Ina Fried

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Apple Previews iOS 6, Mountain Lion, Debuts New Laptops, but No “One More Thing” (Video)

The banners are up, the stage is set and it’s almost time for the curtain to come up on the next crop of Apples.

While most of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is for developers’ eyes only, Monday’s keynote speech is open to the press, and is typically the place where Apple makes some of its most important platform announcements of the year. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is expected to, at a minimum, outline the next versions of both the Mac OS, known as Mountain Lion, and iOS.

The new iOS should include, among other things, an Apple-developed mapping service. Also on the expected list for WWDC are integration with Facebook and new Mac hardware.

WWDC is the first of several developer events this month, with Microsoft holding a Windows Phone Summit on June 20, and Google’s I/O conference a week after that. It also marks the first WWDC since the passing of Steve Jobs, who died last year.

Live coverage (earlier):

8:25 am: We have arrived at Moscone West for WWDC 2012. Doors haven’t yet opened, but we will update as soon as they do.

8:33 am: Upstairs, outside the auditorium, are two banners concealed by black draping. Consensus in the crowd is that they’re promos for a new tentpole maps application and the refreshed Mac line.

9:33 am: Okay. We survived the stampede of press rushing for a good seat. It’s nice to see some things never change. Still half an hour until showtime.

As is typical, the Apple online store is closed, only to magically reopen in a couple hours touting whatever it is Apple is about to show off.

9:54 am: Wireless networks getting overloaded. Switching to one of several contingency plans.

10:00 am: Music plays down. Smattering of applause. Lights dim.

“Hello and Welcome to WWDC,” Siri says via video.

And today I was asked to warm up the crowd which should be easy since the high is going to be 75 degrees.

She then tells jokes about Facebook, Instagram, Samsung and Android.

How many developers does it take to change a lightbulb?

None. It’s a hardware problem.

Ice Cream Sandwich. Jelly Bean. Who makes up these code names. Ben and Jerry?

10:02 am: Siri ends her stand-up routine. CEO Tim Cook takes the stage, opening Apple’s 23rd WWDC, which Cook notes is older than many people in the crowd.

10:03 am: Cook rattling off some WWDC stats. There are over 1,000 Apple engineers at the conference.

“We closed Apple for the week.”

10:04 am: Cook starts with updates, following Apple’s well-worn keynote script.

App Store: 400 million accounts.

650,000 apps, including 225,000 apps optimized for iPad.

Cook announces that 30 billion apps have now been downloaded.

“This is a number that is so mind-boggling,” Cook said, adding that Apple has paid out $5 billion to developers.

“It’s becoming an economy in and of itself,” Cook said. Apple is adding 32 more countries where the App Store is doing business, bringing its total to more than 150.

10:07 am: Cue a video on some of those apps …

Among the apps highlighted is a GPS navigation program for blind people.

Airbnb’s iPhone app is highlighted, showing how a treehouse rental place in Vermont uses it.

10:14 am: For you Apple stock watchers, shares have been trading up about 1 percent today at around $586 a share. We’ll see how things move once Apple gets into the heart of things.

10:15 am: Video wraps, Cook is back, thanking developers for all the incredible apps.

“We love giving you a platform and a store to realize all of your dreams,” Cook said.

10:16 am: Cook previews today’s announcements: new laptops, preview of new iOS and Mac OS updates.

Invites Phil Schiller to announce new laptops.

10:17 am: First up, updates to MacBook Air.

“Everyone is trying to copy it,” Schiller said of the MacBook Air. “But they find it is not so easy.”

New MacBook Airs will add third-generation “Ivy Bridge” core chips from Intel running at up to 2GHz. Flash storage can now be as much as 512 gigabytes, twice as much as the prior maximum.

Also adds USB 3, which can be up to 10 times faster. Adding a higher-resolution 720P Web cam.

The 11-inch model will come in two variants, $999 and $1,099 — $100 less than before.

The 13-inch model will come in $1,199 and $1,499 models, also $100 less.

All those models will start shipping today.

10:21 am: Next up, update to MacBook Pro.

It will also get Intel Ivy Bridge chips, up to a 2.7GHz quad-core chip, with faster graphics, including the option of an Nvidia discrete graphics card. It’s all USB 3 compatible as well.

The 13-inch comes in $1,199 and $1,499 versions. The 15-inch model is offered in $1,799 and $2,199 versions, all with quad-core chips.

The MacBooks are still considerably heavier than the Air at .95 inches thick and more than 5 pounds.

10:23 am: But … Schiller is making room on the slide for a new laptop family.

Schiller notes that Apple has been asking its engineers to rethink the MacBook Pro and what it could get rid of and what it could add.

Next generation should have a dramatically better display, discard some legacy and be much thinner and lighter.

Here it is, Schiller turns it on.

“It is the most beautiful computer we have ever made,” Schiller said.

It’s not quite as thin as the MacBook Air, but way thinner than traditional MacBooks.

It’s 0.71-inches thin, weighs 4.46 pounds.

10:27 am: That screen. Yep, it’s a “Retina display,” Apple’s term for a screen where, from a normal distance, users can’t see individual pixels.

The screen is 2880×1800 pixels, that’s more than the prior MacBook Pro and more than 5 million pixels total.

10:29 am: OS X apps, including Mail and Safari, have been updated to take advantage of the screen.

Apple’s pro apps, including Aperture, also being updated to take advantage of display.

Final Cut Pro also being upgraded with 1080P video taking up only part of the screen, even at full resolution.

So what’s on the inside of the next-generation MacBook Pro?

It’s dominated by the battery pack, to power all those pixels. Intel quad-core i7 processor, up to 2.7Ghz, up to 16GB of memory. Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics. Up to 768GB of internal flash storage.

Up to 7 hours of battery life, Schiller said.

Ports: SD Card slot, HDMI, USB 3, MagSafe2 (had to be smaller to fit the thinner design), two Thunderbolt ports.

10:35 am: Legacy connectors can run over Thunderbolt through an adaptor, including Ethernet and FireWire. (So, no built-in ports for those.)

Dual microphones as well.

10:36 am: Cue the video, starring Jony Ive.

10:36 am: Guessing this is going to be one pricey laptop.

Ive notes there is no separate cover glass on the display, which is built into the unibody aluminum casing.

Ive noting some other interesting design points, such as the fact that, while it does have a fan, the blades are placed at different intervals, rather than uniformly spaced. The result is the sound is spread out over different frequencies.

Key point Ive is making is that Apple continues to custom build its products rather than using off-the-shelf parts.

10:42 am: Here we go with the specs. Starts at $2,199 for an 8GB memory model with 256GB of flash storage, with pricier options available.

It will start shipping today.

10:44 am: Next up, Mac OS X.

Onstage is Apple’s Craig Federighi talking about Mountain Lion, next version of Apple’s laptop and desktop operating system.

Mountain Lion has more than 200 new features, Federighi said, though Apple plans to show off only eight of them today.

First up, iCloud.

Mountain Lion will add iCloud-connected Reminders, Notes and Messages apps as well as support for iCloud-synced documents.

10:49 am: Next up is Messages, the chat app that supports iMessage and other IM protocols.

10:51 am: Apple is also, as previously announced, bringing the notification idea over from iOS. Mountain Lion’s notification center will offer both banners and alerts, as does iOS.

10:53 am: Banners go away, Alerts don’t until you dismiss them. There’s also an option to turn off notifications when you don’t want to be interrupted. Plus, if you connect to a projector, notifications will turn off automatically.

“We’re bringing dictation to the Mac,” Federighi said. Anywhere you can type, you can talk.

10:53 am: A new sharing options menu comes up within Mountain Lion that allows you to Tweet or post to Flickr, for example, from throughout the system.

10:54 am: A new version of the Safari browser has a faster javascript engine along with a unified search bar, including a top hit and matches from bookmarks or browsing history.

Safari has iCloud tabs that let you see open pages across various devices. (Google is taking a similar approach with Chrome for Android.)

There are also new gestures for moving from tab to tab.

10:59 am: Another new feature is Power Nap.

Power Nap keeps Mac up to date while it sleeps. Fetches email and photo stream. Can also backup to Time Capsule and fetch app and system updates. It works on recent Mac Book Airs and the new Retina-display-equipped next-generation MacBook Pro.

11:02 am: AirPlay mirroring makes it easier to share a screen with a TV or projector.

Another feature Apple is bringing over from iOS is Game Center.

Game Center will support interactive games between Macs or even between Mac and iOS.

11:04 am: Craig Federighi brings out “Mr. X,” a driver in full racecar gear to compete in CSR racing. Game coming out this summer for iOS and Mac.

Federighi lost by a nose.

11:06 am: Screen with other 200 features, including Launchpad search, VIP contacts in mail, offline reading lists, specific features for China.

“The Mac has been growing fantastically well in China,” Federighi said. Mountain Lion will bring support for Baidu as search option, sharing to Sino Weibo, new fonts and input means and connections to China’s top email services.

There will also be some 1,700 programming interfaces that developers can connect into, Federighi said.

Coming out next month via Mac App Store for $19.99 (Lion was $29.99).

That price covers all Macs and includes upgrade from Snow Leopard or Lion. Upgrades will be free for those buying a new Mac now and there is a near-final developer preview being given to developers at WWDC.

11:09 am: Scott Forstall takes the stage to talk iOS.

11:09 am: Forstall presents a pie chart showing more than three-fourths of customers running iOS 5, as opposed to a single-digit percentage of Android users on the latest Ice Cream Sandwich version of that operating system.

11:12 am: As expected, Apple announces iOS 6, next version with more than 200 new features, including updated Siri.

11:13 am: Siri “has been studying up and learning a lot more,” Forstall said.

Among her new tricks, she’s now a sports nut. “What was the score of the last Giants game?”

“The Giants were downed by the Rangers yesterday; the final score was 5 to 0,” she says, displaying a box score.

You can also ask a player’s batting average or get standings.

11:15 am: Siri also knows about basketball and football.

Words can hardly describe how excited Kara Swisher is about this.

11:15 am: Siri has also learned more about restaurants, including average prices and other information. Apple has partnered with Yelp to include reviews and with OpenTable to make reservations.

11:17 am: Siri can also tell you what movies are playing, show a trailer and reviews from Rotten Tomatoes.

Siri can also launch apps, a feature that draws applause from the crowd.

“Play Temple Run,” Forstall said, with Siri launching the popular game.

“Those are just a few of the things that Siri has learned,” Forstall said.

You can also tweet and listen to notifications. Siri is also working with a number of car manufacturers to add a button to steering wheels to power a new “eyes-free mode” in which the iPhone doesn’t even turn its screen on. Several car makers have committed to shipping vehicles with this feature in the next 12 months.

11:20 am: With iOS 6, Siri will get Canadian English and French.

“Eh,” Forstall said.

Adding Spanish tuned for Spain, Mexico and U.S.

Adding Italian and Swiss Italian, French and German.

Also getting Korean, Mandarin tuned for Taiwan, Cantonese tuned for Hong Kong and Mandarin and Cantonese tuned for mainland China.

Local search, which had been U.S.-only, will also work internationally.

Siri will also work on the new iPad.

11:22 am: Facebook integration.

“We have been working very closely with Facebook,” Forstall said.

Can login once and post to Facebook from Safari, Maps and Photos as well as be logged in to Facebook for third-party apps.

Facebook also integrated with Siri so you can talk. Facebook integration is a public API so developers can more easily do their integration.

You can “Like” apps and see which apps your friends like and also do that with music and movies in the iTunes store.

11:24 am: iOS 6 also bringing enhancements to that little-used “phone” feature.

With iOS 6, a new control with incoming calls lets you reply with a message or set a reminder to call that person later.

You can send an automated or custom reply and, with reminders, can be reminded at a set time or when they leave the area.

With iOS 6, Apple is adding a “do not disturb” feature.

Push notifications and texts will still come to the device, but won’t light up the screen.

You also get fine-grain control over which phone calls get through. You can allow calls from favorites, another group or even anyone who calls twice in a three-minute period.

11:27 am: With iOS 6, Apple is finally allowing FaceTime over a cellular connection. Until now the video chat service has been Wi-Fi only.

Apple is also unifying phone number and Apple ID. Can answer call on iPad or Mac if you are both on FaceTime.

11:28 am: The iOS version of the Safari Web browser is also getting an update.

About two-thirds of mobile Web traffic comes from Safari, Forstall notes. New features include offline reading lists and the ability to upload photos from the iOS photo library to a Web site.

Developers can create a “smart banner” that allows users to go from a company’s mobile Web site directly to that app.

11:30 am: Apple is tweaking Photo Stream, its fairly new service for syncing photos.

With iOS 6, Apple is allowing for the creation of shared photo streams. Choose a set of photos and who you want to share them with. You can share with iOS, Mac with iPhoto, a television with Apple TV or on the Web for those who have Windows computers.

11:32 am: With Mail in iOS 6, you can select certain people to be “VIPs.” When mail comes in from those people, you can get a notification similar to when one gets a text message.

Other mail features include the ability to insert a photo while composing an email. (That had required a cumbersome process of starting a message from the Photos app.)

11:33 am: A new feature called Passbook makes it easier to store things like boarding passes, movie tickets or gift cards.

(There are some third party developers who create similar apps, so I expect there are a few frowny faces mixed in with the audible applause.)

Forstall’s demo includes Starbucks gift card, Fandango movie tickets and United and Amtrak boarding passes.

When you delete a Passbook card, it goes through an animated shredder.

Passbook cards can be geotagged so your movie ticket pops up at the theatre.

You can also get a notification for a gate change.

11:37 am: A new Guided Access feature is designed to make iOS devices more accessible for those with disabilities.

Have been surprised how, for example, the iOS devices have been successfully adopted by kids with Autism. Guided Access allows certain options to be turned off in order to keep kids within a single app.

Single App mode allows for a variety of uses, such as a teacher locking students in a test or museums that offer guided tours or parents that want to hand over their phone.

11:39 am: With iOS 6, Apple has built “an entire new mapping system from the ground up,” Forstall said.

The company is doing its own cartography, Forstall said, showing off new maps of Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Paris, Singapore, etc. …

11:39 am: Part of maps, Forstall said, is local search. Apple already has more than 100 million local listings, Yelp integration.

Apple is also building a traffic service with the incidents causing the delay overlayed. Includes anonymous, real-time crowd-sourced data from iOS users.

The next version of iOS will also have turn-by-turn navigation, a feature long missing or requiring a pricey third-party app.

Turn-by-turn will even work from the lock screen and is integrated with Siri. You can ask questions like “Where can I get gas?” and Siri will look for a convenient stop.

Kids can even ask “Are we there yet?” and Siri will do her best to answer that, too.

A feature called fly-over adds 3-D maps for some places.

11:43 am: Forstall demoing the new maps, including both 3-D and 2-D options, as well as a satellite view, in addition to fly-over, which allows a 360-degree three-dimensional view from different camera angles.

Lots of “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd as Forstall shows a flyover of the Sydney, Australia, opera house.

11:48 am: Other iOS features include a “lost mode” where you can send a lost phone a phone number to call, such as a land line or spouse’s phone number.

New developer hooks include support for transit apps (Apple isn’t doing that itself in iOS 6) and support for new Passbook.

Beta of iOS 6 being given to developers today, Forstall said, with final version this Fall for iPhone 3GS and later versions, iPad 2 and the new iPad, as well as more recent iPod touches.

11:51 am: Tim Cook back onstage recapping announcements.

“They are perfect examples of what Apple does best,” Cook said of the new products.

“The products we make, combined with the apps that you create can fundamentally change the world,” Cook said. “Really, I can’t think of a better reason of getting up in the morning.”

11:53 am: Keynote wraps.

11:54 am: No “one more thing,” though.

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