Yes, when you click on some of the bottom toolbar icons, they display iOS-style “popover” menus above them. Some interface merging happening here. (JS)

4:21am: You can make a bunch of gorgeous cards. There’s themes, and you can select what kind of card: flat, folded, or letterpress (DM)

4:22am: There’s a video in the carousel to teach you what letterpress cards are. They use a raised plate, and press the plate to the paper which debosses paper as well as printing. (DM)

4:22am: Just a few of the new features of iPhoto ’11. And Phil’s all done. (DM)

4:23am: Steve’s back on stage. (XV)

4:23am: “I think that’s awesome. This is why we do what we do.”

4:23am: Next up, iMovie 11. “This is a great release.”

4:24am: The team has gone above and beyond and come up with something great. “Extremely sophisticated editing, really simply.” (DM)

4;24am: Also one step effects, a People Finder to help you find clips with people in them, news and sports themes, the ability to construct movie trailers with no effort. (DM)

4:25am: To show them, they’re bringing up Randy Ubillos, chief architect for video apps. (DM)

4:25am: First up, here’s audio editing.

4:25am: In both project and event views, there are audio waveforms. They’re color coded to make it easy to show you levels that are approaching peak. (DM)

4:25am: Just grab a line on the clip to adjust the audio waveform to bring the sound up. Or make a fade in. (DM)

4:26am: Made adjusting segments of audio really. Easy. Just select the segment, take that segment and move it, and just that segment moves up and down. (DM)

4:26am: Really easy to make adjustments to audio. (DM)

4:27am: Now audio effects. A kid holding an icicle. “Luke, I am your father.” Drop the kid’s audio way down to make him sound like Darth Vader.  (DM)

4:27am: One step effects. Going to do an instant replay of a dirt bike jump. (DM)

4:28am: Just choose “instant replay” and choose speed; iMovie will show it a second time, slow it down, and add an “instant replay” title. Next he’s going to use a “Flash and hold frame” to highlight a jump. (DM)

4:29am: Some really complex editing with just a couple of clicks. (DM)

4:29am: 15 movie trailer themes when you make a project. (DM)

4:30am: This is hilarious. (DM)

4:30am: He’s taking some whitewater rafting footage. Put in basic information in Outline view. Put in a name, a release date, then fill in cast. Name, gender, you can adjust from 2-6 cast members. (DM)

4:30am: You can add studio name and studio logo (five different logos), and then credits that come up. (DM)

4:30am: There’s a storyboard track that shows you the animatics and how everything fits together. (DM)

4:30am: There’s new original scores for all 15 of the trailers, a number of them done by the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road. (DM)

4:31am: Randy’s going to make the trailer from start to finish. (DM)

4:31am: Adding intertitles, which update live in the previews. Then just drop in the clips by skimming to any point. It prompts for Action, group, and Medium shots. (DM)

4:32am: Holy cow, face-detection from iPhoto is now in iMovie? So you can find frames with particular people in it. (JS)

4:33am: The face detection technology is now used in iMovie to identify segments that have people and it can distinguish how many people are in the shot and whether it’s close-up, medium or wide. (DM)

4:33am: You can set a filter to find only the shots that match the kind of clip you’re looking for. (DM)

4:34am: Now it’s playing back in fullscreen. People are going to love making trailers! (XV)

4:35am: Direct sharing to Facebook and Vimeo. (DM)

4:36am: He’s going to show us a couple of other themes. (DM)

4:37am: That’s iMovie ’11. (DM)

4:38am: Steve’s back. “Isn’t that awesome? You know Randy along with his team has invented all of this stuff.” (DM)

4:38am: Hello, podcasters and musicians! New Garageband. (JS)

4:38am: New GarageBand ’11, including Flex Time, Groove Matching, more guitar amps & effects, and new piano & guitar lessons, including a feature called “How did I play?” (DM)

4:39am: Xander Soren, product marketing manager to demo. (DM)

4:39am: Going to look at two things. New recording tools and a fun way to learn piano/guitar. (DM)

4:40am: Looking at the canvas: a few tracks of guitar, bass, and a drum loop. (DM)

4:40am: He’s showing off that they’re a little sloppy. “The drums are the only thing in this entire song that are playing with good rhythm.” (DM)

4:40am: Two guitars are having trouble keeping up with the drums. GarageBand ’11 can fix this with a single click. (DM)

4:41am: You can star one track to be the “groove track.” Click on the drums and GarageBand introduces the rhythm and then applies that groove to every other instrument and track. (DM)

4:41am: All the instruments will be locked to a human rhythm. The song sounds much better now! “It’s kind of like an automatic spellchecker for bad rhythm.” (DM)

4:42am: The end sounds good, but one of the guitars misses the hit. They can fix that with Flex Time. Double click on the region and click on the waveform and you can make it longer or shorter. (DM)

4:43am: Now to another part of Garage Band: music lessons. Besides Basic Guitar, they’ve added Blues Guitar and Rock Guitar. Also Pop Piano and Classical Piano. (DM)

4:44am: The whole Learn to Play feature is now full screen. (DM)

4:45am: Gives you a step-by-step, note-by-note breakdown, including finger positions on the keyboard. (DM)

4:45am: Go to the Play chapter to play along. Hit record and you play along and GarageBand will tell him how he’s playing, and it plays you along with a real orchestra. Lights up the notes as you play create. (DM)

4:46am: If you make a mistake, it highlights it in red. Yellow shows you when you’re timing is off. And it keeps a running score to see how close you are to 100%. The timeline shows you exactly where you messed up. (DM)

4:46am: Click to review the mistakes. And you can replay it. And as you complete performances, GarageBand keeps a history. Shows you a timeline of your improvement. That’s “How did I play?”; works with piano and guitar. (DM)

4:47am: Steve’s back to recap. Over 5 million people using GarageBand now. (DM)

4:47am: So, iLife ’11. All this free with every new Mac. Upgrade existing Mac for just US$49. And iLife ’11 is available today. (DM)

4:48am: We’ll get Australian pricing as soon as it’s announced by Apple Australia. (XV)

4:49am: Next up is FaceTime. It’s the first video-calling on mobile devices. Introduced on iPhone 4 in June, then to iPod touch in September. 19 million FaceTime-enabled devices shipped. What could be better than that? Number one request: please be able to do FaceTime between mobile and the Mac. (DM)

4:50am: Adding 10s of millions of Mac owners with FaceTime for the Mac. (DM)

4:50am: Contact list from your Address Book, favorites, recent calls. No need to populate a special buddy list. (DM)

4:50am: Click on someone and initiate a FaceTime call. And it even does fullscreen. Rather than just talk about it, here’s a demo. (DM)

4:51am: New FaceTime icon. And just go to Favorites and he’s going to call Phil. Phil’s on an iPhone 4. “I always have it with me.” Turn to landscape, and the Mac automatically flips it to match orientation. (DM)

4:52am: Okay, FaceTime on Mac’s orientation matches the phone’s orientation, so it’s cropped into a vertical shape when the phone is upright (JS)

4:52am: Nothing to set up or configure. “It’s a very simple demo.” (DM)

4:52am: Beta release of FaceTime Mac comes out today! (DM)

4:53am: Next up the entreé for today. The sneak peek at where they’re going with Mac OS X. (DM)

4:54am: Seven major releases in the last decade. Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard. They’ve been improving with every major release. Really happy with Snow Leopard, but know how to take it even further. (DM)

4:54am: Eighth major version: Lion. (DM)

4:54am: What is the philosophy behind Mac OS X Lion? That’s where “Back to the Mac” comes from. Started with Mac OS X and created from it a version called iOS used in the iPhone. Invented some new things and perfected it over the last several years and moved it to the iPad. Inspired by innovations on iPhone, iPad, and want to bring them back to the Mac. (DM)

4:54am: That’s what Lion’s about. Mac OS X meets the iPad. (DM)

4:55am: Not going to show us everything, but here’s a taste and some of the key features. Multitouch gestures is one. Steve thinks they can be really important on the Mac. (DM)

4:55am: The App Store, which has revolutionised software on the iPhone, iPad. App Home screens. Full screen apps. Every app on the iPhone/iPad is a fullscreen app. Sometimes that’s great on the Mac too. Auto save. Don’t have to save your data, it’s constantly saved for you. Apps resume when launched. (i.e. state-saving) (DM)

4:56am: : These are some of the highlights of how they’ve been inspired by iOS (he says there’s a lot more). (DM)

4:56am: Multi-touch gestures up first. (DM)

4:57am: The first thing you think about is this. (Showing a picture of somebody touching a MacBook monitor). It doesn’t work, says Steve. Touchscreens don’t want to be vertical. Ergonomically terrible. Touch surfaces want to be horizontal. (DM)

4:57am: That’s why they’ve perfected the multitouch trackpads. The best way to get multitouch into a notebook. Also, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. (DM)

4:57am: This is how they’re going to use multitouch on their Mac products. (DM)

4:58am: App Store. On the iPhone, it’s completely revolutionised mobile apps. How do they know this? Over 7 billion downloads from the App Store. (DM)

4:58am: App Store for Mac could be HUGE for Mac software developers. (JS)

4:58am: Mac App Store as part of Lion. (DM)

4:59am: Think of the Mac app store — which Steve is CLEAR to say is “NOT going to be the only place” to buy Mac apps — as a huge way to market Mac apps to people who might otherwise never buy third-party software (JS)

4:59am: Characteristics of the store? Best place to discover apps—not the only place, but the best place. One-click downloads. Free & paid apps (70/30 splits). Automatic installation. Automatic app updates. One button to update all apps. Apps licensed for use on all your personal Macs. (DM)

4:59am: There’s a single place to put them, which is the Launchpad. Home screens for your apps, just like on the iPad. (DM)

5:00am: One other thing. Four cool inventions they do in Mac OS X: Exposé. Dashboard. Full screen apps. Spaces. This is great, but as they’ve added full screen apps, wouldn’t it be great to unify them all? (DM)

5:00am: That’s Mission Control. (DM)

5:00am: View everything running on your Mac and instantly navigate to anywhere. (DM)

5:00am: Picked out a few of the features and here’s a sneak peek. Craig Federighi, vice president of engineering for OS X. (DM)

5:01am: We’re going to start with the App Store. Taking everything users love about the App Store for iOS. (DM)

5:01am: Right here on the dock. Looks like the App Store. Toolbar of icons like on the iPad: Featured, Top Charts, Categories, Updates. (I’ll note the window has the hated horizontal close/minimize/zoom widgets.) Select updates, and you can click a single button to update all your apps. (DM)

5:02am: He’s going to install Pages. Full description, screenshots, can read reviews and ratings. And he can just click to buy. The icon jumps out of the window and into the Dock. Then he clicks and he’s running Pages. (DM)

5:02am: (Looks like all the iLife stuff is in the store for $15 per app.) (DM)

5:02am: Click on Launchpad, and you get a fullscreen grid of your apps. Launchpad fades away, the app fades in. You can organise in Launchpad, because there are iOS style pages. Flick your way to different home screens.

5:03am: This is all your apps, not just app store apps, by the way. (JS)

5:04am: You can organise apps within the pages: click and drag and it’s reorganised. And you can create folders on iOS. Pick up Keynote, drag it onto numbers, and you have the same kind of folder as on iOS. (DM)

5:04am: Fullscreen apps. The immersive experiences of apps on the iPad comes to the Mac. Craig opens a PDF in Preview, and because in Lion fullscreen is integrated (it’s killing off the Zoom button) there’s a standard control. (DM)

5:05am: You don’t have to leave fullscreen to work on something else; multitouch gesture moves you to your desktop. Gesture back and you go back to the fullscreen app. (DM)

5:05am: Here’s an example using iPhoto. Just flick, and you can get back to fullscreen PDF from fullscreen iOS. Flick to the left of your desktop and you get your widgets. “Of course as a Mac users, I love working with windows—windows, not Windows.” (DM)

5:06am: Opens up a bunch of apps in different windows, and he can flick between fullscreen, windows, Dashboard, etc. (DM)

5:06am: Made it even better by unifying windows, fullscreen apps, Dashboard, and Spaces. (DM)

5:06am: This is definitely an interesting direction for the Mac UI (JS)

5:06am: That’s Mission Control. Gesture on the trackpad and it organizes all your windows in Exposé styles, organized by applications. The Dock’s still there. Can jump to iPhoto or Preview fullscreen modes, Dashboard, and more. (DM)

5:07am: Looking for a window? Flick into Mission Control, and there’s the App Store. You want to peek at a specific window, you can flick open that window and bring it to the front. That’s Mission Control. (DM)

5:08am: The Lion demo was short and sweet, but very very interesting. (DM)

5:08am: Steve: Bringing these things back to the Mac and coming up with fresh new things like Mission Control is going to delight Mac users. (DM)

5:08am: “I wish we’d had another hour and a half to show you more, but we’ll unveil it over time as we get closer to releasing it.” Plan to release it in Summer 2011, and they’re on schedule. (DM)

5:09am: Going back to the talk about the Mac App Store. “We think this is going to be really great for users and we don’t want to wait for Lion.” They’re putting the Mac App Store out on Snow Leopard and opening within 90 days. (DM)

5:09am: Developers can go to the website and learn all about it today. Accepting app submissions in November. (DM)

5:10am: And it’s recap time: the Mac is a third of their revenue; they invest heavily in it and they pay a lot of attention to it. $22 billion business—rather large. (DM)

5:10am: I am sensing a run-up to a One More Thing. (JS)

5:10am: Retail market share has topped 20% for the first time in a long while. And they continue to invest in retail stores and couldn’t be happier. iLife ’11: Phenomenal new applications. iPhoto ’11 fullscreen mode, better books, letterpress cards. iMovie ’11. GarageBand ’11. FaceTime on the Mac. 10s of million of Mac users can chat with the iPhone 4/iPod touch. Lion coming this summer with features like Mission Control, Launchpad, the App Store. And the App Store opening in 90 days. (DM)

5:11am: But there is ONE MORE THING. (DM)

5:12am: Comes back to the theme, which is Back to the Mac. Virtuous circle of Mac OS X -> iOS -> iPad back to Mac OS X. Just like philosophy has benefit in software, it has benefit in hardware. (DM)

5:12am: What happens if a MacBook met an iPad? (DM)

5:12am: iPad has instant on. Pretty rare for a notebook. Great battery life. Amazing standby time. Solid stage storage. No optical or hard drives. Thinner and lighter. (DM)

5:13am: “What would happen if an iPad and a notebook hooked up?” It’s the new MacBook Air. “We think it’s the future of notebooks.” (DM)

5:14am: It’s an aluminium wedge. Unibody, tapered design. Tapers down to just 0.11 inches at thinnest point. Tenth of an inch. (DM)

5:14am: Hard enough to build something thin, but they also want it to be rigid and durable. Complete aluminium unibody construction. (DM)

5:15am: Full size keyboard and a full size glass trackpad. “These are areas where you do not want to sacrifice.”  13.3″ LED-backlit display. 1440×900 pixels high-res display. More than on the 15-inch notebook today. Core 2 Duo processor. Fast for this class and an Nvidia GeForce 320m. FaceTime camera (no longer calling it an iSight?) (DM)

5:16am: Here’s what it doesn’t have: no optical drive and no hard drive. (DM)

5:16am: “We have gone to Flash storage. Complete solid-state storage. Why do we do this? We know the benefits.” Instant on. 2x faster than hard drives. Much more reliable, especially in mobile environment. 90% smaller and lighter. Completely silent operation. (DM)

5:17am: 7 hours of wireless web. Standby of 30 days. The PC industries battery tests sometimes don’t reflect real-world results. Apple is moving towards a more stringent test that they think will get them closer to real world results. (DM)

5:17am: Even using more stringent tests are getting 7 hours of wireless web. MacBook Air using older, more liberal test, got only 5. Double improvement: not only from 5 to 7, but better testing as well. (DM)

5:18am: “What’s inside this puppy?” Flash storage. Not in an SSD, just Flash right on the board. 802.11n Wi-Fi. 2 Duo processor. GeForce 320m. Memory. Stereo speakers. And the battery. Stereo speakers is an upgrade from current Air. “You can see what the biggest thing is in this. It’s the battery.” (DM)

5:19am: 13.3″ MacBook Air isn’t the whole story. It has a younger brother too. There’s a 11.6-inch model as well. All the same things as the 13-inch model. Full-size keyboard, full-size trackpad, a high-res 1366×768 pixels LED-backlit display. Battery life of 5 hours on the wireless web. 30 days of standby. (DM)

5:20am: Tried to be really aggressive: these are the next generation of MacBooks. They think they’ll all be like this some day. Starting at US$999. (DM)

5:21am: 11.6-inch for US$999, 64GB of Flash memory. Double it to 128GB for US$1199. 13.3 inch model slightly faster processor for US$1299, and double the storage on that to 256GB, US$1599. (DM)

5:21am: And meet EPEAT Gold standards. (DM)

5:22am: Both of them are available starting today. (DM)

5:22am: There’s an ad. “Everything we’ve learned has come down to this.” “The next generation of MacBooks.” Simple, elegant. (DM)

5:23am: Here’s a summary video. (DM)

5:24am: Two USB ports and an SD card slot. (XV)

5:27am: I sometimes wonder what the execs down there in the front row are thinking as they watch themselves on video talking about the product. (DM)

5:28am: And that’s it for Steve. Presentation over. There’s a hands-on room, so we’ll have more information later in the day. (DM)

5:30am: Thanks for joining us, everyone! We’ll have Australian pricing and any more updates as they come through. We were expecting new MacBook Pros (according to our rumour source), so there might be more to come in press releases. (XV)

One Comment

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  1. Thomas says:

    Can’t wait, if there is a new OS X i’m getting it

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