New iPhone, but what else?
I'm sat here in the Moscone Center, set to liveblog Steve Jobs' keynote speech at Apple's WWDC show. The Wi-Fi and AT&T's 3G network are taking a battering, so if there are long pauses, that's why. Wish me luck...
We're about to kick off, with Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World on the PA. Read on!
Steve Jobs takes the stage, to a standing ovation from the developers in the audience - this is the first time most of them have seen Apple's CEO in public since his illness, remember. "It's great to be here," he says.
Stats to start: 5,200 attendees at WWDC from 57 countries, and the event sold out in eight days.
He moves on to some updates. "iPad is really changing the way we're experiencing the web, things like email, photos, maps, video... you name it. It is a whole new way to interact with the internet, with apps, with the content media, and it's going really well. And it IS magical..."
No update on sales figures - the official stat is still two million iPads sold in 10 countries, which kicks into a montage of TV news coverage of the device's international launch.
"There are now 8,500 native iPad apps in the App Store," says Jobs. "And these 8,500 native apps have been downloaded over 35 million times" - that's a rate of 17 apps per iPad. "We're really thrilled with that," says Jobs.
He picks out news-reader Pulse, Gowalla, WebMD, eBay, Iron Man, Avatar, Fieldrunners a DJ app, and the Financial Times as examples. And he gives a big plug to The Elements, the periodic table app. Apparently the developer earned more in sales of the iPad app on its first day than five years of Google ads on the periodictable.com site that spawned it.
Who had 10.08am for the first dig at Google?
Now iBooks. "In the first 65 days, users have downloaded over five million books - about two and a half books per iPad, which is terrific," says Jobs. He says that the five biggest publishers on iBooks say that the app is accounting for 22% of all e-books they sell.
"As we ship more iPads that number's just gonna keep going up, and up and up," says Jobs. And iBooks is getting an update today too.
Readers will now be able to make notes in iBooks, as well as the existing highlights feature. Bookmarks will now be listed in the table of contents of every e-book.
But also... "One of the biggest requests we've got on the iPad is the ability to view and read PDFs," says Jobs. So that's now built into iBooks.
Now to the App Store. "Let me make one thing clear: we support two platforms," says Jobs. HTML5 is the first, and he stresses its "fully open, uncontrolled" nature. "We are behind this 100%, and it's fully open," he adds. "Anyone can write HTML5 apps and have them on the iPad, the iPhone, the iPad touch and of course the Mac."
And the second platform is the App Store, with over 225,000 apps - that may be an update in terms of app numbers.
"You've read a lot about our process of approving apps," says Jobs, saying that 15,000 apps are being submitted every week - new apps and updates. That's in 30 languages. "95% of all the apps we get submitted are approved within seven days," he says.
What about the other 5%? He gives the three top reason. The top one: the app doesn't function as advertised, so it gets rejected. Second: use of private APIs. "We're very clear on this - developers can't use private APIs," he says, claiming the reason is that apps may break when the OS is updated.
Third? "They crash," he says. "If you were in our shoes, you would be rejecting these apps for the same three reasons."
Jobs now moves to three new entertainment apps. First up: Netflix. It already has an iPad app, but it's coming to iPhone too. CEO Reed Hastings takes the stage to explain more.
The iPad app has been a "tremendous success" he says - one of Netflix's fastest growing platforms. And he says it's one of the top ten most downloaded apps in the App Store for iPad.
"I'm happy to announce today, Netflix application for the iPhone, coming this summer for free," says Hastings, before introducing a colleague to show the app off.
It'll offer the same service as the iPad version, letting people watch films on their TV, stop, and then resume watching it on their iPhone.
Next up is Zynga - CEO Mark Pincus. They're bringing Farmville to the iPhone. Its social game that has 35 million people playing it a day on Facebook and its own site.
"In the year since we launched Farmville it's grown to over 70 million monthly active users," says Pincus. And over to a demo - the iPhone version of Farmville will be fully synced up with the Facebook version - people who've built their farms online will have them on the iPhone too.
The game will use in-app purchases to buy cash and coins, which can be used in-game to buy virtual items. A comedy touch - the game will include a snow leopard pet that'll only be available on the iPhone.
"For those of you who don't regularly farm, well, you should!" says Pincus. We're now watching tractors.
Farmville for iPhone will include social features too, allowing people to visit their friends' farms. And it will also support gifts to and from friends. The game will be out by the end of June.
And third: Guitar Hero, with Activision's Karthik Bala taking the stage to talk about it. It's a brand new Guitar Hero game for iPhone and iPod touch.
The game will come with tracks from Queen, the Rolling Stones, Vampire Weekend and Rise Against. It will support downloadable content too, with an in-game store to get new tunes.
(It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, Activision has learned from Tap Tap Revenge's success on iPhone). Here's something interesting: the game is out today, but it'll cost $2.99. An intriguing price point.
So, back to Jobs. More stats: "Just last week we crossed five billion downloads," he says of the App Store. But he says the next one is his favourite stat of the show: "How much have we paid developers? Just a few days ago, we crossed a billion dollars."
"That's what makes the App Store the most vibrant development community on the planet," he continues.
And next? iPhone. He talks about the market share studies that have been issued recently, and highlights Nielsen's just-released report on the smartphone market in the US, which had RIM at 35%, followed by iPhone with 28%, then Windows Mobile with 19%, Android with 9%, and others at 9%.
"What Nielsen said was in Q1 in 2010, the iPhone's market share was over three times that of Android," says Jobs. Oof. What he doesn't say is that both grew their market share by two percentage points.
Meanwhile, he also points to research on US mobile browser usage, showing iPhone out in front with 58.2%.
Okay, we're heading to the big reveal now. "In 2010, we're going to take the biggest leap since the original iPhone," says Jobs. "iPhone 4."
There'll be more than 100 new features, but Jobs is going to focus on eight.
"First, an all-new design. Stop me if you've already seen this..." A big laugh. "Well, you ain't seen it!"
"It's closest kin is like a beautiful old Leica camera," says Jobs. "It's gorgeous, and it's really thin... It is just 9.3mm thick, that is 24% thinner than the iPhone 3GS.
There IS a front-facing camera, and it'll use a micro SIM like the 3G iPad. The back camera has an LED flash, and there are two microphones for noise cancellation.
Also, there are three slits in the iPhone 4's stainless steel band, because that band is used as part of its antenna system. "It's got these integrated antennas right in the structure of the phone before. It's never been done before, and it's really cool engineering," says Jobs.
Apple is also pitching iPhone 4 as the thinnest smartphone ever, too. Which is a challenge to rivals.
Second big feature for iPhone 4 is called 'Retina Display', which Jobs says crams in four times as many pixels into the screen. 326 pixels per inch, in fact. "There has never been a display like this on a phone - people haven't even dreamed of a display like this on a phone," he says.
Oh, and he also claims that 300 pixels per inch is the limit of the human retina to differentiate the pixels. "All of a sudden, things start to look like continous curves. Text looks like you've seen it in a fine printed book, unlike anything you've ever seen in an electronic display any more."
"Once you use a retina display, you can't go back," he adds, saying it'll boost images and video just as much as text.
It's funny, as recently as Mobile World Congress, I was writing about how iPhone has moved the industry debate away from handset specs, and towards usability and the apps ecosystem. Having nailed the latter two, it seems iPhone 4's big thing will be to try to outdo its rivals on the first metric too. Interesting.
Jobs shows a demo of an iPhone 3GS next to an iPhone 4, and directs people's attentions to the sharpness of the icons. And then shows the New York Times website on the two devices side by side.
It's a bit slow to load. "You know, you could help me out if you're on Wi-Fi...." - a big laugh. "I don't know what's wrong with our networks!" he says.
And now he switches to 3G, and the connection drops. Another big laugh. Wow. This is a bit of a blue-screen-of-death moment. He switches to photos instead, and the difference in sharpness is notable.
"Got any suggestions?" he asks. "VERIZON!" someone shouts from the audience, getting another big laugh.
So, back to the specs. The iPhone 4 will have an 800:1 contrast ratio, and uses IPS technology rather than OLED. It's got 78% of the pixels on an iPad too.
What about the impact on developers? He says that developers' existing apps will run automatically, with the iPhone OS automatically rendering text and controls in the higher resolution.
"But if you do a little bit of work, and put in higher resolution artwork, then they will look stunning," says Jobs. Fragmentation? It'll be interesting to see developer reactions, particularly on the gaming side of things.
The third big feature for the iPhone 4 - it uses the same A4 chip as the iPad - this won't come as a surprise if you've been reading the recent teardowns of the device that have appeared on blogs.
The battery is bigger too. "We have up to 40% more talktime on 3G - from five hours to seven hours - six hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of music, and 300 hours of standby," says Jobs.
The handset will have up to 32GB of storage, and wil support quad-band HSDPA / HSUPA - 7.2Mbps down and 5.8Mbps up (in theory). It'll also support faster 802.11n Wi-Fi.
The fourth big feature: Apple is adding a gyroscope to the device. With the accelerometer and compass, that means six-axis motion sensing, with new CoreMotion APIs. "It's perfect for gaming," says Jobs, introducing another demo.
It's an in-house developed app that looks a bit like Jenga - a wooden object made up of blocks. And he shows how the gyro offers much more precise movement. Oh, it is Jenga, with Jobs tapping the screen to pop blocks out. It's really impressive.
So,the iPhone 4 will have the new gyroscope, along with the accelerometer, compass, proximity sensor and ambient light sensor. "These phones are getting more and more intelligent," says Jobs.
And feature five: a whole new camera system. He says that while megapixels are nice, "what cellphone camers are about is capturing photons... and low light photography," he says.
The iPhone 4 will have a five-megapixel camera, but also uses a 'backside illuminated sensor', and keeps the pixels the same size. "They don't capture less photons per pixel, and we have more pixels," he says. Photography buffs will understand this better than me.
In short though: "The pictures we're taking with this are pretty remarkable," says Jobs, showing some pics blown up on the big screen behind him.
"But that's not all. Because the camera also records HD video," he adds. 720p at 30 frames per second, to be specific. It will also support tap-to-focus video, and users can use the LED flash to illuminate their video clips.
And there's more: iMovie for iPhone. Jobs introduces Apple staffer Randy Ubillos, the company's chief architect of video applications, to explain it.
The app looks like it makes good use of the touchscreen, with pinch controls to manipulate and clip video footage. There are transitions and titles too. Geolocation is built in too - so the place you shot a video can automatically be appended to its title.
The app includes five different themes, each with their own music. Videos can be exported at three different sizes, up to 720p HD. Ubillos shows a video on the big screen that he says was edited entirely on the phone.
iMovie will cost $4.99 as a downloadable app from the App Store - "If we approve it!" jokes Jobs.
Oh. Jobs says that Apple is going to turn off the room's Wi-Fi now, so he can give more demos. He's ordering everyone to put their Mi-Fis and laptops on the ground, including bloggers and journalists. People around me are fuming! I'm on 3G, luckily.
So, the sixth big feature: iPhone OS 4. Except it's been rebranded as iOS 4. It also has a new metal-effect logo. "iOS 4 is our most ambitious new release to date," says Jobs. "It has over 1,500 new APIS... and there's over 100 new user features as well, the biggest being multi-tasking."
He admits that Apple wasn't first with multi-tasking, but claims that "if you don't do it right, you're gonna burn battery life". This was announced at the iPhone OS 4 launch of course, along with new folders functionality and other features.
So, the demo. Jobs launches music app Pandora and starts playing a Jack Johnson track, then switches to Mail, and clicks on a link to fire up Safari. It works this time and gets a big clap.
Again, this isn't new, but the bulk of the audience are developers who weren't at the iOS 4 press launch earlier this year, so it's a recap for their benefit. So he demos the new folders feature too, showing how people can group their apps from different categories, like Sports.
Here's some news: Microsoft's Bing is being added as a search engine choice in iOS 4, but Jobs stresses that "Google will remain the default - you've just got one more choice... Microsoft's done a really nice job on this."
Today will see the Golden Master Candidate of iOS 4 made available to developers, and will be out "soon" - no date.
Now Jobs says that "this month, we will sell our 100 millionth iOS device. That's iPhones, iPod touches and iPads. 100 million. There is definitely a market for your applications. No one even comes close to this."
We're back to the big features of iPhone 4 - the seventh is iBooks. Apple is bringing it to the iPhone from the iPad. It'll look, feel and work the same as its bigger brother, including the new PDF feature. And iBooks will be on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, so Jobs outlines some of the ways these versions will work together.
"You can download the same book to all your devices at no extra charge," he says. "Buy a book on your iPad, download it to your iPhone!.. You only have to buy it once. And iBooks will automatically and wirelessly and for no charge sync your current place, all your bookmarks and all your notes across all devices."
Kindle-esque, you could say.
Now Jobs says that Apple has more than 150 million accounts - with credit cards - attached to its three stores (iTunes, App Store, iBooks Store). And collectively, ` the stores have had more than 16 billion downloads.
So the eighth feature - a big surprise? Oh, no. iAds. "Why are we doing iAds? We're doing it for one simple reason - to help our developers earn money so they can continue to create free and low-cost apps for users," says Jobs.
He shows the Wall Street Journal's iPhone app, with iAd banners. "We're trying to combine the emotion of video with the interactivity of the web. This is what advertisers have been after in the digital advertising medium."
And Jobs reiterates the fact that iAds don't take users out of an app. "It's built right into iOS 4: you can build iAds into your app in an afternoon. Simply tell us where you want to place them."
Apple has been selling iAds for eight weeks. So who's signed up? Nissan. Citi. Unilever. AT&T. Chanel. GE. Liberty Mutual. State Farm Insurance. Geico. Campbell's Soup. Sears. JCPenney. Target. Best Buy. DirecTV. TBS. Disney.
Jobs shows a Nissan iAd, which will be used to advertise its new fully-electric car, although he says it's a work-in-progress. "They were a little hesitant to let me show you, but I wanted to show you, so I convinced them," he says. More laughter.
The ad includes a 15-second video clip, and then lets people reserve a test drive.
The ad includes a 15-second video clip, and then lets people reserve a test drive. There are also other interactive features - a mini-app showing you how far you can drive on $1 in the new Nissan LEAF compared to other cars. "This is a pretty doggone compelling way to get their point across. And it's fun, which is what iAds are all about," he says.
iAds will be turned on on 1st July for all iOS 4 devices - which means iOS 4 will be available this month, presumably.
"Brands have committed over $60 million dollars for the second half of this year in the last eight weeks," says Jobs. He refers to a JP Morgan prediction that the US mobile display advertising market will be worth $250 million this year - meaning that iAds could take a 48% share of the 2H10 US mobile display advertising market.
"We've only been at this for eight weeks, and we're not stopping selling!" says Jobs, who encourages developers to sign up for the initiative.
That's the eight key features for iPhone 4. But there IS one more thing. Jobs calls Apple design guru Jony Ive, and it's a video call. "I grew up dreaming about video calls, and it's real now! says Jobs.
Jobs is making a running joke of the fact that people need to turn their Wi-Fi off in the WWDC audience - so presumably the video is being streamed over Wi-Fi.
"We call this FaceTime," says Jobs. "FaceTime video calling. And it's great. It's iPhone 4 to iPhone 4, anywhere there is Wi-Fi, and there is no setup required. You don't have to find a server, type in anything, you don't need a special code, a buddy list. Nothing. You just make a phone call."
You'll be able to switch between the front and rear cameras, and make the call in portrait or landscape mode. And Jobs promises "great" video and audio quality.
It'll be Wi-Fi only in 2010, and the company says it will ship tens of millions of FaceTime devices this year. He hints that over-the-air may have to wait for the operators to improve their networks.
"The key to this will be the quality, then. Rivals will justifiably point out that video-calls have been around since the earliest days of 3G on other devices, over the network. But Apple will be talking up the audio and video quality.
"We're gonna take it all the way," he says. "We're going to the standards bodies tomorrow, and we're gonna make FaceTime an open industry standard."
"That is the iPhone 4, and we think it's the biggest leap we've taken since the original iPhone," says Jobs. Price and availability? It'll come in two colours: black and white. And the price will be $199 for the 16GB model (with a contract) in the US, and $299 for the 32GB model.
"I'm thrilled to also announce that AT&T is gonna make an incredibly generous upgrade offer," says Jobs. "If your contract expires any time during 2010, you are immediately eligible for a new iPhone 4 at the same $199 / $299 prices if you top up your contract for two years."
The iPhone 3GS drops to $99, and the phones go on sale on 24 June int he US, France, Germany, the UK and Japan, with pre-orders starting next week. 18 more countries follow in July. 24 more in August, and 40 more in September - 88 countries by the end of September. "Our fastest rollout ever," says Jobs.
iOS 4 will be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G, as well as the latest iPod touch - and these upgrades will be free, and available on 21st June.
We're now getting a promo video going through the various new features again. I sense this may be on Apple's site / YouTube later today.
And back to Jobs, for the finale, and what he says is Apple's key USP now - the intersection between technology and the liberal arts - between hardware and apps/software.
"I am so proud of the teams that have made this product, it is extraordinary," he says, getting the various teams to stand up at the front of the room. "This is our new baby, I hope you love it as much as we do. Thank you very much."
And that's a wrap. Stand by for more analysis as the day goes on, and I buzz around WWDC getting reactions.