Liveblog From Apple iPhone OS Event in Cupertino
What do you do when you’ve just stepped out on a limb and released a new class of computer that you’re calling both magical and amazing but that runs on software designed over three years ago for entirely different hardware?
If you are Apple (AAPL), you sound the trumpets and assemble the techie press at your Cupertino HQ as soon as possible to preview the new operating system you hope will bring even more powerful magic to your latest creation.
As soon as possible was this morning, and AllThingsD‘s Drake Martinet was there to liveblog the event, which announced, among other things, iPad sales of more than 450,000, a new app-based mobile advertising platform, and long-awaited multitasking functionality for the iPhone operating system. The liveblog is below.
9:11 am: We’ve arrived at Apple’s Town Hall at Cupertino HQ. The electricity John Paczkowski described in his liveblog from the iPad event is missing today.
9:57 am: Just walked in. Room is pretty full. Empty stage, with the standard Apple setup: Apple logo backdrop for the slideshow. Music a la an iPod commercial playing in the auditorium.
10:00 am: Voice on the loudspeakers: “Please turn your electronic devices to silent, we are about to begin.”
10:03 am: Steve Jobs takes the stage and gets down to it. “The next generation of the most advanced mobile operating system in the world.”
10:04 am: Jobs opens with a quote from Walt Mossberg’s review. Says he will get to OS 4, but first, shares some iPad numbers. As of today, he says, Apple has sold 450,000 iPads, 300,000 on the first day. Over 600,000 iBooks downloaded as of today. And I Pad apps? Jobs says that 3.5 million have been downloaded so far.
10:06 am: Jobs says, “When you create something, you really have butterflies when you create things and put them out into the world. We are feeling really good about this.”
He then moves on to the App Store. Users have downloaded 4.5 billion apps as of today. Jobs is now showcasing some screenshots of apps.
10:09 am: Jobs is running through media apps.
Now, he’s getting to the iPhone.
10:10 am: Says Apple has just won its third J.D. Power award for the iphone.
“What is the real measure of usage? iPhone has a 64 percent browser share; everyone else together is half of the iPhone,” says Jobs.
85 million iPhones and iPod touches sold to date.
10:12 am: Now the subject is iPhone OS 4.
Developers can now access the calender, photo library, SMS, full map overlays. In total, they will have access to 1500 APIs. There are over 100 new user features.
10:13 am: Users will be able to change home screen wallpaper, use a spell checker, tap to focus video, create playlists.
10:14 am: Jobs says there will be multitasking.
“We weren’t the first to this party, but we will be the best,” he says, with a nod to Google’s (GOOG) Android.
10:15 am: Jobs demos multitasking. No exposed interface. The active window lifts vertically and a slider of all the apps running appears.
10:17 am: Jobs shows that multitasking takes you back to the exact place in the app where you were when you left, including games.
“That, is our multitasking UI. We’ve been using it a lot and it really changes the way you use the iPhone.”
10:19 am: Jobs leaves and Scott Forstall, Senior VP of Software, takes the stage.
He’s here to talk about the nitty-gritty.
Seven mutlitasking services will be available to developers.
First: Background audio.
10:21 am: Forstall introduces Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, who is talking about how his streaming radio service will make use of background audio.
Basically, users will now be able to use Pandora or other background audio apps just as they can use the iPod function.
He showcases how users will be able to buy songs from iTunes while Pandora is still playing the song.
10:24 am: Forstall retakes the stage.
“Next service is VoIP,” he says.
“Now, when you’re on the iPhone, you can run Skype in the background.”
10:26 am: David Ponsford of Skype comes onstage.
Skype now can run in the background and receive calls when you are using other apps.
He switches to Yelp while still in Skype call.
10:28 am: Forstall back now; he says the next major change is background location data.
He uses TomTom as an example. TomTom can be getting location data while you are listening music.
“There’s another class of application that wants to use your location all the time, but isn’t used while you are plugged in.”
The new OS will use less accurate cell towers (which uses less power) when doing background location features in social networking apps.
There will be a new icon on the taskbar showing that there are background apps currently using their locations.
10:32 am: Next feature up: Push notifications.
Now there will be “local notifications.” These will come from the apps themselves, rather than from outside servers.
10:33 am: Now talking about task completion.
Forstall says task completion will allow apps to complete tasks, like photo uploads, in the background.
He finishes with “fast app switching.”
“The app moves into a quiescent state in the background and uses no CPU power.”
10:34 am: Jobs retakes the stage to talk about the next major push.
Says there will be App folders.
10:35 am: “We came up with a really beautiful implementation of folders.”
The process of creating folders seems pretty easy. Just drag apps on top of each other and a folder is created.
Folders can then be dragged around like apps.
10:37 am: Jobs now shows us what the wallpaper selection function looks like. Feels like a mix of iPad and OS X.
His wallpaper now matches his pants.
Now, with folders, uses could store over 5,000 apps on their phones.
10:39 am: Jobs moves on to the next new feature, the unified inbox.
Multiple accounts feeding to one mail inbox.
“We’ve also added the ability to organize by thread, so you can follow conversations much easier.”
“And, open attachments. Now you can download an attachment and open it with an app from the App Store.”
10:41 am: Number four is iBooks. Jobs says Apple is adding iBooks to the iPhone, just like the iPad.
“Its a delightful e-book reader, and you can buy the books once and read them anywhere.”
They will wirelessly synch your current page between devices.
Also, free Winnie the Pooh, just as on the iPad.
10:43 am: Forstall retakes the stage to talk about enterprise.
10:43 am: The new OS allows encryption of email and data inside apps.
OS 4 will allow for mobile device management.
Also big for enterprise: Wireless app distribution. “A company can wirelessly distribute apps from its own servers to iPhones anywhere in the world.
Also adding SSL VPN from both Cisco (CSCO) and Juniper Networks (JNPR).
10:45 am: Now talking about something called, “Game Center.” This is the gaming push analysts were predicting.
OS 4 will have a social gaming portal that allows friends to invite you to play games, or will match make you with opponents.
10:47 am: Jobs retakes the stage. “It’s called iAd.”
10:47 am: “There are lots of apps in the App Store for free.”
“Developers are starting to put ads into apps, but we think most of these really suck.”
Jobs says, “On desktops, search is where its at. That hasn’t happened on mobile. On mobile, apps are where it’s at.”
10:49 am: “This is a pretty serious opportunity, says Jobs.
He says this could open over one billion impressions per day.
“What we want to do with iAds, we want to deliver interactivity and emotion.”
The ads keep you in your app, versus getting “yanked out of your app” like before.
“Because iAd is in the OS itself, we have figured out how to deliver that ad.”
Apple will sell and distribute the ads.
Apple will give developers 60 percent of iAd revenue.
10:53 am: Jobs demos ads, starts with a “Toy Story 3” ad. Says he’s seen the movie, which comes out in June. Crowd laughs.
He adds that, “it’s all done in HTML5, by the way.” More laughter at his point because the audience is well aware that Jobs is not a fan of Adobe’s (ADBE) Flash.
10:55 am: The ad Jobs is showing is really more like a mini app, with streaming video, interactivity, a game, posters, background wallpapers and ability to buy app right from the iAd.
“Users like free stuff.”
“Have you ever seen an ad like this? Anything even close?”
10:57 am: Next up, Jobs shows an ad for Nike, reiterating that these ads were created by Apple “just because we really like these brands.”
He showcases how iAds have access to location and the accelerometer. No word on whether that location data the iAd gets is user-selectable.
11:00 am: “iAd is built into the OS, and the developer will get the majority of the revenue.”
Jobs goes into review mode.
11:01 am: A developer preview will be released today.
Jobs says Apple will release the new OS in summer.
OS 4 will be for 3GS and third-gen iPod touch.
Older devices will get some upgrades, but hardware won’t allow all features like multitasking.
OS 4 wont make it to the iPad till the fall.
11:04 am: Jobs thanks everyone, and leaves the stage.
Lights up, music back on, press starts milling.
11:06 am: Takeaways:
There are obvious concerns about what multitasking will do to battery life, though Jobs emphasized that Apple has figured out a way to offer multitasking without using too much more battery.
Job’s didn’t get into specifics on how.
Forstall emphasized that implementing the new features was easy for developers, saying things like, “they added this [feature] in a single afternoon.”
11:09 am: Now Jobs, Forstall and Phil Schiller take the stage for a Q&A.
There’s a question about multitasking using more AT&T (T) data. Jobs says that it won’t be a big deal, adding that multitasking doesn’t up the amount of use.
He emphasizes that video is the big data draw, and you don’t use more than one video at a time.
11:11 am: Question about whether there will be an approval process for iAds as there is for the App Store?
Jobs pauses, “I’m not sure its going to be any more than a light touch.”
11:13 am: Question about development of iAds.
Job: “No development environment for iAds, just HTML5.”
11:14 am: Jobs says, “So far the ads haven’t been rich enough to warrant a world class ad agency. For the first time, they can bring their storytelling skills. I think this can be a whole new avenue for the advertising industry, because for the first time you can take advantage of the skills of an add agency in the digital world.”
11:16 am: Schiller has yet to take a question.
11:17 am: Question about widgets and glance-able information. Jobs says, “Anything’s possible.”
11:18 am: Of OS 4’s way to switch apps, called “fast-app switching,” Jobs says, “Our competitors are tripping all over themselves to copy it.”
11:20 am: Jobs on iAd: “iPhone customers are among the most desirable demographics in all of advertising.
Schiller gets a word in edgewise: “On the phone, you have apps that help you do things. That becomes the customer’s way into information. Ads attached to those are potentially more interesting than ads just attached to search. “
Jobs: “This is the first time in history that this has ever existed. We have all these apps and a friction-free way to deliver them right to the phone. This has never existed before on PCs, still doesn’t.”
Jobs: “We tried to buy a company named AdMob, but Google came in and snatched them from us. So we bought Quattro, and they are teaching us we are making ads that are different than anything I’ve ever seen.”
11:24 am: Jobs: “This is not a get-rich-quick scheme for Apple. This is to help our developers survive.”
11:29 am: Question about running unsigned apps. Jobs shuts it down saying that there is a porn app store for Android, and Apple doesn’t want to go there.
11:30 am: Jobs brings up Walt Mossberg again, saying how impressed he is with how fast people are “getting it” with the iPad.
Schiller reiterates that the speed of adoption of the iPad, especially with the developers, has been incredible.
11:32 am: Jobs, continuing on the iPad: “If our competitors ever release a device like the iPad, they will be hoping for 3,500 apps in a year. We have that in the first week.”
11:34 am: Jobs, on the App Store: “I’m now seeing an infrastructure being developed through other mediums (blogs, etc.) that help with app discoverability.” This is in response to a question about the app store getting crowded and dense.
11:36 am: This question comes up: “How do you close an app?”
11:39 am: Jobs: “on the iPad, if you saw a stylus, they blew it. On this, if you see a task manager, they blew it.”
He doesn’t really answer, saying you never really have to close an app. Doesn’t elaborate.
11:41 am: Packing up, Q&A over.