From Apple's WWDC, new Mac Pro and Leopard

SAN FRANCISCO--Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs this morning took the stage at the Moscone Center here for his Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. Joining him were Scott Forstall, Apple's vice president of platform experience; Bertrand Serlet, senior vice president of software engineering; and Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.

This keynote was blogged in real time, with most recent information appearing at the top. To see the post-keynote story, click here.

11:30 a.m.--Keynote ends.

11:25 a.m.--Xcode 3, a "giant leap" in Xcode, is being unveiled this afternoon. "We have a developer preview which we are going to put in your hands today," Jobs said. He adds that Leopard is coming in the spring; developers seem a little disappointed by this news.

11:21 a.m.--Jobs brings it back around to Leopard, saying Apple is going to "seriously enhance" iChat with multiple logins, tab chats and more. Photo Booth effects will be added to video conferencing, iChat Theater and new backdrops.

Jobs pulled up iChat. "I don't have a lot of friends," he said, demonstrating the effects with Schiller, who put on a range of goofy faces. Jobs also demoed iChat Theater, which creates a picture-in-picture view with the video camera still on the chat participants and a slide show or keynote presentation.

Backdrops can be somewhere other than where you are, like a green-screen movie effect. It's possible to move beyond still photos, too, and put video behind you as well.

Schiller pretended he's on a roller coaster, or underwater, to demonstrate the video backdrops.

"These are just 10 of the many features that are going to be in Leopard," Jobs said.

11:12 a.m.--It's back to Forstall, who demonstrates more Leopard features. Dashboard is a great set of starter widgets, Forstall said, but for Leopard, Apple wants to make it even better. The company announces code for designing and developing widgets--templates for RSS, photos, and so on. There's also a visual editor for CSS and HTML. And there's a JavaScript debugger, an announcement that drew applause from the audience.

11:06 a.m.--My Dell laptop battery died. There's more chortling as I switch to my Treo.

11:03 a.m.--More on Leopard. "We're making some major enhancements to Mail," Jobs said, such as adding stationery to Mail, adding Notes and adding to-do's. Consumers can add photos into an e-mail that looks more like a personalized piece of stationery. Made in HTML, it will look the same for any user.

"My inbox is where I need to be reminded of things," Jobs said, so Apple is adding a special message type that shows up right in the inbox. But there's also a special mailbox called Notes which brings them the reminders together.

As for to-do lists, you'll be able to select something and make it a "to do," plus set priorities and due dates. Any incoming e-mail message can be made into a "to-do."

10:58 a.m.--Jobs said Apple is focusing a lot on universal access for Leopard, for people with special needs. So it has Braille support, voice-over advances and easier navigation.

Demonstrating voice-over capabilities, Jobs played some text-to-speech, playing the voice from Tiger, first. (It was a very computer-esque female voice, kind of like the BART platform announcements, for you San Francisco Bay Area folks.) "When that shipped, it was pretty state of the art, but it still sounds pretty geeky," Jobs said.

The new voice-over, however, is smoother. It switches to a male voice and is less jerky. It still sounds like a computer, but it doesn't trip over words and has better cadence. When users speed things up, usually the quality goes down. Sped up, the Leopard voice-over is pretty clear.

10:53 a.m.--It's back to Forstall, who says, "We're going to make Spotlight even better in Leopard." You can now search other machines on your network. Advanced search features including advanced syntax and Boolean search are being added to Spotlight in Leopard.

Leopard will have Core Animation. "It allows you to dramatically increase the production value of your application," Forstall said. Time Machine was created with Core Animation.

Forstall showed a screensaver of Tiger, and rewrote it in Core Animation, really shrinking the code base. With Core Animation, you can move the layers in 3D space, rotate the camera. Created a city of albums live where albums self-assemble into buildings.

10:48 a.m.--It's back to Jobs, who talks about "some really cool software" out in beta form.

Boot Camp allows you to run Windows and Mac OS. There have been 500,000 downloads of Boot Camp so far.

The next generation of Front Row, Apple's media application, is going to be built into Leopard.

Photo Booth will ship on new Macs with cameras built in. Apple has expanded the range of cameras it works with.

"This is a big one. We call it Spaces." Spaces is a new way of working on your Mac. It shows a screen with a lot of apps running on the screen. To demo the product, Jobs created different groupings of similar applications that make sense to have together. The application keeps a large screen open that holds the applications, but allows to you quickly switch to a different "space" that holds photo or video apps, for example.

10:36 a.m.--Scott Forstall, Apple's vice president of platform experience, addresses the new Leopard features.

Support for 64-bit applications. Apple is going to extend 64-bit support all the way up through Carbon and Cocoa for your applications. We did this in a completely 32-bit-compatible way. It will be possible to run 32-bit and 64-bit applications side-by-side.

Time Machine: "Only a quarter of our users are backing up their files in a regular way. Only 4 percent do automatic backup. We plan to change all of that in Leopard with a feature we call Time Machine. Time Machine automatically backs up your Mac."

Forstall demonstrated Time Machine's backup features, showing what to do when you need to find a presentation that doesn't show up on the screen using the Finder application. The Time Machine app brings up a black hole-looking application when you click on it. Developers went wild as the user interface is unveiled. "Time is a dimension that recedes back into your desktop."

You can go back several days, with each day saved as a window. A time line on the right lets you know how far back you've gone. You can keep going back through time looking for the particular file you're searching for.

To bring it back to the present, click Restore, and the file is moved out of the Time Machine window back to the main screen.

The feature works with more than just the finder. Address book entries can also be found by going back in time until you find an instance of a particular person.

The iPhoto demo, however, doesn't work at first. Nervous laughs fill the hall. But it eventually works, and you can use the same feature to find the last instance of a photo that you saved.

10:30 a.m.--Apple has already added several features in Vista, Serlet said. He then turns the mic over to Jobs, who says, "Today, we want to give you a preview of Leopard...There are some top-secret features in Leopard that we are going to keep a little secret. But we are going to show you 10 features in Leopard today."

10:29 a.m.--Bertrand Serlet, senior vice president of software engineering, showed similarities between the latest build of Vista and Tiger. The look and feel are similar, with Mail, RSS, iCal and Windows Calender.

"They even tried to copy the color scheme," he said.

10:24 a.m.--There are now 3,000-plus universal applications shipping, said Jobs, telling members of the audience they have done a phenomonal job getting their applications shipping with universal binaries. "This is what we've been doing for the past five years. What has our competitor been doing for the past five years?" he asked.

10:24 a.m.--Apple now has 19 million OS X users. The last major release, Tiger, has been Apple's most succesful software product ever. "We've had these great five releases, and we had a sixth major release that we don't get much credit for, that's Tiger on Intel," Jobs said. "They made it look really easy, and it's gone seamlessly."

10:22 a.m.--Schiller compared Xserve to Dell 1950, saying Dell's about $300 more expensive for a simliar configuration.

10:20 a.m.--Schiller showed off a data center called the Aquarium from a credit-card validation company named Xtech. It's based on Xserve. The new Xserve with dual-Xeon processors is the same as the Mac Pro. Up to 3.0 GHz Xeon processors.

With the G5 server, it wasn't possible to get the four-core performance because of thermal concerns. So the performance comparisions are very favorable for the new Xserve.

We get to add redundant power, 2.25 terabytes of storage, because of the thermal improvements.

10:18 a.m.--"This is great product to bust that myth" that Macs are more expensive, Schiller said. He compared the new Mac Pro to the Dell PowerEdge 1950, saying the Dell is significantly more expensive.

The new Mac Pros will be configured to order. With several different choices for processor and memory, it's possible to make almost 5 million configurations of the new machine, which will start shipping today.

"Our transition is complete," Schiller said, referring to the switch to Intel chips. We "finished the transition today, (in) just 210 short days."

10:16 a.m.--Apple has added a second optical drive as well, because the performance per watt allowed for more components inside. The hard drives snap right in place. There's "beautiful simple access to it all," Jobs said. "This is a beautiful machine."

The computer has one standard configuration--two 2.66GHz dual-core Xeons, 1GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, Nvidia GeFore 7300GT, with 256MB of video memory, 16x SuperDrive. The cost: $2,499.

10:13 a.m.--The new Mac Pro is twice as fast as the system it replaces, Schiller said. It has two dual-core Xeon processors. and "real-world major performance increases."

Each Xeon sits on 1.33GHz front-side bus, which connects the processor to memory.

Up to 16GB of memory can be put into each Mac Pro. Can put up to four hard drive bays, for up to 2 terabytes of storage. Developers respond well to that announcement.

10:11 a.m.--Jobs talks about Apple's market share gains in U.S. retail, and about how Apple's transition to Intel has gone very well. "Except for one," he said. "Today the Power Mac is going to fade into history."

Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, takes the stage to introduce the Mac Pro. It is based on Intel's Xeon 5100 processor, code-named Woodcrest. Two Woodcrest processors in each Mac Pro.

10:09 a.m.--Mac users around me chortle as my Dell laptop crashes in the middle of blogging Jobs' live keynote.

10 a.m.--Steve Jobs appears onstage to a rousing ovation following the end of a new ad, decked out in his usual style.

"This year we've got 4,200 registered attendees, the largest WWDC ever," he said, with conference-goers from 48 countries. He added that there are currently 750,000 registered Apple developers around the world.

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About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

     

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