San Francisco, CA (written by Edward C. Baig/USA Today) -- Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference is underway with a keynote event in San Francisco, which Apple traditionally uses to unveil fresh products.
Follow along in TechLive as USA TODAY's Ed Baig posts up-to-the-minute updates. Advances in mapping and photo sharing for mobile devices are expected to take center stage this year, among other announcements.
Update at 2:15 p.m.: Apple is now talking about its operating system, OS X. Craig Federighi, who is head of software is now on stage.
Some 26 million copies to date have been shipped. And 40% of OS X users are running Lion.
The upcoming Mountain Lion version has over 200 new features. Federighi is ticking through several of them and offering other updates:
- He says that the iCloud service, which syncs content across devices, now has 125 million registered users. "Whether working with Mail, Calender or Contacts, everything is up to date."
- With Mountain Lion there are Messages, Reminders and Notes, all optimized for iCloud. Apple also has featured Documents In the Cloud. It is described as a simple new way to access and organize your documents across all Macs and iOS devices.
- iMessage will be on the Mac. All conversations on the go are up to date right on the Mac. With images and attachments up to 100 MG and HD video.
- Notifications Center is coming to the Mac. In the past each application had its own unique way of getting your attention, some disruptive. With Mountain Lion Apple is using banners that slide down from the top of the screen to notify you. Or you can slide out a Notification Center. This is very similar to the way it works on the iPad or iPhone. You can temporally disable notifications and banners through a button that has been added on the screen.
- Apple is also bringing Dictation to the Mac. Everywhere you can type you can now talk. You can talk into Facebook Web page if you want or third-party apps such as Microsoft Word.
Next up is Sharing. In Mountain Lion it's easy to share right from within the app you are working in. If you want to share to Twitter you can select it and click it and it's on its way. Sharing is included across the system.
I didn't notice Facebook under the Sharing options shown (you otherwise saw Twitter, Vimeo, Flickr, etc.).
An update to the Safari browser adds feature called iCloud Tabs to show all open pages across all of your other devices, including Macs. That lets you pick up browsing where you left off. There's a new tab view that lets you use gestures to visualize your tabs.
Nice feature: From Notification Center you can summon a Tweet sheet. You can even dictate your tweet.
Apple has added a new OS X technology called Power Nap. It keeps your Mac up to date while it sleeps. It fetches your e-mail and keeps track of calendar updates and fetches your Photo Stream.
Next up is AirPlay Mirroring. It's a way to get whatever is on your Mac to a projector or TV (via AppleTV). You are mirroring that content up to pixel for pixel 1080p resolution. Can use it in classroom, medium room or family room.
Next up is Game Center. With the introduction of the App Store, Apple says it has experienced a renaissance of gaming for the Mac. This is the same Game Center account with friends, achievements, games, etc. that you do on iOS devices. You can compete Mac to Mac and Mac to iOS via Game Center.
Apple says there are 200 features in Mountain Lion, Others include VIPs in Mail, search in Launchpad, Gatekeeper (to protect against malware), features for China and more.
Mountain Lion will be available next month via Mac App Store. It will be $19.99, or $10 less than Lion cost. Single purchase upgrades all your personal Macs.
If you buy a new Mac starting today, your update to Mountain Lion will be free. Developers get a Developer Preview that is near final today for free.
Update at 1:48 p.m.: So what's next? With the MacBook Air, Apple envisioned a consumer notebook, Schiller says. Discarded legacy technologies such as built in optical drives and wired networking and things they could do without.
We've been asking the team what would make a next-gen Macbook Pro, he says. The answer: You want a next-gen MacBook Pro with a killer new display, Schiller says (bringing big reaction from crowd). You want it to be radically thin and light. And you must be willing to discard old legacy things.
So the next gen MacBook Pro is "the most beautiful computer we have ever made." It has a "magnificent new display."
From side view it is thin and light and small like MacBook Air -- thinner than Schiller's finger. "A breakthrough in engineering," he says. Never this small or light and powerful for professional use.
0.71 inches thin. It's about as thin as a MacBook Air. It weights 4.46 pounds. "The lightest Pro notebook we have ever made."
It has a retina display like the iPad or iPhone. (Big cheer from crowd on that new). It is 15.4 inches across but its pixel density is 2880 x 1800. World's highest- res notebook display.
It ships with OS X Lion operating system.
Inside, the new MacBook Pro has been reinvented to drive design and performance. Inside is dominated by a battery pack to drive retina display. Inside are fastest quad-core processors (i7). Can be configured with up to 16GB of memory. Inside are new Kepler graphics chip and GeForce GT 650M from Nvidia. Can be configured with up to 768 GB of flash storage.
- Apple claims up to seven hours of battery life.
- It has an SD slot, HDMI (to plug into TV), USB 3 and 2 and two Thunderbolt ports.
- Can support "legacy" through FireWire 800 and Gigabit Ethernet adapters for Thunderbolt.
- Backlit keyboard.
- It has fastest 802.11 n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, a FaceTime HD camera and dual mics.
More on new MacBook Pro (Apple is showing a video now).
It has 3 million more pixels than an HDTV. All Flash architecture. It is 0.71 inches thin. 4.46 lbs.
New MacBok Pro with retina display costs $2,199 on up.
Update at 1:20 p.m.: Apple is now showing a video of how people are using and benefiting from the App Store and iOS apps. Airbnb's founder is among those in the video, as is a parent from Halifax talking about helping a child who has a speech problem. ... Toca Boca and Sketchbook are among the other apps mentioned.
Cook is now thanking the developer community publicly.
Apple is announcing "major new changes" to notebook lineup and iOS 6.
Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief takes the stage to talk MacBook.
First, MacBook Air. Schiller says it has been a breakthrough and "everyone is trying to copy it and find it's not so easy... it has changed the consumer notebook market."
Apple is now adding 3rd generation Intel "Ivy Bridge" processors. Now up to 2.0 GHz dualcore i7. Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz. Up to 8GB memory. And can now put up to 512GB of flash storage.
More on MacBook Air. It is faster. Now adding USB 3. The 11-inch starts at $999. The 13-inch starts at $1,199. These start shipping today.
Next up it the MacBook Pro. It is the quintessential professional notebook, Schiller says. It will have 3rd-gen Ivy Bridge processors. Up to 2.7 GHZ quad-core. Overall faster. Up to 8GB memory. Up to 1GB of video memory. Up to 60% faster. Also USB 3 as well as USB 2.1. The 13-inch costs $1,199 and $1,499.
15-inch costs $1,799 and $2,199 (same prices as before).
Also shipping today.
Update at 1:10 p.m.: Cook offers an update on the App Store. There are now over 400 million accounts in the App Store. It's the store with the largest number of accounts with credit cards anywhere on Internet. There are 650,000 apps in store, 225,000 specifically made for iPad. That compares "to just a few hundred for our competition" Cook says.
- Customers have downloaded 30 billion apps from app store.
- Apple has written checks to developers for $5 billion.
- Developers will be soon able to sell apps in 155 countries.
Cook says our goal as always been to do "great work and make a difference in people's lives."
Update at 1:07 p.m.: This is 23rd WWDC. Cook quips that the event "is older than some of you are." WWDC sold out in 1 hour and 43 minutes. Attendees hail from 60 countries.
Update at 1:04 p.m. : Coldplay is playing as we're only moments away from the start of WWDC. The announcement came that everyone should silence their cellphones, etc.
The lights dims and Siri appears on screen to "warm up the crowd" with a few jokes. Example: "How many developers does it take to change a lightbulb? None. That's a hardware problem."
Tim Cook appears on stage. This is the first WWDC he has presided over.
Update at 12:50 p.m.: We're here at Moscone Center waiting for the start of WWDC. As is customary at these Apple proceedings, the room is packed--with analysts, press, and of course developers. There's lots of energy in the crowd. I'm not sure Apple will deliver the kind of "wow" with a capital "W" seen when such game-changing products such as the iPhone and iPad were first introduced. But you should expect lots of news, just the same. And as always you can't discount the surprise element.
Update at 12:44 p.m.: The crowd is starting to gather inside the auditorium.