Ina Fried

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At WWDC, Apple Unveils a Reimagined iOS and a Refreshed OS X

Despite all its growth in the recent year, Apple still crams all its developer news into a single keynote at the start of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

wwdc_2013

This year, we can expect details on iOS 7, a major update to the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, along with information on the next version of OS X. In addition, Apple could announce new hardware, and is poised to launch a streaming music service, having signed up all the major record labels.

Meanwhile, developers will be paying keen attention to what parts, if any, of the iPhone become accessible. Speaking at D11, CEO Tim Cook indicated that the company will be getting somewhat more open. Today could bring the answer to just what he meant by that.

AllThingsD will have live coverage once things kick off (and a few sporadic musings before then):

8:44 am: AllThingsD is here in force. I’m joined by reviewer Bonnie Cha and news colleagues Mike Isaac and John Paczkowski; Adam Tow will be shooting photos.

8:57 am: We are still waiting to get seated. The usual millings about. (Auto-correct wanted to make that “killings,” btw.)

9:08 am: If you were wondering if reporters still run for seats in the Tim Cook era, the answer is yes. Good news: We all survived the stampede.

9:16 am: Since we promised free puppies, here ya go:

Peaches

(image courtesy Flickr user Vivian Chen)

9:26 am: Ahead of the keynote, CEO Tim Cook mingles with former VP and current Apple board member Al Gore.

Tim Cook and Al Gore at WWDC

9:32 am: Half an hour to go. So far, the only things you are missing are bad music and sweaty journalists (still winded from running to their seats).

9:43 am: A little more than 15 minutes to go. You know what that means, right?

Time for more free puppies.

10:03 am: Apple starts with a video, and then Tim Cook enters to a hearty round of applause.

10:04 am: “You are going to have an incredible week,” Cook said. It’s the 24th year for the conference, but two-thirds of the audience are here for the first time. Apple has more than 1,000 of its engineers here.

“Don’t ask them about future road maps,” Cook quips.

(FYI — things are working smoothly now, but we’ve been having wireless issues, as have lots of folks here.)

10:05 am: And, of course, it’s recap time.

Starting with the stores. There are 407 of them. Lots of people shop there, apparently.

10:07 am: They are really pretty, too.

The one in Berlin, built in an old theater, is so pretty they made a video of it.

10:09 am: The App Store turns five next year, and has now crossed the 50 billion app download mark. There are 900,000 total apps; 375,000 are specific to the iPad (compared to “just a few hundred for those other guys,” Cook said).

Importantly, they also have more credit cards than anyone else.

The company said it has now paid developers $10 billion since the store opened, half of that in the last year. That’s three times more than all other platforms combined, Cook said.

10:11 am: Cook introduces Anki, a company launching today that uses iOS devices to bring artificial intelligence and robotics to everyday life.

Cook intros Boris Sofman, co-founder. Anki started while Sofman and team were getting their Ph.D.s at Carnegie Mellon.

Their first product is Anki Drive, which has three self-driving miniature cars moving around a race track.

10:14 am: And the demo gods briefly curse Anki. But they play it off well, suggesting that one of the cars was just being “camera shy.”

Now a fourth car, the hero, is weaving in and out of the traffic of the other cars.

Fun stuff.

Now the cars are trying to block the hero, while it aims to find a path through.

“We are bringing videogames to life on the floor of your living room,” Sofman said. It should arrive at Apple stores and online this fall.

“I think these guys are going to be super successful,” Cook said, noting that it is a great example of the power of iOS when matched with developers’ ideas.

10:17 am: Cook shifting to the Mac. There are 72 million Macs in use, double that of a few years ago, Cook said. In the last five years, the Mac has been growing 15 percent per year, compared to an average of three percent a year for the PC market as a whole.

But it’s not about making the most, Cook said, repeating a refrain.

Cook said Apple has sold 28 million copies of Mountain Lion, the most Apple has ever sold.

Cook also notes that around a third of Macs are running Mountain Lion, compared to just a few percent for Windows 8.

To talk about what’s next, Cook brings on Craig Federighi.

10:20 am: Federighi notes that Apple is running out of cat names.

He quips that they don’t want to delay the OS because they are out of names. He jokes that they would name the next version Sea Lion.

Apple plans to start naming its future OS X releases after places in California.

So the next Mac OS X will be Mavericks, which will focus on extending battery life and improving performance.

10:22 am: Federighi shows off the first of three new features for power users.

Finder tabs will make it easy to have multiple areas open in one window.

The second feature is tagging, so a document can have properties in addition to a name. That makes searching better.

Lastly is better support for multiple displays. In Mavericks, menus and the dock can appear on both displays.

An HDTV can also act as an additional display.

As for the tagging feature, the option comes up when one is saving a document.

10:29 am: Federighi is moving on to some new battery-savings technology, including a feature that lets apps “take a nap” so they aren’t draining the battery when not in use.

That and other battery-saving changes can reduce CPU activity by 72 percent, Federighi said.

This stuff is pretty techy, but another performance improvement is “compressed memory,” which lets you access more memory without having to write data to disk.

10:33 am: On to Safari:

There are new Shared links, which automatically brings up links to those you follow on Twitter or LinkedIn, along with improvements to JavaScript. The improved Safari also uses “way less energy” than Chrome or Firefox, Federighi said.

App Nap also notices when a power-sipping browser tab is covered by another window, and throttles things down.

In perhaps a sign of things to come, the new “top sites” page has a much flatter design.

10:39 am: Apple is also taking on the password problem with the introduction of iCloud Keychain, which helps store and manage passwords across devices. It will even suggest a secure password.

Same thing goes for remembering credit cards, although you have to use your own credit card. Bummer.

10:40 am: A new feature of Mavericks is the ability to respond to notifications right from the alert.

Another feature is the ability to have your apps update in the background.

10:42 am: On to the calendar, which includes the option for Facebook calendar data.

10:42 am: That Maps app you don’t like on your iPhone … it’s coming to the Mac.

The good news is that Apple is making lots of improvements. You can also send maps from your Mac directly to an iPhone.

Apple’s iBooks store is also coming to the Mac, including its 1.8-million-book collection.

10:46 am: These features are really self-explanatory, but we’re getting a demo anyway.

Calendar is good for putting dates on; iBooks is great for reading, and the Maps app is designed to help, say, find where you want to go.

“Mavericks continues making your digital life follow you easily from device to device,” Federighi said.

A developer preview of Mavericks will be available today, with the final release available for download this fall.

Cue Phil Schiller to talk more about the Mac.

He starts with the MacBook Air. Says it’s the answer to what is the future of the notebook in an age of the iPad.

New MacBook Airs have “all day” battery life, using Intel’s Haswell processor.

The 11-inch model will go from five hours to nine hours of battery life, while the 13-inch MacBook Air will deliver 12 hours of battery, up from seven hours in the last generation.

The new MacBook Airs will support 802.11ac, a faster version of Wi-Fi. Apple will also have new AirPort networking devices.

The 11-inch MacBook Air starts at $999, with a 128 gigabyte solid-state drive; the 13-inch version starts at $1,099. Both models are shipping today.

10:55 am: Now Schiller is offering a “sneak peek” at something they are working on — something Apple doesn’t usually do.

He shares what’s being done with the Mac Pro — Apple’s desktop, a high-end computer that hasn’t been updated in a very long time.

10:56 am: The Mac Pro is a black, cylinder-shaped device.

“Can’t innovate anymore, my ass,” Schiller said.

10:58 am: Inside is state-of-the-art, Schiller said, including up to 12-core Intel Xeon processors. Double the CPU power of the prior model. Its internal storage is based on high-speed flash memory. Expansion is external over the Thunderbolt 2 connection that Intel just announced.

It’s also the first Mac to come standard with dual workstation graphics, Schiller said.

It supports up to three super-high-definition 4K displays.

“It is a Mac unlike any we’ve ever made,” Schiller said. It’s also a lot smaller than the boxy aluminum Mac Pro, occupying just one-eighth the volume.

It is coming “later this year,” and is assembled in the U.S.A., Schiller said.

Cook is back.

“You’re going to love the new Mac Pro,” Cook said. “It’s killer.”

He’s on to talking iCloud, though.

Apple plans to deeply integrate iCloud into the next version of iWork — Apple’s productivity bundle that includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

Cook brings up Roger Rosner, who says new releases are coming later this year for Mac and iOS. Today, Apple is introducing iWork for iCloud, which lets you create or edit documents in a browser on either Mac or PC.

Word documents can be dropped into an iWork browser for iCloud, and then edited in Pages for iCloud. There are Web-based versions of Keynote and Numbers, too.

Rosner shows documents being created, updated and edited with 3-D animations.

“This is all happening in a browser,” Rosner said.

Next he shows iWork for iCloud working on a Windows 8 PC with Internet Explorer and Chrome.

“I’m just going to fire up Chrome,” Rosner said.

11:12 am: iWork for iCloud will be available as a beta for developers today, and as a public beta later this year, Rosner said.

11:12 am: Cook is back, and it’s time to talk iOS.

Apple has now sold 600 million iOS devices. Cook repeats his line that it’s not about the numbers, though. As he did at the recent D11 conference, Tim is talking about how people also use their iOS devices more than Android owners do.

Customer satisfaction “is literally off the charts,” with one recent survey finding that 97 percent were “satisfied,” and nearly three-quarters of users reporting themselves as “very satisfied.” Windows Phone was at 53 percent, while Android was at 49 percent, Cook said.

Cook notes that 90 percent of iOS owners are using the latest version of the operating system, compared to more than a third of Android users, who are using an operating system that was released in 2010.

“It’s a pretty bleak story,” Cook said.

That is why each new version of iOS is so important, and such an opportunity for developers.

Which, of course, brings him to iOS 7.

Cook says iOS 7 is “the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone.”

11:18 am: Cue video of Jony Ive talking about the thinking that went into the design of iOS 7.

“I think there is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency,” Ive said in the video.

It’s more than the absence of clutter. It’s about bringing order to complexity.

Video shows AirDrop and AirPlay features, the revamped Calendar (that looks a lot like some rumored renderings), redesigned icons, etc.

The weather page is more deeply animated, kind of like HTC’s Sense.

“In many ways, we’ve tried to create an interface that is unobtrusive and deferential,” Ive said.

System pages change appearance based on the wallpaper that a user has chosen.

11:22 am: Okay. Cook is back onstage to hopefully talk a little more concretely about iOS 7.

He gets a huge round of applause from the developer crowd.

“You are going to absolutely love iOS 7,” Cook said.

“I love you,” said one man in the audience.

“Thank you,” Cook said with a laugh.

11:23 am: Craig Federighi comes back to talk about iOS 7.

“Let’s take a look,” Federighi said, gushing over the new icons and home screen.

There is a neat parallax effect that lets you see behind the icons by tilting the device.

Federighi walks through some of the design for the calendar, weather, photos, etc.

“Your friends never looked more attractive,” Federighi said.

Game Center loses its faux-casino look.

“We just completely ran out of green felt,” Federighi jokes.

11:27 am: In messages and email apps you can swipe from the left to get back to the full list of messages. (It’s a bit like the hub in BlackBerry 10, but for individual apps.)

Among the new features, the notification center will be available from the lock screen, as well.

“Installing iOS 7 on your phone is like getting a whole new phone — but one that you know how to use,” Federighi said.

11:30 am: A new “Control Center” brings up frequently accessed settings such as airplane mode, Wi-Fi, play a song, or turn on a new, built-in flashlight (sorry, flashlight-app developers).

11:31 am: Multitasking, which debuted for certain apps back in iOS 4, will now be available for all apps in iOS 7. The device will notice which apps you use when, and give them background-updating access. The average user wakes their device dozens of times a day — which is a good time to get an update.

“If you have good coverage, it is a good time to fetch (new data),” Federighi said. It also uses push notifications as an opportunity to update an app.

11:33 am: As for the mobile version of the Safari browser, it has a smart search bar to enter URLs or search different engines. It also has a new tab view, parental controls, and other additions.

The new way tabs are displayed is more visual and allows access to more than the previous limit of eight open pages.

Safari’s new tabs remind me of the “cards” in webOS.

11:37 am: AirDrop in iOS 7, which Apple bills as the easiest way to share with the people around you. Nearby friends pop up, and you can share with multiple people. It works with any app that supports the built-in iOS method of sharing.

“No need to walk around the room bumping your phone,” Federighi says, taking a shot at third-party app Bump.

It only works on the latest iPhones, iPod touches and iPads, though.

11:40 am: On to the camera, which has new filters, as well as better sorting options, including filtering them into “moments” that are created out of photos shot at a similar time and place.

When you zoom out, moments are sorted into broader “collections” of photos. Zoom out further, and you see all the pictures taken in a year, including some of the most interesting locations visited.

“You may not remember it, but iOS does,” Federighi said.

11:42 am: New sharing options include AirDrop and iCloud (which lets you share to multiple Photo Streams). Other people can also now add to a Photo Stream created by someone else.

Videos can now also be shared via iCloud.

Integration with other services is also important, Federighi said, calling on Eddy Cue.

Cue starts off with Siri, which has a new interface. Siri has a new voice (including both male and female options), as well as new French and German options. More languages coming.

She’s also getting smarter, allowing a user to play their last voicemail, increase brightness, and answer questions via Wikipedia and Bing (not Google!) search results.

Apple is also creating iOS in the car, using iOS on the screen built into the car.

That’s coming in cars built for the next model year.

11:47 am: On to the App Store, where you can find the most popular apps based on location or the age of the user.

“It’s that easy to discover new apps,” Federighi said.

Also, the App Store will update your apps automatically, so no more red circle with numbers of apps waiting to be updated.

11:49 am: Cue intro for iTunes Radio, which is built into the music app and is billed as a great way to discover new music.

Like some other streaming services, you can create a station based on the song you are listening to. iTunes Radio also lets you share the stations you create with friends.

As we’ve previously reported, Apple has deals in place with all the major U.S. record labels to make this service possible.

iTunes radio is built into iOS 7, and works on iTunes on Mac or PC, as well as Apple TV. It’s free with ads, and ad-free for those with Apple’s paid iTunes Match service.

It’s starting in the U.S., and Apple will be adding more countries over time.

11:53 am: And that’s the 10 features of iOS 7 that Apple promised.

Of course, there’s more to iOS 7 than those 10, Federighi said.

Among other features are FaceTime audio (high-quality audio calls over Wi-Fi), and integration with China’s Tencent Weibo.

11:55 am: One other new feature is called “activation lock,” which prevents a stolen phone from being reactivated even if a device is wiped.

There are 1,500 new developer program interfaces for developers, though I didn’t see hoped-for access to the keyboard.

A developer beta today is for iPhone only, with a beta for iPad coming soon. It will come this fall for iPhone 4, and later, iPad 2, iPod touch (fifth generation) and iPad mini.

11:57 am: Cook is back recapping: Mac OS X Mavericks, new MacBook Airs, next-generation Mac Pro, iWork for iCloud, iOS 7 and iTunes Radio.

“We are incredibly proud of all of these products,” Cook said. They are great examples of what Apple does,” he said, thanking his colleagues.

“I’d like to close this morning with a reminder. Our goal at Apple is to make amazing products that our customers love,” Cook said.

Cook shows a new ad reflecting those values. “This is it,” the voice-over says. It’s the experience that matters. How will it make someone feel? Will it make life better? Does it deserve to exist?

“We spend a lot of time on a few great things,” the announcer says.

The commercial ends with the text that adorns Apple’s products: “Designed in California by Apple.”

“This is our signature, and it means everything,” the voice-over says.

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