Live Blogging The Apple iPad Event In San Francisco
The event is starting. We begin with a video/TV commercial. Vague design sentiments and concepts being showing with a ballet of dots on the screen.
Tim Cook has just come out to applause. He’s discussing how the video just shown reflects “Apple’s values.” He’s saying “you’re going to see some amazing products this morning.”
But first Cook offers some iPhone “updates.” He is quoting all the accolades from journalists. Nine million iPhones sold: it was the “biggest iPhone launch ever.”
Now another video showing launch weekend for the new iPhone around the world at Apple’s retail stores.
Cook cites various reviews of iOS 7, including David Pogue (formerly of the NY Times now of Yahoo). Just five days after launch over 200 million devices are running iOS 7 — 64 percent of all iOS devices running iOS 7.
He’s promoting iTunes Radio. It runs on iOS but also on Mac, PC and Apple TV. Over 20 million users have listened to iTunes Radio and to over 1 billion songs in US.
Cook says there are now a million apps now in the App Store and over 60 billion downloads. Developers have now earned over $13 billion dollars through the App Store.
Next up: the Mac. Users love the Mac. “Our competition is confused,” says Cook. Taking a swipe at Microsoft he jokes, “They’re trying to make tablets into PCs and PCs into tablets; who knows what they’ll do next.”
Mavericks OS Update
Craig Federighi is now on stage talking about the new OS “Mavericks.” Mavericks will provide an hour longer battery life for existing Mac desktop computers. New “compressed memory” will enable 6GB of data on 4GB of RAM to run more applications and “never slow down.”
Mavericks optimizes graphics to improve performance. There are far too many acronyms now coming from Federighi for me to keep up.
He’s quickly reviewing all the benefits and software improvements in Mavericks. He points out that Apple Maps is now going to be on the Mac, as well as iBooks.
Federighi shows how tags can be used to organize content/documents on the desktop as well as folders. Documents can be tagged with multiple tags (useful), which are searchable. Now he’s demonstrating notifications on the desktop.
In addition, Apple’s “Keychain” allows passwords and payment information to be remembered and entered across sites/apps.
Maps/location data are integrated into the new iCal app. Federighi shows lots of cool integrated features and how they work across platforms (PC and iOS).
The big news: Mavericks is going to be free. It will run on machines as old as 2007. It’s available to download today.
New Macbooks and Mac Pro Hardware
Phil Schiller is on stage to talk about Macbooks, with more reviews and more superlatives. “Today we turn our attention to Macbook Pro.”
The 13 and 15 inch Macbook Pros are being updated. Both machines are lighter and thinner. The 13-inch machine is powered by the Intel Haswell processor with up to 9 hours of battery life. Schiller says that you can watch the entire Dark Knight Trilogy on one charge. (He called it “Black Knight”.)
More specs. The new 13-inch Macbook Pro starts $1,299, about $200 less than old model. It will ship today. The 15-inch machine is powered by an Intel Crystalwell processor. Faster processing and graphics: “It’s better across the entire system,” opines Schiller.
The Macbook Pro 15-inch starts at $1,999, $200 less than the old model. It ships today as well with Mavericks.
Schiller moves on to Mac Pro: the black cylinder introduced at the WWDC this summer. It has lots of power and speed. It’s the most powerful and fastest Mac available. Storage is all flash based; there’s no hard drive.
Eyes rolling back in my head with all the specs.
Now we’re hearing about beta testers of the Mac Pro (filmmakers, photographers, music producers). As one might expect, they love it. It will cost $2,999 to start. Schiller says this pricing is really aggressive for all the features and specs. It’s also environmentally friendly and energy efficient.
Mac Pro will be built in the US. And now for a video of the manufacturing process.
iOS (and Mac) Productivity Apps Are Free
Eddie Cue is on stage to talk about apps. There are new versions of iPhoto, iLife and Garage Band for iOS 7 and the Mac. He talks about the improvements to iPhoto. Now you can make photo books on the iPad.
There’s a new version of iMovie for iOS 7, with simple sharing. “We are bringing desktop class effects” to iPhone and iPad explains Cue.
There’s a new feature called “iMovie Theater,” a single place where all your movies are housed. This is also true on Apple TV.
Garage Band is moving to 32 tracks and has new features. Now we’re getting a demo of the new Garage Band. It allows you to create a pretty interesting drum track (“Drummer”) with relative ease. There are also a number of alternative styles.
All the iLife software Cue is talking about is available today and free with purchase of new Mac or iOS devices. He adds that iWork has been updated and is faster.
There’s a new UI making it easier to use. He goes through Pages, Keynote and Numbers features. Charts in Numbers are now “interactive.” Cue demonstrates new animations available via Keynote.
We’re getting a more extended demo of Pages. You can easily share docs between Mac and PC even without Pages. We’re now seeing iWork for iCloud, which is adding document collaboration. “Collaborate with friends ‘stuck’ on a PC,” says Cue. All of the productivity apps (iWork, iLife) are now available for free — today.
This free software strategy is pretty radical and somewhat un-Apple-like. Cook is back on stage. He says “we’re turning the industry on its ear” by making all this software free.
iPad Air (9.7 inch)
Cook is about to announce the new and improved iPads. He starts by citing skeptical reviews and comments about the original iPad. They’re funny given what we know now. He displays a chart that shows 170 million iPads sold to date.
Cook says that now the “doubters” are now making tablets. Citing Chitika (uncredited) numbers he says that iPads are used more than 4x other tablets. He says that iPad is #1 in customer satisfaction and has been since the beginning.
There are over 475K iPad apps now available. “No one else is close to this.”
We could “never have imagined all the ways that our customers are using” iPads. Now we get another video showing all the ways that companies and individuals are using iPads. I think this is the fourth video shown during the presentation.
Phil Schiller is back on stage for the iPad announcements. “The team has been on a relentless path” to deliver on this vision of mobile computing. Today “we have the biggest step yet.” Now time for video number 5.
We’re seeing the new 9.7 inch iPad: “Thinner, lighter and more powerful than ever before.” It’s called the iPad Air. The new device is 43 percent thinner than the previous version: 7.5 mm thin. It weighs only one pound.
It’s the lightest full-sized tablet in the world. The A7 chip is in the Air. Schiller brings the specs: CPU and graphics performance is 2X the previous generation; it’s 8X faster than the original iPad. Graphics are 72X faster than iPad 1.
It has a 5MP camera, 64 bit processing power and Siri. It delivers 10 hours of battery life. It will be available in silver, white, space gray and black.
The iPad Air starts at $499 for 16GB. The iPad 2 will remain as the cheaper option and cost $399 for the 16GB version. The Air will ship to lots of countries simultaneously.
And now video number six. It’s Jony Ive: passion and sensitivity personified.
Retina iPad Mini (7.9 inch)
Schiller says the most requested feature for the iPad Mini is a retina display. As expected that’s being added to the new model with 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution. The new Mini is also powered by the A7 chip: faster CPU and graphics and so on. It also has a 10 hour battery life. The specs are essentially the same as the iPad Air. It will come in the same colors: silver, white, gray and black.
New Mini pricing is the same as the old Mini: $399 for the WiFi 16GB version. The original iPad Mini will remain in the lineup but the price will be lowered to $299. This is consistent with Apple’s long-standing pricing strategy — drop the price of the previous generation product.
Now we get to see yet another video (an iPad Air TV spot): “The thinner, lighter, more powerful iPad Air.” Tim Cook is back with concluding remarks, thanking everyone and reminding us that all these products are available for holiday 2013.
He invites people to try the new devices in the “hands on” area. That’s where I’m headed.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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