Jason Snell – Welcome from the second row of the Moscone West keynote. I’m Jason Snell, and I’ll be providing you with “color commentary” and instant analysis during our live coverage. Right now we’re listening to Green Day and waiting for Steve Jobs to come on stage.
9:03 PT: Dan Moren – The crowd continues to filter in while a glowing Apple logo (reminiscent of last year’s “The first 30 years are only the beginning”) hangs over the stage.
9:04 PT: DM – From Green Day to hip-hop. Evidence, if nothing else, of Steve Jobs’s varied musical tastes.
J.S. – Let’s hope this event begins soon so that Dan and I don’t have to start analyzing each song that plays on the PA system. To be fair, I don’t think this is all coming from Steve Jobs’s iPod. Or perhaps Jobs has even broader tastes that we suspected. Bring on the keynote!
9:08 PT: DM – Word is that Steve Jobs is actually DJing behind the scenes. Okay, that’s completely false and unfounded.
9:13 PT: DM – The lights are coming down as Feist’s 1234 comes to a close, so it seems like we’re getting close.
9:14 PT: DM – Steve Jobs takes the stage! Woo hoo. “We’ve got some great stuff for you. There’s clearly something in the air today.” But first! A 2007 retrospective. “An extraordinary year for Apple.” New iMac, iPods, iPhone, Leopard, etc. Steve is going on to thank the customers for an extraordinary 2007. “Thank you” on the slide screen.
9:15 PT: DM – Jobs says there are four things to talk about today. The first one: Leopard. Apple delivered more than 5 million copies in the first three months. The most successful release of Mac OS X ever. Almost 20 percent of the installed base is upgraded to Leopard (a nifty wood theme on Keynote pie chart). We get quotes from Walt Mossberg, David Pogue, Ed Baig, (Bet the fourth one is Steven Levy!). Ooh, a surprise: it’s actually Ed Mendelson from PC Magazine (that gets a laugh).
9:17 PT: DM – Leopard’s been well received by developers. Microsoft is now shipping Office 2008. It’s the last big app to go native on Intel. Whoops, first Jobs glitch: he said “Tiger” when he meant “Leopard.”
9:18 PT: DM – Jobs talks about Time Machine: You wish you didn’t need that wire for connecting your Time Machine drive. And today we’ve got one— Time Capsule, a backup appliance. It’s a full AirPort Extreme base station and a hard drive. 802.11n networking and a server grade hard drive. All the ports of an APE. So now you can backup your notebook, or all the Macs in your house, wirelessly to one Time Capsule. “Really wonderful.” It’s going to sell in two versions: 500GB drive (whoops, he said “megabyte”) and one with 1TB. 500GB model goes for $299 and 1TB goes for $499. “Very aggressive prices. We want people backing up their content.” It’s going to ship in February, the “perfect companion product to Time Machine.” And now we’re going to see the Time Machine ad.
• Read more about Time Capsule.
J.S. – Interesting. When Apple came out with Time Machine we all figured that it would be a huge opportunity for the makers of hard drives. Turns out Apple wants a piece of the pie, too. Enter Time Capsule, which combines a hard drive with an AirPort Base Station.
9:20 PT: DM – If you haven’t seen the ad, it has many Justin Longs talking about Time Machine. Kind of creepy.
9:21 PT: DM – Number two is, unsurprisingly about the iPhone. “Got some great news for you.” Exactly the 200th day since the iPhone went on sale. Apple sold 4 million iPhones to date (which undershoots rumored sales of about 5 million). Jobs says thats 20,000 iPhones every day on average. “What does this mean in terms of the overall market?” And here comes a Keynote graph, with data from the third quarter ending in Septemeber 2007. RIM has 39 percent market share; iPhone with 19.5% market share. Third place is Palm with 9.8 percent; Motorola with 7.4 percent; Nokia with 1.3 percent; and other with 21.2 percent. The iPhone has almost 20 percent of the US smartphone market in its first 90 days of shipping. Equal the next three highest ranked in first 90 days of shipping. December quarter numbers should be “even better.”
J.S. – We’ve heard similar numbers to this before, but it shows you that Apple is very confident about how well the iPhone’s doing. When the iPhone was originally released, Apple’s goals for the iPhone were considered pretty ambitious, but it seems like it’s on track to reach those goals. It will be interesting to see how iPhone purchases go over time—was that initial release a big bump, or are iPhone sales accelerating?
9:23 PT: DM – But everybody’s really excited for the Software Development Kit. Still coming in late February. “But we wanted to give everyone something today too.” Great new features: Maps with location (I think someone may have yelled “bingo!”); Webclips; customized home screens; SMS multiple people at once; videos now support chapters, subtitles, languages; music now supports lyrics.
9:24 PT: DM – It’s demo time (like Miller time, but less fun). We’ll take a look at Maps first. Apple has simplified the Maps interface with just Search and Directions buttons at the bottom. The view button the bottom right “peels up” the map and gives you the option with the Map, Satellite, Hybrid, and List views. Pressing the button in the bottom left locates you. Wow, accuracy is surprisingly good. Showing Moscone West. Current Location can be used as the start. Jobs types in “Apple” for the End direction, and the iPhone shows the route back to Apple. A mere 47 miles. Now you can edit the directions too. Jobs shows the directions to the Apple Store. You can also drop a pin anywhere you want and move it around. You can add it to your bookmarks, move the pin, etc. Developed in conjunction with Google. “We love working with those guys.”
J.S. – I defy anyone to tell me that the killer application of the iPhone isn’t Maps. It is consistently the feature that I hear other people raving about, and in demoing it for people I see their eyes light up — and somewhere, a cash register chings because Apple’s just made another iPhone sale. So upgrading Maps makes a whole lot of sense.
9:27 PT: DM – We’re moving on to a demo of SMSing multiple people. Who does Steve Jobs message? Phil, Scott Forstall, Tim Cook, and Tony Fadell. Just to say “hi.” The SMS client keeps track of the conversations, so you can resend to those people later.
9:28 PT: DM – Webclips. We go into Safari and visit Google to take a look. There’s a “plus” button at the bottom toolbar, you can now “Add to Home Screen” along with an icon, and the icon now appears on the home screen, just like an application. Webclips can even remember where you’ve zoomed and panned too. Steve likes to read the technology section of the front page of the New York Times. He adds that part to the Home Screen and renames it “NYT” and there’s the New York Times.
9:30 PT: DM – Now you can customize home screen and the icons begin to jiggle like they’ve been drinking espressos all morning. You can slide over to one side of the screen and get a new “page.” Push “home” and you’re done. He’s showing off the Bank of America site, which we discussed on iPhone Central just this past week. (Somewhere in the back of the auditorium is a crying baby, but they’re drowned out by thunderous applause.)
9:32 PT: DM – We’re recapping the features: home screen reorganization, new buttons for chapter navigation, using multiple language tracks and subtitles (interesting, since as far as I know, the content in the iTunes Store doesn’t support that…yet). All of this is available as a free software update for every iPhone user. “The iPhone is not standing still.”
J.S. – So, people with hacked iPhones… is this enough to make you abandon your hacked version and jump to the official release? This is the substantial iPhone software release we’ve been waiting for.
• Read more about the iPhone software update.
9:34 PT: DM – What about the iPod touch? They’ve got the same software. They’ve decided to add five apps to the iPod touch. Mail, Maps, Stocks, Notes, and Weather. Congrats, iPod touch users: you now own an iPhone without the cell phone…for reals. Maps has locations, but only using the Wi-Fi locations. Webclips, home screen, all the same stuff we just saw on the iPhone are on the iPod touch. Building in to every iPod touch. $20 upgrade for existing users (there’s no applause for that, kind of a murmur of discontent). Upgradeable through iTunes. That was the second thing to talk about.
J.S. – You know, when the iPod touch came out there was some speculation that the missing features would be available one day as a for-pay add-on. And that’s what we’ve gotten. $20 for Mail, Stocks, Notes, Weather, and Maps. That sounds like a pretty decent deal to me, though if I got my iPod touch in my stocking for Christmas I’d be a little bummed out. But still, getting Mail and notes on the iPod touch is a big step forward.
9:37 PT: DM – Never offered rentals for music because people want to own their movies. Rentals is “a great way to look at movies.” Here’s a shot of the movie rental sections. Studios participating: Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, New Line, Lions Gate, “and by the way, these six too.” And there’s all the majors: Fox, WB, Disney, Paramount, Universal, and Sony. Snap! That’s quite a coup. All supporting rentals (but are they supporting sales as well?) Showing off the blockbuster films. Ratatouille “that’s a particular favorite of mine.” Great library titles as well. Jobs is highlighting Away from Her as an example of a film that might have been missed.
J.S. – With these iTunes announcements that’s always the biggest issue: which entertainment companies are participating? Apple’s relationships with the movie studios and TV networks have been fraught with difficulty lately, so it’s a pretty huge deal that all the majors are participating in this deal. It will be interesting to compare this system to some of the other set-top box deals out there. Of course, none of them let you move the movie onto your iPod or iPhone.
• Read more about iTunes movie rentals.
9:39 PT: DM – What’s the deal? Here’s the deal. Launch with over 1000 films by the end of February. 30 days after DVD release (that, I guarantee, was the barganing chip with the studios). Watch them anywhere: Macs, PCs, iPods and iPhone. You can watch in less than 30 seconds once rented (if you have a modern connection). 30 days to start watching it, and after you start, you have 24 hours to finish watching it. You can actually transfer to another device in the middle of watching, transfer it to your iPod before the flight (that’s going to be pretty killer for users). Renting a library title costs $2.99, new release is $3.99. Pretty reasonable: on par with the kind of stuff you’ll see from traditional rentals.
9:41 PT: DM – Here’s a demo. It keeps track of movies that you’ve rented in a new item in your library, tells you how much time remaining. Stop the movie, go to your iPod and it gives you a list of movies you can move. “It’s that simple.” Rentals launch today; a free software update for iTunes, iPods, and iPhones. In the US starting today, International later this year. “We’re dying to get this International as well.”
9:42 PT: DM – Can watch on Macs, PCs, iPods, and iPhones. But what about the flatscreen TV? “All of us have tried.” Highlighting all the competition who’ve tried to get movies from Internet onto TV. “We’ve all missed. No one has succeeded yet.” Apple tried with Apple TV, which was designed to be an accessory for iTunes and TV. “Not what people wanted.” People want “Movies, Movies, Movies.” So we’re back with Apple TV Take 2. Syncs with your computer, but no computer is required. You can rent movies directly on your widescreen TV and you can rent them in DVD quality or in HD with Dolby 5.1 (that right there is killer). “The quality is unbelievable.” (I wonder what resolution the HD is). You can also get audio and video podcasts on your widescreen TV. Photos can be retrieved from your computer, or Flickr and .Mac. And, of course, YouTube. There’s over 50 million videos that you can now watch from YouTube. And you can buy TV shows and music on the widescreen TV, and it’ll automatically sync them back to your computer if you want. Even better than the original Apple TV.
9:45 PT: DM – All of this stuff on the new Apple TV. Here’s the skinny on movies: in HD the rentals are a dollar more; $3.99 for library titles, $4.99 for new releases. Over 100 titles in HD today, but looking to add more quickly. Apple TV 2 also has an entirely new user interface, so we’ll see the new demo.
• Read more on the Apple TV update.
J.S. – Huge thing for Apple TV. Jobs cops to its failure as an iTunes-sync devices, and admits that what people want is a free-standing box that you can control from the couch without walking over to your computer to set things up to sync. And HD and Dolby Digital Sound is a must in a home theater situation, so that’s huge.
9:46 PT: DM – It’s pretty different from the original. One menu pops up in the center. The selector is a glassy blue bar. Main movie rentals screen shows genres at the top (Family Gems, Star Trek), followed by top rentals and just added. Steve cues up Blades of Glory. There’s a list of “also rented” at the bottom. Goes over Jackass (“ooh, not that one.”). Can get a preview for free. Let’s take a look. “You get the idea.” To rent, hit one button, confirm, and it adds it to your queue, with a note that “you’re about to rent this movie in Apple TV format.” It tells you when it’s ready to play and you can hit play (took about 10-20 seconds). He hits play, and there we go.
9:52 PT: DM – TV shows. $1.99 per episode. They’ll “ottomatically” sync back to your PC or Mac (noting that he doesn’t mention that TV shows are HD). Music. Can buy any of the songs on your TV. Here’s a Linkin Park music video (and we’re back to Steve’s eclectic taste in media). Whole iTunes catalog at your fingertips. Taking a look at an HD podcast. Extreme skiing. Streaming HD content live off the server. Skipping around (the rewind/fast forward interface looks kind of mixed in how much precision). People cheering as some skiier throws himself off the mountain with a parachute. Going to photos now (Steve: “don’t know if we can top that one”). View photo albums on your computer or stream stuff off .Mac server. Photos look pretty good, but their demo pics always do. “Isn’t this incredible?”
9:56 PT: DM – Playing a .Mac movie, footage taken by chief architect of iMovie (the guy who created iMovie 08, I believe). Recipient has no computer involved: all done from your couch on your TV. We’ll go to Flickr: live, right from their servers. And you can go to people’s contacts. Annnnd… whoopsy, looks like we’ve got a black screen on the Flickr streaming. Someone’s getting in trouble for that one. “I’m afraid Flickr’s not serving up the photos on that one.” So that seems to wrap up the Apple TV 2 features. We’re recapping. “Movies. Boom.”
9:59 PT: DM – “Photos from .Mac and, when they’re serving up photos, Flickr.” This is where we’re at with Apple TV. “I think it’s a revolution. Certainly, we’ve made some progress since our first try.” Apple TV 2 is a free software upgrade, that’s a smart idea. So how much is the price for version 2? “We want to make Apple TV even more accessible.” New price is $229. Shipping in just two weeks.
10:01 PT: DM – Rentals on computers, iPods, iPhone, and on your widescreen TV. “I think we’ve got it all together.” The first studio to sign up for rentals was 20th Century Fox (as the rumors suggested). And coming on stage is Jim Gianopulos, chairman & CEO of 20th Century Fox (way to diversify from Disney).
10:02 PT: DM – Gianopulos: “I’m backstage listening to Steve talk, and I’m getting all excited, then I realize I already knew about it. You don’t get to talk about content much without talking about business models. But when you really get down to it, all of that complexity distills into two things: make great movies, give it to people in as many ways as you possibly can. People want a wide variety of choice, easy access, convenient, control when/where/how they watch and they want to take it with them. Choice, access, convenience, portability. “Basic enough, even a studio guy can understand it.” Give em all the data and I think we have a slide with the result: Homer Simpson iPod silhouette with earbuds plugged into a donut. “When Steve came to us with this idea, it was a no-brainer. It’s just the most exciting, coolest thing. And there was video on demand before. But… there was music, then there was the iPod. There was a phone, then there was the iPhone. Apple does things in intuitive, innovative, ways. This will be transformative of the rental model and we’re very excited about it.” Also been talking to Steve about DVDs (I’m guessing this is about including encoded movies on the DVDs). “Sounds like next generation will be Blu-Ray.” (That gets a round of applause).
10:06 PT: DM – Gianopulos has a disc of the Family Guy: Blue Harvest movie which contains a digital copy that you can move to your iPod “and it’s free.” (I wonder how long it’ll take the other studios to follow on that course). And he’s done. Nice that Steve gave him one piece of news to announce. How very un-Stevelike.
10:08 PT: DM – What is the MacBook Air? In a sentence: “it’s the world’s thinnest notebook.” What does that mean? They went and looked at most of the thinnest notebooks: Sony TZ series, for example. Looked at all of them and tried to distill the best of all of them: ~3 lbs, 0.8-1.2” thin, “compromised on display” with 11” or 12” display, and compromised on keyboard with a miniature keyboard, and they run 1.2 GHz Core 2 Duo. Looked at this and tried to figure what they liked. Weight’s a good target, but too much compromising on thickness and less than fullsize display and keyboard, and want more performance.
• Read about the MacBook Air.
10:10 PT: DM – Here’s the thinness first. 1.20” down to 0.8” in a wedge shape. Holy cow, the MacBook air runs from 0.76” to 0.16” (that’s not a typo). The thickest part of the MacBook Air is thiner than the thinnest part of the TZ series. So thin it fits in a manila envelope. Here’s what it looks like. And, typical Steve, he’s got it in an envelope on the stage (all those case manufacturers are going to be disappointed).
10:15 PT: DM – How did we fit a Mac in here? “I’m still stumped.” There’s a battery, hard disk, electronics. Hard drive is a 1.8” drive: 80GB is standard, option of a 64GB solid-state disk. “Pricey, but fast.” The real magic is in the electronics. Complete Mac on a board: teeny-tiny. It’s about the length of a pencil. “Amazing feat of engineering. And we didn’t compromise on performance.” Core 2 Duo chip on the board at 1.6GHz standard with an option to go to 1.8GHz (wonder what the heat situation is like). They asked Intel to consider something: Apple wanted the chip, but needed the same die on a smaller package. So Intel engineered the same chip but made it 60% smaller. “I want to say thank you to Intel.” And we’re going to get a visit from Paul Otellini (sans bunny suit).
J.S. – It’s interesting to see where Apple has chosen to compromise on features, and where to refuse to compromise, with the MacBook air. Clearly they’re going to compromise a tad on weight, but they’ve managed to get a decent-sized screen (not as large as the one in the MacBooks, but close). The processors are more poky than in the MacBooks, but not horribly, and it’s at least in the ballpark.
10:18 PT: DM – Otellini: “About a year ago you challenged us to get the world’s best microprocessor into this machine. When we started, we didn’t think it was possible.” It’s about the width of a dime, as thick as a nickel, 400 million power-efficient transistors. “At the end of the day, we did what we do best together and that’s innovate.” And he gives Steve the chip as a souvenir (don’t lose it, Steve!). Steve: “This is awesome technology.”
10:20 PT: DM – What do we do with optical drive? Movies, install software, backups, burn music CDs. Here’s why we don’t need to do that: wirelessly rental movies, most of us have iPods instead of CDs, for backups Time Machine and Time Capsule to wirelessly backup. So what about installing software? Going to do that wirelessly too. New feature built into MacBook Air OS called Remote Disk, under Devices. It’ll show you all the Macs and PCs in the area with special software (Macs or Windows machines). You can ask to borrow a machine’s optical drive. Once they’ve accepted, you can see what they’re disc is. A PC can even read a Mac disc with this special software. Click on it, and it’s just like having a local optical drive. “That’s how we’re going to install stuff. Wirelessly.” Don’t think users will miss optical drive.
10:23 PT: DM – They didn’t want to compromise on battery life. With wireless turned on, they still eked out 5 hours of battery life. Let’s run down the specs: 3 lbs., 0.16”-.76” thickness, 13.3” fullsize display, fullsize keyboard (backlit), multi-touch gestures, iSight camera (“for horsing around with Photo Booth”), 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of memory, 80GB hard drive (64GB SSD optional), 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and Magsafe connector. So it’s time for the price point: $1799 (congratulations Mr. Snell, that was your highball figure). Shipping them in two weeks, pre-orders available today. Here’s a shot of the shipping box: it’s black and spiffy.
J.S. – The $1,799 price is interesting. You’re going to end up paying quite a bit for the size, because it’s got a procesor that’s a bit slower than the MacBook, and of course the drive is smaller. So really, you’ll be paying $700 for the MacBook air’s super small size. I’m not saying people won’t pay it — I’m sure they will. Those of us obsessed with small laptops will definitely pay for it. But it’s a bit closer to the price of the MacBook Pro than I would have hoped.
10:25 PT: DM – Here’s the MacBook Air ad. An envelope comes in, close-up on a hand opening it and pulling out the Air and putting it down on top of the envelope. Rotates towards us, then closes with the words “MacBook Air” followed by the Apple logo. Simple, to the point.
10:28 PT: DM – Is there a one more thing? First, a look back. It’s just the first two weeks of 2008: we’re going to review the products and innovations we’ve announced so far. Mac Pro, Time Capsule, iPhone software update and iPod touch update, iTunes Movie Rentals, and a completely reinvented Apple TV to order movies right on TV (standard or high def), plus the MacBook Air. All of this in the first two weeks, and we’ve got fifty more weeks to go.
10:29 PT: DM – “Thank you so much for coming.” But wait, we’ve got a “special treat” today. Someone to bridge the gap between Hollywood and music. The best person in the world to do that was gracious enough to come and perform. And that’s Randy Newman. Won an Academy Award for Best Original Songs from Pixar’s “Monsters Inc.”, and nominated seventeen times. He’s won five Grammy Awards with thirteen nominations. He’s done scores for several Pixar films. And here he comes.
10:31 PT: DM – They’re rolling him out on the piano. “I was in Europe about a year ago, and I noticed that they don’t like us very much. I wanted to do something to explicate what America is. Just sum it up in about 2 minutes and 20 seconds.”
10:33 PT: DM – This is probably the most surreal thing I’ve ever seen performed, certainly at a Steve Jobs keynote. Beats the heck out of John Mayer.
J.S. – I think it’s exciting that we’ve learned that Randy Newman watches CNBC while he works, because it has no music and he enjoys the numbers, especially because his uncles were compulsive gamblers.
10:41 PT: DM – “So, we can’t wait for you to get your hands on these new products. They’re out there in the booth. Thank you so much for coming, and we look forward to a very innovative 2008.” And Steve Jobs leaves the stage to the sounds of U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love).” Hey, Steve, I’ve got that on my iPod too.
[the event has ended]