At 10 a.m. PT today, Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to take the stage at Moscone West in San Francisco to kick off Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and we’ll be providing live updated coverage from the floor, right here on this page.
Cook, with a little help from friends like SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, will likely preview updated operating systems, for both Mac and iOS devices (as pictures of banners decorating the venue revealed), reveal more about improvements to both, including Facebook(s FB) integration, new maps for iOS, and possible tweaks to iCloud and Siri. In addition, it’s expected Apple will show off several new models of Macs, and give us the state of the Apple ecosystem, particularly vis a vis competitors like Google’s Android(s GOOG).
Though some potential news has leaked out, this being Apple, there’s sure to be some sort of surprise thrown in. We’ll be kicking things off here a little before 10 a.m., so please join us then to follow along with our live updates.
9:45 a.m.: Hey everyone, we’re here inside Moscone West and seated. Music is blasting, and a couple hundred people are still milling about. Things should be starting in a little over 10 minutes.
10:01 a.m. Lights go down, and a video with Siri welcoming us to the show begins. She welcomes us to “San Fran” (which, ugh) the “ATM of Silicon Valley.”
10:05: a.m. She then goes with a joke at Samsung’s expense: “Looking forward to the new Samsung. Not the phone, the refrigerator.”
Next Tim Cook takes the stage to loud, extended cheers from the developers in the crowd. He says “he has some really cool stuff for us” at the 23rd WWDC, which, he notes is older than some of the attendees.
He’s reflecting on the truly worldwide nature of the developers here, who are representing 60 countries.
10:06: Here comes the App Store ecosystem update. App Store update: More than 400 million App Store accounts, says Cook. This is the store with the largest number of accounts with credit cards anywhere on the Internet. And there are more than 650,000 apps people can buy. 225,000 are for iPad.
Here are new numbers: there have been 30 billion downloads from the App Store as of today. And developers have made more than $5 billion from selling apps.
32 more countries are getting the app store, too, which will bring the total to 155 countries.
10:09 a.m. Cook is getting a little emotional about the “heartwarming stories” about how apps have improved people’s lives. Then he shows us a video showing a blind person using a GPS app on the iPhone to walk through a forest.
10:14 a.m. Well, OK, that was pretty heartwarming. Also in the video: Children learning anatomy via an iPad app, the story of Airbnb and how people meet strangers from all over the world through the iOS app, a young girl using an iPad app for speech therapy.
10:17: “A reminder why all of us do what we do,” Cook says when the video ends. He thanks the developers for the apps “you’ve done for us.”
Now he’s talking about the new stuff: new notebooks, iOS 6 and Mountain Lion. Phil Schiller, SVP of Marketing takes the stage to talk notebooks.” (No iMacs or Mac Pro?)
10:20 a.m. Schiller starts with the MacBook Air. “Everyone is trying to copy it. But they find it’s not so easy,” he says. New Airs will get Ivy Bridge processors, up to 8GB of faster memory and 60 percent faster integrated graphics. Can add up to 512GB of flash storage now.
There will be USB 3.0 on these guys, will keep USB 2.0 support though. Will get same FaceTime 720p camera as MacBook Pro. They ship today.
10:25 a.m. MacBook Pro gets Ivy Bridge processors and much of the same feature updates too. These will still be 13 will start at $1199 and the 15 inch at $1799.
There’s also a new laptop, a next-generation MacBook Pro, it’s super skinny, both the bottom and the lid. Schiller puts his finger next to it, and shows it’s thinner than his index finger.
10:31 a.m. It’s 0.7 inches thin, to be exact. Pretty much indistinguishable in thinness from the Air. And yes, it has a Retina display that’s 15.4 inches across. Which means the pixels are too tiny for your eye to see individual pixels. The resolution will be 2880 x 1800.
Apple’s apps will be updated to accommodate all these new pixels, including Mail, Safari, iPhoto, FinalCut Pro. Other apps will be pixel doubled, but developers are going to need to improve their apps for the new displays, just like the iPad and iPhone before it. Adobe is going to be one of the first with a Retina-optimized Photoshop. Autodesk is also doing a new AutoCAD, Diablo III is also getting a high-res update.
10:32 a.m. Will have up to 16GB of memory. Will have flash storage “for the future, that’s the proper thing to build it around,” says Schiller. Can build it with up to 768GB. The battery life will be up to 7 hours, has an SD card, an HDMI port, USB 3/2 and a much thinner power adapter, and Thunderbolt.
10:43 a.m.: After one of the standard Apple marketing videos exulting the “elegance” and “innovations” of the new MacBook Pro, we’re back and Schiller is talking price. With Retina display and 8GB RAM, 256GB of storage, it’s certainly more expensive, and it starts at $2199.
10:45: a.m. It starts shipping today, which draws excitement from the crowd. The name is “the next-generation MacBook Pro with Retina Display,” which is kind of a mouthful.
10:47 a.m. OK, on to the software that runs on those new machines. Craig Federighi is out from the Mac team to tell us about it. There are 66 million Mac users now, “triple” from five years ago, and 40 percent of Mac users using Lion after 9 months. And we’re already jumping ahead to Mountain Lion.
10:51 a.m.First feature he talks about in Mountain Lion is iCloud, and goes over Documents in the cloud, how developers can use it with their own Mac Apps. Then he demonstrates Mountain Lion, showing us Reminders — which includes location based reminders for the Mac now too — updated Notes, and Messages. Messages is “the really huge one” according to Federighi. He gets a laugh from the crowd when he refers to “other legacy chat apps.”
10:58 a.m. Much of this is a review of the developer version of Mountain Lion we saw back in February. But I don’t remember this one: Dictation on the Mac works in everything, including Microsoft Word.
Also new: iCloud tab in Safari lets you pick up browsing across devices, and Safari is getting new gestures: you can zoom way out and get a view of all tabs you have open and you can scroll sideways to browse them.
11:03 a.m. He demonstrates how Twitter integration works: can tweet from Mac apps, can dictate tweets, and you get Twitter notifications in Notification Center.
Then he goes to “Power Nap.” It keeps your Mac up to date when it’s in sleep mode. You still get email Photostream, calendar appointments and notifications. It will backup while asleep and you’ll also get automatic app and system software updates, all without turning on the machine’s fan.
Airplay Mirroring also comes to the Mac: you can mirror to Apple TV for presentations, watching TV, or listening to music. Another thing from iOS is coming to the Mac too, GameCenter, with all the same friends and games you have on iOS GameCenter.
11:07 a.m. New local features for China, as previously announced: new fonts, sharing support for Sina Weibo, search in Baidu and new Chinese email services. “Get your apps ready for China,” says Federighi.
11:09 a.m.Mountain Lion comes out next month — but no specific date — via the same method as Lion, the Mac App Store. But the price is brand new: $19,99 for Lion upgrades, all the way back from Snow Leopard. One upgrade will update all your Macs. Developers here will get a “near-final” version of the OS. That’s it for Mountain Lion. Now, we’re onto iOS, and Scott Forstall is up.
11:12 a.m. Forstall reviews iOS 5: 84 of the top 100 apps use iOS notifications, which has meant they’ve sent 1.5 trillion notifications total. iMessage sends more than 1 billion messages every day. Twitter integration has mean a 3x increase of iOS Twitter users. Almost 50 percent of photos shared on Twitter come from iOS 5, he says.
11:17 a.m. Alright, now he’s ready to talk iOS 6. First things first: Siri. Some big updates: you can ask for sports scores, individual players’ stats, team standings, or even attributes of individual players (he asks Siri if LeBron or Kobe is taller…and she knows the right answer.” She also knows game times.
There will be more useful restaurant info too via the Yelp partnership announced in October and you can also make OpenTable reservations through Siri. You can ask for movie times — info via Rotten Tomatoes — and you can watch trailers right inside Siri.
11:18 a.m. It also works better in apps: you can tell Siri which iOS game you want to play and she’ll bring it up.
11:21 a.m. Another new thing is “eyes free” which will integrate with cars to bring Siri up via a button in your car. He doesn’t say which car manufacturers, but he says they’re working with them and some are “committed to delivering eyes free Siri within the next 12 months.”
11:23 a.m. Siri will get eight new languages including local Chinese options for China, Spanish in Mexico, Spain, the U.S. and Korean.
And now Facebook is up: it will be integrated right into iOS 6. You can post to FB from Photos, Safari, Maps, from the App Store, iTunes, GameCenter and Notifications — you can do FB updates (and tweets) from the notifications menu. There will be a public API so other apps can integrate with FB too.
11:27 a.m. The phone app is also getting some polishing. When someone calls and you can’t or don’t want to answer, you can reply with a message or you can set a reminder to return a call.
A long wished for feature is also arriving: do not disturb mode. You can tell your phone when not to ring or vibrate — say, if you’re sleeping, in a meeting or on a date. But, you can also allow through certain ones: you can set up a group that’s allowed to get through this do not disturb mode. There’s also an emergency mode you can set: if someone calls you twice within 3 minutes, the second one will come through.
11:30 a.m. FaceTime isn’t getting left out. It is now going to be available over a cell connection. And Apple ID and your phone number will be integrated so FaceTime calls or messages can start on an IPad, for example, and you can answer on your Mac.
11:33 a.m. Safari will get smart app banners: if someone goes to a developers website, a banner will pop up directing them to their app in the App Store.
In iOS 6 there will be shared Photostreams, which means you can share photos from your Photostream via a push notification to your friends you’ve selected. Then those photos will show up as an album that chosen people can view and comment on.
11:35 a.m. You can add photos and videos to email within the compose window, and you can pull to refresh messages.
And here’s a new app from Apple: a place to keep your mobile boarding passes, mobile movie tickets, Starbucks rewards cards, etc. It’s called PassBook. And this is pretty sweet: it integrates to your lock screen: when you get to the movie theater you have a ticket for, the phone will pop up your movie pass you’ve bought.
11:38 a.m. This is super cool: if your gate changes for your flight, Forstall says the ticket in your PassBook will update in realtime.
Forstall says Apple is going to improve accessibility. Guided Access lets you trace a circle over a button you don’t want someone to hit and you can lock an app so the home button is disabled — he says this is targeted for children with autism who use the iPad for learning.
But the single-app mode also works for anyone: teachers can lock iPads to a single app or museums can for tour guide apps.
11:42 a.m.And now, the worst kept secret of iOS 6: new maps: “We’re doing all the cartography ourselves,” says Forstall. There are 150 million business listings from all over, it’s integrated with Yelp, and has its own traffic service, to see slow traffic and incidents on the road. The data for that will be anonymous from iOS users in realtime. And yes, it’ll have turn-by-turn navigation — something Apple’s wanted for a while but that Google wouldn’t allow with its Maps app for iOS. Turn by turn works from the lock screen of the phone and it’s integrated with Siri.
11:44 a.m. Next Forstall demonstrates Flyover, which is built with 3D images from flying over cities. You can choose camera angles and get pretty awesome 3D renderings of locations. Other details: For standard maps you can also zoom in really fast, rotate map labels, and get reviews, ratings and 3D images when you click on a label on the map.
11:49 a.m. That’s it for maps. Forstall says there are 200 other features, but he’s not going to go over all of them. He mentions that the App Store is getting an update, but he doesn’t go into detail. Also mentions briefly iPhone compatible hearing aids they’re working on.
And the same localized features for China for the Mac are all coming to iOS as well.
Transit apps: the best ones are third-party, he says. Apple will feature and promote transit apps right in their new Maps app in iOS 6.
11:55 a.m. “Only Apple could make” these hardware and software services, says Tim Cook, who takes over from Forstall. This is why people work with Apple, he says.
“The products we make and the apps you create can fundamentally change the world,” he tells developers. “I can’t think of a better reason of getting up in the morning.”
And on that slightly emotional note, we’re done! . We’ll continue to bring you analysis of what we saw here today throughout the day here on GigaOM. Thanks everyone for joining us for WWDC coverage!