Macworld Expo Keynote 2009: Live Update

8:51 PT - Jason Snell: Hi everyone. Jason Snell here from the Apple Keynote at Macworld Expo. Dan Moren is with me as well, and we'll be reporting to you live as Phil Schiller takes the stage to present new Apple announcements (we hope!) in a few minutes.

8:53 PT - Dan Moren: Hello live update followers. As Jason said, we're ready to type furiously from the second row here at the keynote. So close that we can see the fabulous lines of Phil Schiller's impeccable hairdo. These are the details that you want—nay, need to know.

8:54 PT - JS: This is the portion of the show where Dan and I tend to talk about the music that Apple's playing as the hall fills up. And indeed, we just had The Killers, though I can't quite place who's singing the current selection. The press and Macworld Expo speakers have been seated and the rest of the hall is filling up right now. There's a definite rumble of people talking behind us.

8:55 PT - DM: I can't hear precisely what they're talking about, but I imagine it's in reference to the lovely San Francisco weather we're having. I mean, what else is there to talk about, really?

8:57 PT - JS: Not to throw out a sports analogy, but really, we cover these live events as if they were sporting events. Dan will be providing the play-by-play, I'll be your color commentator, and Macworld's own Dan Frakes, perched between us, is our "spotter." He's the guy we'll go to if we miss a particular dollar figure or specification for a new product. So thanks in advance to Dan and the rest of the team surrounding us this morning. We hope we can help make this final Apple keynote at Macworld Expo a good one.

8:59 PT - DM: You've brought a tear to my eye, Jason. We're getting underway. They've asked us to silence our cellphones and paging devices as a courtesy. They didn't say "iPhones" this time, though.

8:59 PT - JS: Coldplay follows the announcement to silence our cellphones and paging devices. Does it say something about me that I can recognize The Killers and Coldplay? I will say this: the music we're hearing does not sound like it was played directly from Steve Jobs's iPod. By which I mean, no sign of Bob Dylan.

9:00 PT - DM: That's because it's Phil's iPod, Jason. That's the way the Schiller rolls.

9:01 PT - JS: It's "Life in Technicolor II" by Coldplay, from the recent EP Prospekt's March. Wow, I know as much about Coldplay as Dan Frakes knows about Jack Johnson. (That's a callback to a previous Apple event -- we promise to stop being quite as self-indulgent once we get started with actual keynote material.)

9:02 PT - DM: Which should be any moment now, as the hour has just ticked past 9AM.

9:03 PT - DM: And there go the lights. We're dimming and the show is ready to being. Here comes P{hil up on the stage. For those wondering about wardrobe, he's wearing a blue collared shirt and jeans. And looking well coiffed as always. He gets a nice round of applause as he comes on stage.

9:04 PT - DM: "I can't tell you how much I appreciate you all showing up." That got a laugh from the audience. Phil's gonna start off with a little overview. First thing we're going to talk about is how great the Apple Stores are, talking about the Beijing store they opened last year. Munich. Sydney, Australia. He's pointing out the crowds of people. "What other company's logo could you ever imagine in that photo?"

9:04 PT - JS: A very nice aknowledgement of the issues around this keynote without actually bring up the details. Deftly handled.

9:05 PT - DM: 3.4 million customers visiting an Apple Store around the world every week. That's 100 Macworlds each and every week (ouch). The Mac is still an important part of business. "And so today is all about the Mac. I think that's appropriate, at Macworld, to talk about the Mac."

9:06 PT - DM: 2008 was the biggest year in the history of company in Mac sales, sold 9.7 million Macs. They grew over twice as fast as the rest of the industry. A picture of the very, very shiny Mac product line. It's all aluminum, baby. "If you want to hear a few new things today—and I assume some people do." Phil's got three new things for us today.

9:07 PT - DM: An entire new version of iLife. It's iLife '09. Check that one off the list. iLife is "one of the reasons people buy a Mac today." Phil says there's nothing like it on any other platform, despite what the people "up north" think.

9:08 PT - JS: Is it me, or are the references to Microsoft seeming old fashioned these days? Is Microsoft even a worthy competitor anymore? Especially when it comes to what Apple's doing with iLife? I think the time has come for Apple to just ignore what Microsoft is or isn't doing.

9:08 PT - DM: Brand new iPhoto '09. Last year they introduced "Events", which took thousands of photos and turned them into a few hundred events. This year they're adding "Faces." Wouldn't it be great if you could organize your photos around the people you know? There's a new item, Faces, in the Library pane. When you click on it, you get a corkboard of snapshots of your favorite people. How does it work?

9:09 PT - DM: Turns out it uses face detection. It highlights the face and asks you to give them a name. Click on it, type in a name; it adds a snapshot. Then it uses face recognition to find the same person across multiple photos. (Senior Editor Jon Seff wonders if it works with pets—good question!) You can click to confirm it's a picture of the person, or double-click to say it's not them. Phil says it's not perfect, but it's the best technology they've found.

9:11 PT - JS: I'm gonna guess that it doesn't work with pets, but we'll get back to you on that one.

9:11 PT - DM: They're adding a third way to help you find your favorite photos, called "Places." Wouldn't it be great if you could organize by place? Click on Places in the Library and you get a map with pins for where your photos are. It uses GPS Geotagging, integrated in many new cameras and in "the most advanced cell phone on the market." (It's the iPhone - maybe you've heard of it?) Phil explains that your geotag stores your longitude and latitude.

9:13 PT - DM: What about the photos you took where you didn't have a geotag? You can assign a location to existing events by just typing in where you went (integration with Google Maps). You can double click to zoom in, go to street level, and click on any pin to go to the photos you took there, even if they were taken at different times. They've got satellite imagery as well.

9:14 PT - JS: iPhoto has a database of place names, too, so you don't just have to navigate to the map. You can, for instance, type "Yosemite", and it'll zoom in

9:15 PT - DM: Those would be enough, says Phil, but they've also added support for Facebook & Flickr. If you have Facebook set up, click the Facebook button and it sends the photo to Facebook. And if someone assigns a name to a person in your photo, the name gets synced back down to Facebook. And you can upload to Flickr with your geotags, etc.

9:17 PT - DM: There's a new panel for slideshows. Just click an Event, and it gives you built-in themes as options. He's playing a slideshow with Vince Guaraladi's "Linus & Lucy" in the background. They actually use the face detection to properly place the photos in your slideshow, so the faces are centered. The "shattered" theme is pretty cool looking. It's hard to describe, but it kind of pulls the photo apart and then reassembles the next one. You can save iPhoto slideshows directly to iTunes so it syncs to your iPhone and you have the same slideshow there. Nifty.

9:18 PT - JS: Intelligently dealing with photos in order to keep faces from getting misplaced in a slideshow is great, since that happens all the time when you generate random slideshows.

9:19 PT - DM: They've added more themes to printing and books. There's a "Travel Books" theme now which actually incorporates maps into your books, using the geotagging. Available in soft- and hardcover. And it's demo time!

9:20 PT - DM: He's showing us Faces. But where's Steve? No pictures of Steve? I kind of wonder how this Faces feature will work with pictures as bad as the ones that I take. Or where the faces aren't front-and-center. It's a cool idea, though.

9:21 PT - JS: So when you are looking at an image in iPhoto, there's an Add Name button you can click. Then it draws a box around the face (face detection in action) with a box below it that says "unknown face." You can click and add a name. Then it tries to find that face in other photos. In another photo, it might ask, "Is this [name]?" and you can say yes or no, teaching it what the faces are.

9:22 PT - DM: So the face detection pulls up all the other photos in your library that it thinks might be the person you've identified. If you drag over, you can confirm multiple photos. And as you identify more photos, iPhoto can do a better job of identifying the faces from your library (kind of like the way your spam filter improves).

9:23 PT - DM: iPhoto can also make a Smart Album that shows you all the picture of a particular group of people, like your family: drag multiple faces into the sidebar and it creates a smart album with pictures that contain at least one of those people.

9:24 PT - DM: On to places. We're going to look at the map and zoom in on some pictures taken in Aspen: it shows you all the photos taken at that location even over multiple events. If you're adding a location to events, it auto-suggests locations from its databases.

9:25 PT - DM: Wow. In one event taken with a geotagging-capable camera, it zooms into the city level and shows you the locations within the city where each photo was taken. You can hover over any of them and it shows you which photos were taken where. Phil clicks on the Eiffel Tower and it shows just the pictures taken on the tower.

9:27 PT - DM: There's a second view in Places, column view. Lists all the places you've taken photos: countries, cities, states, locations—looks a lot like the "browse" view in iTunes. That's Faces and Places in iPhoto '09.

9:27 PT - JS: Man, Apple is going to sell a lot of GPS-capable camera equipment.

9:28 PT - DM: That's just the first product. Now we're moving onto iMovie. Somewhat hesitant applause from the people who kind of preferred iMovie '06, I think. Not every feature made it in when they rewrote iMovie back in '08. They've added "depth and power."

9:29 PT - JS: iMovie '09: The Apology! In a nice way Phil admits that a lot of people were frustrated by the limitations of the last version.

9:29 PT - DM: A new precision editor, expanded timeline view for advanced users. Advanced drag & drop: it gives you the option to replace, insert, use audio only. New dynamic themes with titles, transitions, even credits. Animated travel maps: now you too can be Indiana Jones!

9:30 PT - JS: In terms of serious interface features mentioned during the keynote, the "precision editor" wins the prize. Dynamic themes and animated travel maps are fun but maybe window dressing. And automatic video stabilization! Nice one.

9:30 PT - DM: Automatic video stabilization to help take away the caffeine jitters. So let's take a look at the demo. And they've asked the engineer who recreated the movie to come up: Randy Ubillos, Chief Architect of Video Applications.

9:31 PT - JS: Randy was the guy who came up with the original software that became iMovie '08. Don't blame him, friends -- iMovie '08 is great for what it is. The fact that it replaced the old iMovie, that wasn't Randy's doing. He's a really smart guy, and it will be interesting to see just how much Apple has done in iMovie '09 to address the issues with iMovie '08 and make it a more suitable tool for people who need to do more advanced work.

9:32 PT - DM: He's skimming along to take dialog from one segment, then dropping it in the project; he gets the audio only part and it layers that in under the other videos. That kid's acting is worse than Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace, though.

9:33 PT - JS: The pop-up item that lets you select what you want to do with a clip -- insert it, just insert the audio, etc., is going to add a huge amount of power to iMovie. Really nice. Can't wait to get my hands on it. And I like iMovie '08. iMovie skeptics, feel free to remain skeptical. We'll report more when we get our hands on it.

9:33 PT - DM: The new "action" pop-up shows the precision editor. It shows all the different material that could be used for the edit; just a click lets you move the edit seamlessly. You can easily join two clips together and set the point at which you want to cut between them. If the audio isn't as smooth as the video, you can edit the audio separately from the video, extending audio from the first clip over audio from the second clip to cover the sound differences. That's nice.

9:35 PT - DM: There's a new Project Library that shows you all your film clips. Showing us a clip taken in a jeep in Africa. But iMovie does stabliziation; it figures out the motion by comparing frames to subsequent and previous frames. Okay, that's pretty darn impressive.

9:36 PT - JS: That is one of the most impressive demo tricks I have ever seen. (I imagine he's using a Mac Pro with a zillion cores to demo the image-stabilization feature, but it's still very cool.)

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