Live blog: Apple's iPhone OS event

Live blog: Apple's iPhone OS event

Summary: Live blogging from Apple's iPhone OS announcement at the company's main campus in Cupertino

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I'm here in Cupertino, in a town hall auditorium on Apple's main campus. The doors have just opened and people are still coming in and finding their seats.

Also see:

10:03 am: Steve Jobs takes the stage. Wants to share iPhone OS 4 today - but first a few updates. Jobs is talking about positive reviews for the iPad.

10:05 a.m.: On Day One, the company sold about 300,000 iPads. As of today, that number is now about 450,000. They're making them as fast as they can, he says. As for iBooks, users downloaded more than 250,000 iBooks on fist day. Through today, that's now 600,000. First day, more than 1 million iPad apps were downloaded. As of today, that has grown to 3.5 million apps downloaded.

10:07 a.m.: Here's an app store update. So far, we're at more than 4 billion apps downloaded and, as of today, there are 185,000 apps in the app store. Also, there are more than 3,500 iPad apps available. Steve takes a few minutes to share some screenshots of iPad apps and talk about great gaming and great video on the device.

10:10 a.m.: Now, let's get to the iPhone. Looking at market share, iPhone has a 64 percent mobile browser usage share in the U.S. To date, more than 50 million iPhones sold. Add iPod Touch devices, that's more than 85 million sold.

10:12 a.m.: The company is releasing today a developer preview with 1,500 new APIs, with access to calendar, in-app SMS, photo library, still and video camera data and full map overlays. Also, there are more than 100 full-users features. Users can create playlists on their phones. Users will be able to tap their video to focus. Home screen wallpaper can be changed. Bluetooth keyboards are now accessible and there's 5x digital zoom.

10:14 am: There are 7 "Tentpole" features, he said. The first is multitasking. (Applause). Jobs says they weren't first to this party but will be the best. Jobs says it's easy to implement multitasking to kill battery life and make the device become sluggish. Apple has figured out a way to implement it and reduce those sort of things. It's taken them longer to pull off, but they think they're doing it right. Here comes a demo.

10:18 a.m.: Click and double-click on the home button and users can see the icons of the apps that are open at the bottom of the screen. Jobs says users will notice the ease of how apps switch.

10:19 a.m.: Digging in deeper, we're now talking about multitasking services. Background audio is big. Pandora is pretty popular and changing the way people think about radio. Until now, if you left that app to go to another, the music stopped. And the iPhone's on-screen controls will control the Pandora service, as well. It took Pandora's developers one day to implement the "background audio" feature. An on-stage demo, Pandora Radio is running in the background while the user surfs Web, locks the device or even goes to iTunes to buy the Pandora track playing.

10:24 a.m.: Up next is Voice over IP and we're talking about the Skype app. Until now, if you left the app, the call ended or, if you weren't running the app, you couldn't receive calls. Now, even when you switch to another app, the call stays on. And when the device is locked and the app is not running in the foreground, Skype calls still come in.

10:30 a.m.: Next is background location. There are two classes of apps that want to use your location in the background, like TomTom. Again, if you left the app before, the GPS services stopped. That's no longer the case. The other class of apps is social networking apps like Loopt. GPS can be a power hog and for TomTom, that's OK - it's being used in the car and probably being charged. For others, though, it uses cell towers to provide that location - eliminating the power drain of an always-on GPS. In terms of privacy, the company has the power to control location services by apps. There's also some indicators to give users the knowledge to know when a service is tracking or requesting location services.

10:31 am: Up next is push notifications. The technology has been around for a while. But building on push notifications are local notifications. It doesn't require a server to push that notification to the device.  Next is task completion. There are some apps that take a while to do its thing. Flickr, for example, can now continue uploading pics in the background. And finally, there's fast-app switching, which allows apps to go into a quiet state and not use CPU power and then resume when the user comes back. Those are the seven services of multitasking.

10:35 am: The second tentpole is Folders. We go right into the demo, showing how to use touch control to drag one app onto another so it can instantly make a folder. That folder is also automatically named based on the category of the apps. It's a nice customization feature and will surely help users stay more organized.

10:37 am: A quick demo of how to customize wallpaper for the home screen, the lock screen or both. It's pretty easy and also pretty widespread on other devices - but Jobs has a way of making it look like innovative breakthrough technology from Apple.

10:40 am: The third tentpole is enhanced mail. First up is unified inbox, which also allows more than one Exchange account - a popular request. There's also fast inbox switching so users can hone in on one account. Users can now also organize their emails by thread. And attachments can now be opened with apps.

10:42 am: Tentpole No. 4 is iBooks and e-book reader for the iPhone OS, which means the iPad experience now comes to the iPhone and iPod Touch. There will also be wireless syncing to keep pages and bookmarks in place between devices.

10:44 am: Tentpole No. 5 is features for the enterprise. First is even better data protection with enhanced encryption. Now, we're talking Mobile Device Management so iPhones can also be managed at the enterprise level. Next is wireless app distribution. Now, companies can wirelessly distribute apps to an employee's device. Support for multiple exchange accounts. And SSL VPN support.

10:45 am: Next up is Tentpole No. 6 - Game Center. The company is enhancing with a social gaming experience where users can invite friends. There's also auto matchmaking, finding others at same levels who can play with you. There's also leaderboards (for bragging rights.)

10:48 am: The final tentpole is iAds, mobile advertising. Apple says this is their way of helping developers make some money with their apps. The company didn't really like the ads that developers were putting in their apps and they wanted to make it better. On the Web, search is king but that's not the case on mobile. On mobile, apps are the search tools - like using the Yelp app to find a place to go to dinner. Jobs says users spent 30 minutes per day in apps. If there was an ad every three minutes, that's 10 ads per device per day. Multiply that by the number of devices and you've got 1 Billion potential ad impressions per day. And don't forget how attractive this iPhone audience is. But Apple also wants to make ads better - by including interactivity and bringing "emotion" to the ads (via video), the way they do on TV. Also, the ads keep you in the app. In today's mobile world, a banner ad takes you out of your app and takes you to advertisers web page - a bad experience that keeps people from tapping it. Apple has found a way around that, to keep ads in the app. Apple will host and sell the ads and give developers a 60 percent share of the revenue. Here comes a demo. A Toy Story 3 banner ad at the bottom can take over the screen (done in HTML 5, by the way) and users can "close that screen" to return to the app. But, within the ad takeover page, there are some interactive features - games, video, audio, etc - that can be played within the ad. This is actually a pretty impressive demo - and the use of HTML5 is pretty nice.

11:01 am: Here comes the recap of the seven of the 100 user features and 1,500 developer APIs in iPhone 4. The developer preview is being released today. iPhone and iPod Touch users will see it this summer - for iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod Touch. For the older devices will run most things but not multitasking - because the hardware can't support it. iPhone OS 4 hits the iPad in the fall.

The press is invited to stay for a Q&A after a short break.

Q&A:

There was a question of the demand on data usage from multitasking and AT&T's ability to handle it. Jobs says he doesn't think the assumption is right - but we'll find out. That's his answer. What about streaming Pandora? He kind of dismisses that, saying that Pandora is not a big data hog; video is the killer. But if you're streaming a video, you're probably not doing other things.

Does wireless app distribution for the Enterprise lead to developers to avoid the app store? Jobs quickly says no. This is strictly for company-built apps for specific devices.

The international launch for iPad is still slated for the end of April. No changes to that schedule.

In terms of hosting ads, will there be an approval process like the app store. Jobs seems stumped and has to think about it. There will probably have to be some of this, just like TV networks do now, but Steve says he hopes there will be no instances where that happens.

Any change to the position on running Java or Flash on iPhone OS 4? No. Next question.

No reason for ad agencies to need a toolkit to build ads for iAds, Jobs says. It's all industry standard stuff - HTML5 and the advertiser's own content, along with a developer who knows how to build them (and they're out there.) Jobs sees this as a new avenue for ad agencies.

What about Twitter or IM timeline chats running in the background? Apple believes push notification is better for those services. The app, however, can take you back to the Twitter feed and then bring in updates when you go back. Apple says the experience will be far better than today because the app won't "quit" and then have to reload.

The iAds potential is very new and unique to the iPhone. Jobs admits that Apple is new to advertising - and that Google "came in and snatched" AdMob from them. They have no intention to become a worldwide advertising company. But there is some excitement about these sort of in-app ads because they are unique to mobile apps and different from anything on an PC.

What is Apple doing to discourage distracted driving now that there's all of these new features? Jobs says they company has done a lot to integrate the experience into the car, integrating controls into the car itself and voice dialing. But there wasn't much of an answer beyond that.

What about revenue opportunities for iAds for Apple? Jobs says this is not a get-rick-quick-scheme for Apple. This is for the developers, who will get 60 percent of the revenue.

Why not let unsigned apps into iPhone - the way you can on other devices (albeit with some settings adjustments.) Jobs says there's a porn store for Android that anyone can get to, including children. That's a road that Apple doesn't want to go down. End of story.

Any surprises by the reactions of the iPad launch? The feedback, Jobs said, has been off-the-charts and that the iPad is a major game changer. What's been amazing is how quickly people "get it." Some reviewers are gimmes - these folks follow this space - but "regular people" are already understanding how significant it is.

Users don't have to worry about "closing" apps. The company said, with the release of the iPad, if there's a device that needs a stylus, they blew it. Same goes with task management. If the device needs a task manager, they blew it.

That's it. We're all done here.

Also see:

Previous coverage: Apple's iPhone OS event: What to expect

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Browser, iPhone, Mobility, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software

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42 comments
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  • Tentpoles and Teabagging...

    Media and politicians just don't get what these are references to, do they?
    WarhavenSC
    • Or....

      May be they do....:-0
      nothingness
  • LMAO at the iPhone announcements....

    ...while I read up on the HTC Incredible. Everytime I go
    back to the Engadget live blog I see something that looks
    mighty similar to Android. If this is all they had then
    on to the Incredible. And what will the poor iFools say
    when the EVO drops? It makes the Incredible look obsolete
    already.
    storm14k
  • RE: Live blog: Apple's iPhone OS event

    [i]he company didn?t really like the ads that developers were putting in their apps and they wanted to make it better.[/i]

    In other words, they wanted some of that advertising revenue. Any time I download an app and see advertising I take it off immediately.

    [i]On the Web, search is king but that?s not the case on mobile. On mobile, apps are the search tools[/i]

    Not quite. Web browser is still king, not individual apps on mobile. Apps suck on a feature phone.
    Loverock Davidson
  • RE: Live blog: Apple's iPhone OS event

    I would like to hear about the physical changes to the iphone. When will that be discussed? I have many skins and a battery case will that fit the new iphone? How about the camera on the front and back? What were some of the other physical iphone questions? Did they mention cost or an exact date of delivery?
    I know this was all about the OS, but, they didn't mention anything else besides OS changes?
    Taboga22
    • No

      Software only. Hardware announcement will probably be late May <->
      early July.
      Gritztastic
  • iPhone in a catch up mode

    It has not had to do that really. I do not see anything
    that is really huge here, just adding features that are
    already present in other smart phones. Like was already
    said in another post, the EVO will be the standard....
    for a while!
    tgschmidt
    • Spot On

      Exactly! How did they get by without all these "new" features. I mean smartphones have been doing all those things for years.
      soulquarian
      • re: Spot On

        [i]Exactly! How did they get by without all these "new" features. I mean smartphones have been doing all those things for years. [/i]

        Read the live blog again, paying specific attention to how multitasking was implemented on the iPhone, and you'll have your answer.
        WarhavenSC
      • Sad

        Isn't it?
        SkateNY
    • So...

      Why isn't everyone rushing to buy all these great handsets
      that, as you imply, are "huge" in terms of features relative
      to the iPhone?

      According to you, there are phones with more and better
      features, yet Apple is in "catch up [sic] mode." What a
      shame that Apple's nominal competitors, on the whole,
      haven't been able to take advantage of this advantage.

      Wonder how great these other phones would be were the
      iPhone actually better and/or more attractive, instead of
      being in catch-up mode? Attractive enough to consumers
      to the extent that, for example, android phones could sell
      more than 15 million handsets worldwide, compared to
      approximately 45 million iPhones?

      Doesn't matter who gets there first. What matters is who
      does it better and/or which product is more attractive
      according to consumers. And those numbers, sir, have
      absolutely nothing to do with your personal likes or
      dislikes, as much as that reality may be a shock to your
      system.

      You're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled
      to your own facts.
      SkateNY
      • Dude.. You forgot a few things...

        Android may have only sold 15 million units since it's been available to Apple's 45 million, but the thing is - Apple's been at it a wee bit longer. They released their first iPhone in June 2007. T-Mobile released the G1 in October 2008.

        In Feb 2010, Google announced that there are 60,000 units (Android phones) being sold each DAY.

        Of course, we don't have a clue as to how many iPhones Apple sells per day - they tend not to release that kind of info.

        As far as the iPhone is concerned in my personal space - I will NEVER have one. Ever. There are just too many things - even with the 4.0 version that make it a non-starter.

        1.) $130 to replace a $15 part (the battery).
        2.) Choice of networks AT&T's plans and service suck. Verizon's plans likewise suck.
        3.) NO removable storage? WTF? This is 2010, not 1999.
        4.) iTunes is not going anywhere near my systems. Don't need any security holes installed.
        5.) I don't need Apple and Steve Jobs to nanny me. I'm an adult and have been for 2 1/2 decades. Don't need anyone telling me what I can or can't read on devices of MY choosing.

        Epic iFAIL.

        Of course, that's just MY opinion. Opinion based on FACTS.

        But funny thing about that. A lot of people out there feel the same way.
        Wolfie2K3
  • 1:05 pm: Apple announces new round of lawsuits

    aimed at other smartphone maunfacturers
    for infringing on these innovations that will be incorporated into the next iPhone OS.
    GuidingLight
    • Good

      Apple is playing catchup right now, and if the other companies were too stupid not to patent their implementation of the tech they were already using before Apple jumped on board, it's their loss.
      WarhavenSC
      • Dont Forget

        There is a major lawsuit brewing overseas that Apple will not win. How can you steal touch support innovation and not expect to get caught. Guess they do not always play catch up, it can be five finger discounts along the way....
        mlbslugger
    • LOL! (nt)

      (nt)
      AllKnowingAllSeeing
  • Strain to Complain

    The anti iPhone contingent will be scrambling to find some
    new complaints or to restate any lingering old ones. We
    hear it all over again... buying an iPhone is what they are
    not going to do. I do love hearing about what people are
    not doing. As often as possible. I love hearing how much
    iPhone and iPad don't matter... over and over again. Man-
    years are being put into not caring about this thing. This in
    itself, is rather odd. I had no idea that ignoring something
    required so much involvement.

    The irony here, is that the very thing that people take
    offence with, Apple's closed model, is the very thing that
    allows them to be easily ignored. Unlike open architecture,
    Apple does not presume to be all things to all people,
    everywhere, all the time.
    norgate
    • Strain?

      No, there's no strain to complain. People like that will find a reason, any reason, to hate the product. Had multi-tasking been put in much sooner, they'd complain the battery didnt last long enough, or it responded slowly or not at all, etc.

      While I dont pretend to understand why things were left out of the iPhones/iPads, I'm sure IT WAS DONE FOR A REASON!!

      Steve Jobs runs a successful multi-billion dollar company.

      If you haters can do better, shut-up and do so!
      Otherwise, just shut up.
      THavoc
      • What? Shut up? Your nerves!...

        We will shut up just like the rotten cores shut up about windows. We will shut up when you take down the cheap assinine ads that are running. Then we might be quite. Some advice: children should not be apart of adult conversations. so, little boy, go back to your sandbox and clean out your apple cores.
        eargasm
        • Ah Yes

          An insult from a little mind.

          See, I offered no personal insult. Just for people like you to actually do something.

          When you can't, you have to turn to insults.

          Thank you for making my point for me.
          THavoc