John Paczkowski

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Apple Heads for the Cloud, for Real: Here’s What’s Coming From Lion, iOS5 and iCloud

This morning at Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference, CEO Steve Jobs and several other executives kicked off the event with a keynote that focused on iOS 5, OS X Lion and iCloud, the company’s “upcoming cloud services offering.”

Here’s the liveblog, photos and analysis.

8:43 am: AllThingsD is here at WWDC.

8:46 am: Among the signage here at Moscone are two massive banners, both of them hidden by blackout cloth.

9:44 am: Inside and situated after a Monsters of Rock-style stampede for choice press seats. If you’re a tech company about to announce an earnings shortfall or scandal, now would be the ideal time.

9:52 am: No Beatles or Dylan blaring from the speakers today. The soundtrack for this morning’s event seems to be late-60s soul, Eddie Floyd, etc.

9:58 am: We’re just a few minutes from kick-off, I think. Now playing, James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” Opening screech draws chuckles from the crowd.

10:01 am: Looks like that was Steve Jobs’s intro music. The lights dim and he takes the stage. Standing ovation.

10:02 am: From the crowd: “We love you, Steve.”

Jobs: “Thanks, that always helps.”

10:02 am: Jobs begins with some WWDC metrics: 5,200 attendees, over 1,000 Apple engineers on site.

10:03 am: “If the hardware is the brain and the sinew of our products, the software is their soul. Today we’re going to talk about software: Lion, iOS 5 and some interesting cloud stuff.

10:04 am: First up: Lion. Jobs hands off to Phil Schiller who begins with some metrics. Ha! I was just name-checked in an onstage slide–a quote about “the Mac kicking ass” from one of my posts.

10:05 am: Schiller says the Mac has outgrown the PC every quarter for the past 5 years. “There are now 54 million active Mac users around the world.”

Now, a quick historical overview of the Mac OS, including some screenshots of the first iteration of OS X and its evolution.

10:07 am: Schiller says Lion is a major refresh of OS X and has some 250 new features. He’s going to focus on 10 today. The first: multitouch gestures: scrolling, tap to zoom, swipe, pinch motions…

“These things have implications across the system,” Schiller says. “The scrollbar, for example,” he says. You don’t really need it anymore. Or as much, anyway. In Lion, the scrollbar disappears when you don’t need it and reappears when you do.

10:09 am: Moving on now to full screen apps. In Lion, you can run a number of full-screen apps at the same time and switch easily between them. Shows off Safari, iCal, Calendar, all running in full screen.

10:10 am: Up next: Mission Control.
Schiller: “Mission control gives you a birds-eye view of everything going on in your system,” Schiller says, adding that you can have multiple desktops and apps running and use Mission Control to get to any of them easily.

10:11 am: “You don’t need the scrollbar anymore because you can simple push through things with your finger,” says Federighi, who has picked up the demo from Schiller.

10:12 am: Slick feature: Swipe through Safari’s browsing history.

10:13 am: You can also swipe through full-screen apps going from Safari to iPhoto with a simple gesture. Transition is fluid, seamless.

10:14 am: Demo of Photobooth running in full-screen mode. New enhancements allow you to put Looney Tunes-style cuckoo birds around your head, etc.

10:15 am: Three-finger swipe puts you in Mission Control from full-screen apps. Spacebar gives users a “quick look” at a specific window by enlarging it.

10:16 am: Schiller talks a bit about the Mac App Store. “In the last six months, the Mac App Store has become the number one PC channel for buying software, surpassing Best Buy and Office Depot.”

10:18 am: So what’s new for the App Store in Lion? First off, it’s built right in. It also offers in-app purchases, push notifications, sand boxing and delta updates.

10:19 am: Moving on to Launchpad, which brings an iOS-like app schema to the Mac desktop. Multiple screens of icons, scroll between them.

10:20 am: Another new feature: “Resume.” “Resume works system wide to remember what app you were using and what you were doing with it.”

10:24 am: Demos of the features we’ve just heard about. Federighi takes the stage to show off the Mac App Store. He downloads Twitter from the App Store and it “magically flies” to the desktop.

Moving on to document editing now….He messes around in Pages for a bit and then quits. Notably, there is no “Do you want to save?” dialogue.

He fires up Pages again and the app takes him to exactly what he was working on when he closed it moments ago without saving.

10:27 am: Federighi adds that Lion saved not only the last version of his doc, but a few earlier versions as well–all without his intervention.

10:28 am: Another new feature: Airdrop. “This is a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi-based network,” says Schiller.

Airdrop creates a sort of subnetwork among Lion users that allows dragging and dropping of files via the finder. Looks elegant and easy.

10:30 am: Moving on to Mail. “Lion has a completely new version of Mail,” says Schiller. There’s a favorites bar, a message skimmer and, thankfully, a better search. “You can create boolean searches if you want,” says Schiller.

10:31 am: Another new Mail feature: conversation view. This shows messages from a single thread in a single view, complete with attachments.

10:33 am: Search in the new Mail appears far more granular. Multiple search terms allow far more focused and effective searches.

10:34 am: A nice addition. Conversations hides the redundant text you often get in CCs, but allows you to expand if needed.

10:35 am: Schiller now running through a smorgasboard of new features in Lion. 3000 new APIs for devs.

10:36 am: When it’s released, Lion will be available only from the Mac App Store. No more DVDs.

10:36 am: It will be about 4 GB in size and will install in place. It can also be installed on all authorized Macs.

So what will it cost? $29. Lots of applause for that.

10:38 am: New developer preview available today. Official release will follow in July.

10:38 am: Scott Forstall takes the stage to talk about iOS 5.

10:38 am: 200 million iOS devices sold to date, says Forstall. “That makes iOS the number one mobile operating system with more than 44 percent of the market.”

10:39 am: Here’s our full rundown on Mac OS X Lion.

10:39 am: “In 14 months, we”re sold more than 25 million iPads,” says Forstall.

More metrics:
– 15 billion songs sold via iTunes
– 130 million books downloads from iBooks
– 425,000 apps in the app store, 90,000 specifically for the iPad
– 14 billion apps downloaded from the App Store in less than 3 years
– $2.5 billion paid to developers building apps for the app store

10:42 am: Quick overview of some high-profile apps. HBO Go, WebEx, etc.

10:43 am: More metrics: 225 million iTunes store accounts all with credit cards and 1-click purchasing.

10:43 am: And now, iOS 5….

Forstall: “This is a major release for our devleopers and our customers….More than 200 new features.”

10:44 am: Forstall will walk us through 10 of that 200. The first: Notifications.

10:44 am: Apple’s already pushed 100 billion push notifications, but it’s been hearing that folks would like a better UI. People don’t want to deal with modal alerts, etc.

Notification Center will fix this. It’s a single screen that lists your various notifications–missed calls, Facebook updates–all accessible with a top down finger swipe.

10:46 am: Notifications are now less intrusive. They appear at the top of the screen without interrupting the app currently in use and then auto-dismiss after a few moments.

10:48 am: Tap on a notification and it takes you to the app that generated it. Tap again and it takes you back to Notification Center.

10:48 am: Number two: Newsstand. Forstall talks for a moment about the breadth of magazine and newspaper content available for iPad. “We’ve now created a single place for all these publications in the App Store. When you purchase them, they’re all downloaded to Newsstand via background downloads.”

Newsstand has an iBooks-esque UI.

10:50 am: Next up: Twitter.

10:51 am: “IOS users send more than 1 billion Tweets a week,” says Forstall. “We know Twitter is an important app for our users, so we want to make it easier to use.”


A few ways: single sign-on, photo-integration, location integration.

“In addition to this, you can Tweet articles from Safari and videos from YouTube.”

10:53 am: Moving on to Safari. More than two thirds of mobile Web browsing is done on Safari, says Forstall, before running through some new features Apple is adding to it.

10:54 am: First, an improved version of Safari Reader that, frankly, looks like it’s going to kill Instapaper. Second, “Reading List,” an easy way to save stories to read later. Reading List syncs across iOS devices, so if you save something on iPhone, you can read it later on iPad. Third: tabbed browsing.

10:55 am Moving on now to a new feature called “Reminders,” which seems to be a Remember The Milk-style app.

10:58 am: Create lists of to-dos, associate a time with them and even a location with a geofence so that if you attempt to leave a particular location without completing a certain task, iOS will remind you to do it when you move out of a certain area.

11:00 am: Another nice new feature: A lock-screen shortcut for the camera. No need to worry if you have a passcode set, either. Camera evidently ignores it, but still keeps the device locked until the passcode is entered.

11:01 am: Also new in camera: optional gridlines, in-camera pinch-to-zoom, and in-camera editing with crop and rotate, red-eye removal and one-click enhance.

11:02 am: Now, iOS Mail. A bevvy of new features: rich text formatting, indentation control, draggable addresses, message flagging, search entire message (not just from and to), swipe to inbox.

11:06 am: Ah, here’s a slick new feature. A split keyboard for iPad that makes it easier to type.

11:07 am: Next up: PC Free. The mere mention of the phrase is met by so much cheering and applause, Forstall has to pause for a moment until it dies down.

11:07 am: “We know we’re selling into a lot of households that don’t have computers, but want iOS devices. So we’re making that possible.” How? You can now set up iOS devices on the devices themselves and software updates are available over the air.

11:09 am: “If you want to cut the cord, now you can.” Forstall concludes the PC Free demo and moves quickly to GameCenter.

Game Center currently has 50 million users, says Forstall, adding that XBox Live, which has been around for a lot longer, only has about 30 million.

New in Game Center, game discovery and game downloads from within Game Center. Also support for turn-based games right out of the box in iOS 5.

11:12 am: Next: Messaging. IPod touch and iPad users have been asking for a messaging service, so we’re giving them one. It’s called iMessage and it runs on all iOS devices–iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

IMessage includes delivery receipts and read receipts, and is supported over 3G and Wi-Fi. IMessages are pushed to iOS devices. They’re also encrypted.

11:14 am: In a nod to iOS’s new notifications system, iMessages are non-intrusive. They don’t interrupt game play, for example.

11:16 am: “We’re building this on our new push notification system so we know how to scale this,” says Forstall.

11:17 am: Forstall runs through some other new iOS features: AirPlay mirroring and Wi-Fi backup to iTunes are two of the big ones. Also new features for devs: Core Image, Customize UI…

11:18 am: All sounds great, but when will it arrive at market? A developer seed will be released today. iOS 5 itself will ship this fall. It will support everything from the iPhone 3Gs and up.

11:19 am: Forstall hands off to Jobs who returns to the stage to talk about iCloud. “We’ve been working on this for some time and we’re really excited about it….About 10 years ago, we realized that the PC was going to become the center of our digital lives, the place where we stored out photos and our music….And it did become that and it worked well for a while, but recently it’s broken down.”

11:21 am: Jobs continues noting how difficult it’s become to sync our media between various devices. “Keeping our devices in sync is driving us crazy,” he says. “But we have a great solution for this problem. We are going to demote the PC to just be a device. We are going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud.Now everything is in sync without even having to think about it.”

11:23 am: “ICloud stores your content in the cloud and automatically pushes it to all your devices. But it’s also completely integrated with your apps, so there’s nothing new to learn. It just all works. … Everything happens automatically and there is nothing new to learn.”

“Now I know what you’re thinking: why should we trust Apple,” Jobs says. “They’re the ones who brought us MobileMe. It wasn’t our finest hour–let me just say that–but we learned a lot from it.”

11:29 am: Three apps will be free–mail, contacts and calendar. Previously, they were part of $99 a year MobileMe service.

11:29 am: App Store and iBookstore will also allow access to previously purchased titles from the cloud.

There will also be a backup app with automatic backup of iOS devices to the cloud.

Daily backups of iCloud done automatically over Wi-Fi with camera roll, music, device settings and app data.

11:31 am: “We couldn’t stop there,” he said, noting there are three other apps.

“The first one is documents in the cloud,” Jobs said.

11:31 am: If you create a Pages document, on, say, an iPad, it automatically gets stored in the cloud and is automatically sent to other devices with Pages. It’s on all the iWork apps–Pages, Numbers and Keynote (including iPhone versions last week).

Demo from Roger Rosner, VP of iWork.

11:34 am: Jobs returns to the stage. “Today it is a real hassle to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices,” he says. “And that’s partly because of the file system. We’ve been working for 10 years to get rid of the file system,” said Jobs. “When you try and teach someone to use a Mac, everything is fine, until you show them the file system. On iOS, you don’t have to think about it. But how do you move those documents around? Now you can.”

“iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps. You don’t even need to think about it. It just works. ….Documents in the cloud really completes our document storage story. We can finally get rid of the file system. On iOS devices, you no longer have to worry about the file system. Documents in the cloud solves that problem for us.”

And it works not only across all iOS devices, but Macs and PCs too.

Apple plans to release iCloud storage APIs so developers can leverage iCloud in their own apps.

11:37 am: Another new cloud-based app: Photostream. “This may be my favorite iCloud app.”

“You take photos on any device and they will be automatically uploaded to the cloud where they will be stored and then automatically downloaded to all my other devices….You can also import photos and do the same thing…and we’ve built this right into the apps, so there’s nothing new to learn. You push a button and it’s right there.”

11:39 am: “On the Mac we built it right into iPhoto and on the PC, since they don’t have a photo app, we use the pictures folder….And we even built it into Apple TV. Apple TV talks directly to the PhotoStream service.”

11:40 am: Interesting. How’s Apple handling the no doubt significant memory issues around something like this?

On iOS devices, it’s storing the last 1000 photos, on Macs it’s storing them all. And it stores them for 30 days.

11:42 am: Eddy Cue takes the stage for a quick demo of Photostream. Using his iPhone, he snaps a few pictures of a toy Lightning McQueen car from Pixar’s “Cars” and bang they show up on his iPad and his Mac.

11:43 am: Jobs returns to the stage…

“So, photos you take or import/upload to iCloud, iCloud pushes them to all your devices, it stores them for 30 days, which is plenty of time….”

11:44 am: Moving on to iTunes.

“You know, it’s the same old story. I buy something on my iPhone and it’s not on my other devices. But I want it on my other devices.”

The first portion of Apple’s solution for that: from now on anything you’ve purchased from iTunes on one device can be re-downloaded to other devices.

11:46 am: Jobs: “And in the future, you can flip a switch in iTunes that will send any song you purchase on iTunes to all your devices.”

Interesting. There’s a new purchase tab in iTunes that lists all your iTunes purchases, tap the iCloud button and it sends the song to whatever device you’re viewing it on at no additional charge.

11:48 am: Buy a new song on iTunes and it automatically downloads to all your iOS devices. Eddy Cue demonstrates during an onstage demo, buying a song via iPhone that automatically appears on his iPAd as well.

11:49 am: iTunes in the cloud supports up to 10 devices.

11:50 am: Jobs: “We’ve added wireless backup to the cloud. Once daily, we’re gonna back up a lot of your important content to the cloud. If you ever get a new phone, everything will be loaded onto that phone automatically.”

Nice. All these new iCloud-based apps are free. “We want people to really see what this software can do, so we’re making it free,” says Jobs.

11:50 am: More from Jobs …

“So how do you get iCloud? When you buy an iOS device, you navigate to the iCloud screen, enter your ID and flick the switch.”

iCloud comes with 5GB storage–that doesn’t include photos or books.

When is it available? Today, says Jobs.

11:52 am: iTunes in the cloud is available today as an iTunes 4.3 beta.

11:52 am: “But there’s one more thing …”

11:53 am: “It’s a small thing and it pertains to iTunes in the cloud,” says Jobs. He continues, talking briefly about music that you may have purchased from non-iTunes sources.

Turns out there’s a way to get non-Itunes music into the iTunes cloud. It’s called iTunes Match. Apple scans and matches your library to its library of 18 million songs. And it upgrades it to 256 kbps AAC. Scanning should take a matter of minutes. Any music Apple doesn’t have in its library, it uploads from you. Cost: $24.99 a year.

11:56 am: Jobs notes that a comparative service from Amazon costs around $50 and requires an upload time of “weeks.”

11:57 am: “Now if you don’t think we’re serious about this, you’re wrong,” Jobs says, referring to a picture of the Maiden facility. This is our third data center and, as you can see, it’s rather large. Just to give you a feel for it’s size, see the dots on the roof? Those are people. And it’s full of stuff. Full of expensive stuff. … We are ready for our customers to start using iCloud and we are ready to put it into their hands.”

11:59 am: And that’s it. Thanks for joining us today.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald