Apple: Blogging The WWDC; Here Comes 3G iPhone; To Demo "Snow Leopard," OSX Update; Super Monkey Ball

The time is near.

I’m sitting in an exhibition hall at Moscone West in San Francisco, waiting for Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs to give the keynote at the company’s 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference. As usual, the place is overrun with media, analysts and the Apple faithful. The 3G iPhone’s debut should be minutes away.

I’ll keep updating this post through the morning. Stay tuned.

It’s 10:02. We’re close. Someone just told everyone to turn off–get this–all iPhones. (And Blackberries. And especially Windows Mobile Devices.)

I’ll keep updating this post through the morning. Stay tuned.

It’s 10:02. We’re close. Someone just told everyone to turn off – get this – all iPhones. (And Blackberries. And especially Windows Mobile Devices.)

Oooh. 10:06. Steve is on stage. He says there are a record 5,200 attendees, and they sold out. There are 147 sessions on WWDC, including 62 on the iPhone. 169 hands on labs. Over 1,000 engineers on hand.

Jobs says there are 3 parts to Apple. The Mac. Music businesses, with iPod and iTunes. The third part is iPhone. This morning, will talk about the iPhone. Jobs says he will bring Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller on stage later to help. Bertrand Serlet after lunch will give peak at Snow Leopard, the next version of OSX.

Start with iPhone software. The iPhone 2.0 platform software. Includes the SDK. Developer program on March 6; in 95 days, over 250,000 SDK downloads. Over 25,000 applied to pay developer program. Admitted 4,000 to the program.

Enterprise support: Exchange support out of the box. Push email, calendars, contacts. Can be remotely wiped. Worked with Cisco to include secure VPN services, and other network security demanded by the enterprise. 35% of the Fortune 500 has participated in the beta program. Top 5 commercial banks. Top 5 securities firms. 6 of 7 top airlines. 8 of 10 top phama cos. 8 of 10 top entertainment companies. Also who’s who of higher ed in the beta program.

They are showing a video with enterprise IT people talking about how much they like the new iPhone software.

Stock update at 10:15: Apple down $2.81, or 1.5%, at $182.83.

Jobs brings Forstall on stage to talk about the SDK. He is talking about APIs. Same OSX kernel on the iPhone. Almost line for line source code as OSX. Comprehensive core services layer for database API with SQL Light and core location, to easily build location based services into your application. (SOUNDS LIKE THEY ARE DOING GPS IN NEXT VERSION, is what that sounds like to me.) Core audio, including hardware acelerated OpenGLES for graphics. (For games, for instance.) Also Cocoa Touch – user interface object oriented framework. Instruments is a full suite of performance tools

Schiller is going to do a demo of Interface Builder. It’s a little on the, uh, crunchy side. This is a developers’ conference, after all. Creating tool bars. Layout tools. I’m trying to get excited about this. It does seem easy to build a user interface for the phone.

Schiller says in 3 months, there are 1000s of developers using the tools in the SDK. He is reading quotes from people who love the SDK for the iPhone. Disney likes it. Someone from InfoWorld likes it. Fox Interactive Media. David Pogue of the New York Times.

Can we see the 3G iPhone now?

No, not yet.

Schiller is bringing some developers on stage to do some software demos. First up is Sega. In March they showed a version of Super Monkey Ball. Someone from Sega named Ethan Einhorn is going to demo the game. One of the interesting features is using the accelerometer in the phone to steer around the playing field for the game. Will launch with the AppSore at $9.99.

Next demo is from eBay: Ken Sun is the eBay guy doing the demo. They are showing Auctions on the iPhone. Took them 5 weeks to develop. Easy access to search on eBay. Summary of activity. They are searching for Wii Fit; brings up all the items for sale. Easy to add items to Watch List. Can see current bids; or make new bids. Will be a free download.

Loopt: Sam Altman is doing their demo. You can see on a map where your friends are. He says it is best version they have ever made. They have developed for most mobile platforms. You can tap on pins on the map, and see what they have posted in the way of photos, or text. Integrated with iPhone, so can send email or call. The power of location, plus contact list. “You never have to eat lunch alone again,” he says. Will be free on iPhone App Store.

Next: TypePad, with mobile blogging application. Demo is by Michael Sippey. He is demonstrating how to blog from the phone, including using the camera. It’s apparently a lot easier to blog from the phone than it is to blog from my laptop.

Stock update at 10:38: down $4.55, or 2.4%, to $181.15.

Next demo: the Associated Press. They build something called the Mobile News Network. Use location APIs to auto retrieve content from multiple sources. Also can read top news, business, entertainment and sports news. Can also watch video from their news network. You can even email them accounts of news events; the AP as a forum for user-generated news. Another free download.

Demo: Pangea Software. Brian Greenstone is showing two games ported from Mac to iPhone. One is Enigmo, physics based game. The other is Cro Mag Rally, a 3D caveman racing game. In that game, the iPhone itself is the steering wheel. The device is the controller. Both games are priced at $9.99 each.

Demo: A guy who works in the insurance industry in England. His name is Mark Terry, and he has a demo called Band, which is a collection of virtual instruments. A two octave piano. A drum kit, called Funky Drummer. 12 bar blues instruments, for playing the Blues. And a bass guitar for backing tracks. All can be recorded, overdubbed, and jam. Will be on the store in a few weeks time.

Demo: MLB.com: Jeremy Schoenherr. Brand new app for the iPhone. It’s called MLB@Bat. You can see who is batting, pitching, line score. What you can’t get anywhere else: real-time video highlights. Clips come minutes after the play. Right after it happens on the field. In the app store when it launches.

Demo: Modality. Demo by S. Mark Williams. It’s a learning application for medical students. Created app to replace flash cards to memorize anatomical information.

Demo: MIMvista, a developer of medical imaging software. Mark Cain is their demo guy. He is showing how radiologists can see images on the iPhone. It’s pretty cool stuff, if you are a radiologist.

Last demo: Digital Legends Entertainment. Based in Barcelona. Started on their project 2 weeks ago. It’s a game. Xavier Carrollo Costa is their demo god. They are a mobile game developer. They ported an action adventure game. Full 3D characters. I think the game is called Krull. (But I’m not sure.)

Stock update: Down 7.08, or 3.8%, to $178.56.

Apple will include Push Notification Service to developers; when you quit application, no more connection to server. Maintain persistent IP connection to the phone; so third party apps can push notifications. Can push badges, custom alert sounds, customer text alerts. And can include buttons to auto-launch applications. For all developers. Presever battery life to avoid background processes eroding performance. Will be available in September.

Jobs is back. He is talking about some new features in the software. Contact search. Added iWork document support. And Office documents. Had Word and Excel, and now Powerpoint as well. Added bulk delete and move. Save photos to iPhoto. Turn calculator to landscape mode to turn it into scientific calculator. Added parental controls. And added a tremendous amount of language support. Includes two forms of Japanese, two forms for Chinese, both simplified and traditional. Includes one where you draw the character with your finger. Also can change languages on the fly. One of the great advantages of not having a bunch of plastic keys, Jobs says.

Jobs is talking about App Store. Developers get 70% of revenue. No credit card or hosting fees. No charge for free apps. FairPlay DRM. Enlarged from 22 countries, now in 62 countries, almost anywhere in the world. 10 MB or less, can be downloaded over cellular or WiFi or iTunes. For over 10 MB, can use WiFi or iTunes.

Adding new way for enterprises to distribute apps internally. Companies can authorize apps and distribute on their own Intranet. Download to computer, synch to phone from iTunes.

Another way: Ad Hoc distribution. Expand developer certification program. Up to 100 iPhones; mailed around, posted anywhere. So two additional ways to distribute apps beyond the App Store.

New service: MobileMe. Phil Schiller is doing the demo. He jokingly calls ActiveSync “Active Stink.”
With MobileMe, can all get push email, contacts and calendars, so everything is up to date. Stores information up in the cloud, to get to it with any devices. Mac, PC, or iPhone. Push information up and down to keep everything up to date all the time. It’s like Exchange for people without Exchange.

Schiller says they also built Web 2.0 applications giving desktop like experience on the Web. Go to any computer, use me.com. Schiller is going to demo the application. Email Calendar. (The site does not appear to work yet, by the way; try it yourself.) Will work on any native apps on Mac or PC. $99 a year service, with 20 GB of online storage. Free trial for 60 days. Available in early July. Will replace .Mac. Can continue to use .Mac service and addresses, but can switch over whenever they want.

Now, iPhones. Jobs notes Apple introduced first iPhones June 29 of last year. Users love their iPhones, Jobs says. 90% customer satisfaction. 98% are browsing. 94% using email. 90% are text messaging. 80% using 10 or more features. Sold 6M iPhones until we ran out a few weeks ago.

Next challenges: 3G network. Enterprise support. 3rd party apps. More countries. More affordable. 56% say it is too expensive.

Take it to the next level: iPhone 3G.Thinner. Full plastic back. Same 3.5 inch display. Camera. Flush headphone jack on top. Improved audio. Why 3G? For faster data downloads for browser and email attachments. 3G speeds are actually approaching WiFi. “Amazingly zippy,” Jobs says. 36% faster than Nokia N95 or Treo 750, both 3G phones.

Battery life: 300 hours standby. 3G talk time of 5 hours, better than 3 hours on other phones. 5-6 hours of high speed browsing. Video 7 hours. Audio 24 hours.

GPS is built into the new phone.

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