Live blog: Macworld 2009 keynote

Watch this space for live updates from Apple's keynote presentation Tuesday inside San Francisco's Moscone Center, starring Phil Schiller.

Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
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Tom Krazit
14 min read

We're posting live updates from Macworld 2009 at San Francisco's Moscone Center, where Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller, is delivering the keynote speech.

Phil Schiller takes the stage to deliver the keynote speech at Macworld in San Francisco. James Martin/CNET Networks

8:55 a.m. PST: We're live inside the Moscone Center for Macworld 2009, having braved the elbows of the friendly media hordes and the rather aggressive ushers. The room is fairly full, but the line outside this morning seemed a little smaller than usual, unless IDG did a better job of herding the masses in early. The pre-keynote music is skewing more current than usual before a Jobs keynote, with Death Cab for Cutie and the like, which maybe gives us an idea of what Phil Schiller uses to warm up.

9:03 a.m.: We just got the cell phone warning message, which probably gives us a five-minute window or so. They turned up the volume for Coldplay's "Life in Technicolor," and I'm assuming we're getting close.

Apple's Macworld updates

Here's a basic rundown of everything Apple announced Tuesday. For more details, read our summary here.

DRM-free and cheaper songs

MacBook Pro
New 8-hour battery

iLife '09
Photo geotagging and music lessons

iWork '09
Online syncing, Keynote Remote

9:04 a.m.: The lights dim as the song ends, and Apple's Phil Schiller takes the stage to start Macworld 2009. He appears to be rocking an all-denim ensemble. It's a little hard to tell from here. "I'm so personally excited to be the one delivering Macworld 2009 to you. I'd like to thank everybody for showing up," which gets a chuckle.

9:06 a.m.: Phil's first topic is the general state of Apple, talking about some of the new Apple stores that the company has opened overseas, such as Beijing and Sydney. He's gushing about some of the new store designs. "I can't imagine any other company delivering something like that." Every week, 3.4 million customers visit an Apple store around the world. "That's 100 Macworlds each and every week," a clear pointer to Apple's decision to make this its last Macworld.

9:07 a.m.: Phil's going to start with the Mac, and he seems to be hinting that's all we're going to talk about today. Last year was the best year for the Mac in Apple's history, he said, growing faster than the industry based on what Phil calls Apple's best product line ever. Phil has three new things he's going to cover.

9:08 a.m.: The first one? iLife '09.

9:11 a.m.: "There's nothing like it on any computer platform." The first update is iPhoto '09. Phil's talking about the feature added last year that let you sort your digital photos by events, and Apple's adding two features. One is called Faces, a sublink off the library. You can sort photos by person, with something called Face Detection, which gets the first hushed awe from the Macworld crowd. It finds photos with the same person once you've tagged a photo with someone's name.

Faces in iPhoto: Users will be able to sort photos by person with something called Face Detection. James Martin/CNET Networks
GPS geotagging in iPhoto James Martin/CNET Networks

9:13 a.m.: "Now, there's no perfect face detection software," Phil notes, but he calls Apple's technology the best thing they found. Another addition to the sorting categories is Places, which will let you organize your photos around various cities. Places uses GPS geotagging to organize your photos, working with various digital cameras and the iPhone to embed geotags into your photo.

9:15 a.m.: The software can ascertain the exact locations within a city, Phil says, using the Eiffel Tower as an example. It also lets you enter locations for old photos taken with cameras with no geotagging support. Google is providing the mapping service for Places, Phil says. It looks very much like the Maps application on the iPhone, with the dropped pins.

9:17 a.m.: iPhoto '09 has a few other new bells and whistles, such as support for Facebook and Flickr. You can upload photos from iPhoto directly to Facebook with a new button, and can also take the photo-labeling conventions in Facebook and download those back to your Mac. Same thing for Flickr, which supports the geotagging software.

iPhoto face recognition syncs with Facebook. James Martin/CNET Networks
Schiller demonstrates the face recognition feature. James Martin/CNET Networks

9:19 a.m.: Slide shows can receive musical themes in the new version, and those themes can take advantage of the face-recognition software as well. There are all kinds of new wipes for moving between photos in a slide show, with the requisite ooh's and ahh's from the faithful. These slide shows will also apparently work on your iPhone.

9:20 a.m.: The last new feature Phil reveals for iPhoto '09 are travel book themes, which let you print photos and add the geotagging/face recognition support. Phil's moving into demo time.

9:23 a.m.: Phil's sorting through his photos looking for faces to identify. He finds a photo and hits the "name" button to name that person. iPhoto doesn't know this person yet, so it prompts Phil to enter a name. It then goes out and finds all the other photos that have the same face, and asks Phil to confirm that it's the right person. You can do this in batches, as well, asking iPhoto to zoom in on that particular person's face in various photos to easily identify if it's the right person.

9:25 a.m.: Now it's time for Places. iPhoto has already assigned pins in a map view to the photos that have geotagging support, identifying the places you've taken photos. You can click on one of the pins to see all the photos associated with that location. Phil finds a photo that doesn't have geotagging information on it, and assigns a location. The software then finds all the photos within that event, and assigns the same location to them.

9:27 a.m.: The map view can get pretty detailed, showing all the locations along a river in Paris that various photos were taken. You can also sort your photos by cities, states, and famous locations such as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Geotagging demo James Martin/CNET Networks

9:29 a.m.: That's all for the iPhoto '09 demo. There are a few other things, Phil said, but we're not going to cover them all. Now we're moving into iMovie '09.

9:30 a.m.: Apple updated iMovie last year with a new version that was completely different from older versions of iMovie, Phil said. There were a few features missing from the new version that people complained about, and it sounds like Apple has added a lot more stuff. They include a precision editor, a drag-and-drop feature that lets you layer movies, new themes, and animated travel maps. Plus, video stabilization for those of you hopped up on caffeine, such as yours truly.

iMovie drag-and-drop features James Martin/CNET Networks

9:31 a.m.: Demo time once again. Apple's actually going to name the engineer, Randy Ubillos, who created the new version of iMovie, which is something they were criticized for not doing when they first unveiled iMovie '08. Randy's going to do the demo.

9:34 a.m.: Randy's walking through the precision editor and drag-and-drop features. You can do things like pull audio from clips you otherwise don't want to use to overlay that audio over other shots. The precision editor lets you see the content before and after the edit in the screen, adjusting a particular edit if you didn't like the way it came off the first time. There's also an audio editor that lets you sync that up with the video.

9:37 a.m.: This is a pretty elaborate shot for a home-movie demonstration, but that's to be expected. Randy moves on to another movie he's making out of clips from a trip to Africa, in order to demonstrate the video stabilization feature. Bumping across the African plains isn't exactly the best way to shoot a video, but Randy shows the before-and-after shots with the video stabilization applied that show a noticeable difference in quality.

Demo of new project library and video stabilization James Martin/CNET Networks

9:39 a.m.: The video effects are next up, and then Randy shows how to add the travel maps into the movie, which I'm calling the Indiana Jones effect. It lets you pull up various map styles that show Randy's travel to Africa, from San Francisco to Botswana, just as the Indiana Jones movies used to show his travels around the world from place to place.

9:41 a.m.: New themes, of course. Randy shows off how to create the themes, and shows off the finished product of his trip to Africa. "You can see how nice and professional those look," which, to be fair, is about what you'd expect from a video professional. Randy moves offstage, and Phil's back.

9:42 a.m.: GarageBand '09 is the third part of the iLife suite that Phil's going to talk about today. He's only going to talk about one feature, which he says will help you learn to play a musical instrument. They gave it the catchy title "Learn to Play."

GarageBand '09: "Learn to play" James Martin/CNET Networks

9:44 a.m.: It brings up a video with a teacher and a guitar's fretboard, which lets you move at your own pace through various lessons. The demo man in the video is going to teach us the 12-bar blues in A. It shows you where to fret the guitar, and gives you the audio feedback so you know whether you hit the right chord yourself. Keyboard is also supported, with a demo of everybody's favorite piano duet, "Heart and Soul."

9:45 a.m.: There are nine basic guitar and piano lessons in GarageBand '09, and it also has "Artist Lessons." John Fogerty will teach us "Proud Mary." Patrick Stump from Fallout Boy, and some guy named Sting are also featured guitar artists. Sarah McLachlan, Ryan Tedder of One Republic, and Norah Jones are the piano artists. More will be added later, Phil says.

Sting in GarageBand James Martin/CNET Networks

9:48 a.m.: There's a built-in store in the software, which lets you download artist lessons for $4.99. The artists will give you a bit of the backstory to the songs as part of the lesson. John Fogerty is talking about the history of "Proud Mary"; the opening sequence, believe it or not, is a rip-off of Beethoven's Fifth. He's talking about the chord choices he made, which is an interesting way to teach people about music theory in a real basic way. It zooms in on his fingering as he moves from chord to chord.

GarageBand '09 features James Martin/CNET Networks

9:49 a.m.: That's all we're going to talk about for iLife '09, although there are new features in iDVD and iWeb. The upgrade price is $79, or you can get a family pack for $99. That will ship by the end of this month, and it's free on all new Macs.

9:51 a.m.: iWork '09 is also on tap today. Keynote '09 will come first, with some new tools for creating slide presentations such as the one we're watching. There are some new transitions between slides, and object transitions as well, which let you zoom in on one particular object in a slide filled with various objects.

New Keynote features in iWork James Martin/CNET Networks

9:52 a.m.: Apple also added new text transitions. The example they use? "Bush" swings around and magically turns into "Obama." "Read into that what you will," Phil says, to applause.

9:54 a.m.: You can also move charts around in new ways, such as the "rotate-and-grow," and there are new chart styles as well. It wouldn't be an Apple product without various themes, and they've added a bunch of new ones.

9:55 a.m.: There's also the new "Keynote Remote." As you might have guessed, that's an iPhone or iPod Touch. Apple has created an iPhone application that lets you advance slides by flicking them back or forward in the Cover Flow mode, with a wireless connection to your Mac. That's available for 99 cents in the App Store.

Keynote remote app for iPhone James Martin/CNET Networks

9:58 a.m.: Pages, Apple's word processing software, is also moving into the new year. One new feature is full-screen view, which lets you hide your other applications behind the text so you can focus on your writing. Customers also wanted outlining, Phil says, and the new Pages lets you create documents in outline form, and move back and forth between the finished document and your original outline. MathType and EndNote are supported in the new version, those are applications used by the scientific community. And new templates are also part of Pages '09

Full-screen view in Pages James Martin/CNET Networks
New Pages features James Martin/CNET Networks

10:01 a.m.: Numbers '09 rounds out the new iWork suite. Numbers '08 was a brand-new version 1.0 spreadsheet product, Phil says, and Apple's made some additions based on early feedback. You can sort your spreadsheets by different categories, and there are more powerful formulas added for those of you who need to do advanced budget and finance work. New charts and a new way of linking those charts have also been added.

10:03 a.m.: iWork '09, like iLife, is $79, or $99 for a family pack of five. It's $49 with a new Mac, and it's available today. You need to upgrade to Leopard for the new iLife. Apple is now selling a Mac Box Set with Leopard, iLife '09, and iWork '09 for $169, and that will be available in late January when iLife '09 is ready.

Mac Box Set James Martin/CNET Networks

10:04 a.m.: Apple also has a new Web service called iWork.com, which it is announcing in beta form, perhaps having learned something from the MobileMe disaster. This lets you share iWork documents online between different users, for adding comments or notes to documents across a group. Phil's going to demo this service.

10:07 a.m.: Phil brings up a new Pages document to demonstrate iWork.com. The iWork '09 products have an iWork.com button, which he presses, and it asks him to identify to whom he wants to send the document. He does so, and the document is now available online. The application sends an e-mail to the recipient, which launches a browser and brings up the document in a window. You can read and leave notes, and more than one person can read the document at the same time.

10:08 a.m.: Once the recipient is done viewing and making comments, they can choose to download it if they want to make further edits. That Pages document will open in either Pages or Microsoft Word, Phil says. He moves back to the computer used by the document creator to check out what people have been saying about his document, and views it online in his browser. All modern browsers will work, Phil says.

iWork.com demo James Martin/CNET Networks

10:10 a.m.: This works for the other portions of the iWork suite as well. "This is the beginning of a new service," Phil says. It's a free beta for now but eventually Apple will charge for it. That's launching today.

10:10 a.m.: The third thing, Phil's "one more thing," is a 17-inch MacBook Pro.

Third thing: a 17-inch Macbook Pro James Martin/CNET Networks

10:12 a.m.: It uses the unibody construction that Apple unveiled in October for the MacBook line. The MacBook has been the leading notebook sold in the U.S. each of the last few months, Phil says, although it's not clear what data he's using to make that claim. The new MacBook is 6.6 pounds, and very thin for a notebook of its size, he says.

10:13 a.m.: Phil says it has the best display they've ever shipped on a MacBook Pro. It's available in both glossy and matte finish, which will satisfy some of those who hated the glossy-only options for the new MacBook displays. It has the new MiniDisplay port.

The display on the new 17-inch MacBook Pro will be available in glossy or matte finish. James Martin/CNET Networks

10:15 a.m.: It also has the new glass trackpad used on the new MacBooks, with all the same gestures. New Intel processors, option for up to 8GBs of memory, and both the integrated Nvidia graphics and the discrete 9600GT graphics. Also, 320GB of hard drive as standard, and an SSD option. It also works with the new Cinema Display.

Photos: Jobs fill-in touts media, MacBook updates

See all photos

10:16 a.m.: This system also has a new battery. Phil says they wanted to make the longest-lasting battery life they've ever accomplished within the weight and size restrictions they set for the device. They're showing a video with hardware chief Bob Mansfield, who walks us through the new battery. It will last 8 hours and last for 1,000 charges, Mansfield says.

10:17 a.m.: Dan Riccio, from product design, explains how the battery was designed into the system. removable batteries waste space, he says, revealing that Apple is using a non-user-replaceable battery on this system.

10:18 a.m.: Apple's chief engineer for battery systems is showing on the screen, but they don't identify him by name, which is odd. Apple created custom battery cell shapes which it claims increase capacity. They are using lithium polymer technology, says the unnamed engineer.

10:19 a.m.: Mansfield's back, talking about adaptive charging, which he says reduces wear and tear. A thousand recharges is about three times the number of the rest of the industry. Riccio says there is a chip within the battery that identifies individual cells and can adjust the current flow as needed.

10:21 a.m.: Mansfield says the MacBook Pro is environmentally friendly. It uses less power and is made from aluminum and glass. Riccio says the battery should last for five years, which means people won't be throwing out batteries. The video ends, the lights come up, and Phil's back.

more battery life
More battery life James Martin/CNET Networks

10:22 a.m.: They are quoting 7 hours of battery life using the discrete graphics, and 8 using the integrated graphics. This will cost $2,799, the same price as the old 17-inch model. That's with 4GBs of memory. It will start shipping by the end of January.

10:23 a.m.: Phil's running down a checklist of the environmentally friendly features, with all the chemicals that were left out and smaller packaging materials. And, of course, there is a new ad.

New MacBook Pro ad James Martin/CNET Networks

10:24 a.m.: There is "one last thing..." and it's iTunes.

10:25 a.m.: It's been six years since Apple started the iTunes Music Store, and it has sold 6 billion songs. 10 million songs are currently available, and there are over 75 million accounts. iTunes became the No. 1 channel for music in the U.S. over that time.

10:26 a.m.: Read my colleague Greg Sandoval's story from last night for a preview of what you're about to hear. The first new thing in the new iTunes is price. There are three price levels: 69 cents, the traditional 99 cents, and $1.29. That will arrive in April.

10:27 a.m.: The second thing is iTunes Plus. This is Apple's DRM-free tracks, which also have a higher bit rate, Phil says. "Starting today, we're going to offer 8 million of the songs DRM-free."

10:28 a.m.: By the end of this quarter, Phil says all 10 million songs on the iTunes store will be DRM-free. You can upgrade your existing music to be DRM-free.

iTunes Plus: DRM free tracks James Martin/CNET Networks

10:30 a.m.: The third new thing involves the iPhone. Apple has the Wi-Fi iTunes Store currently on the iPhone, and now you'll be able to do that over the 3G cellular networks for the same prices as in the regular iTunes store, with the same selection. You can preview and purchase music from the iTunes store, and of course, you can sync it to your computer. "This is a really big step for wireless music on cell phones," Phil says, and that starts today.

10:31 a.m.: Since we're ending on music, I have a feeling we're about to hear the featured artist of Macworld 2009. This year, Tony Bennett is leaving his heart in San Francisco for the last Macworld.

10:32 a.m.: Bennett is singing "The Best Is Yet to Come," backed by a four-piece jazz combo. That guy still sounds amazing.

10:33 a.m.: I should note, of course, that this isn't necessarily the last Macworld, just the last with Apple's participation. But somehow, I have a feeling Tony Bennett won't be appearing at next year's show.

10:34 a.m.: And, of course, Bennett has to sing "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."

Tony Bennett leaves his heart in San Francisco. James Martin/CNET Networks

10:39 a.m.: Bennett wraps up and receives a standing ovation from the crowd. Phil thanks everybody for coming, and he also thanks his colleagues for helping to put together the show.

That's it, with no apparent Steve Jobs appearance, although I'll check up front to see if he's in the front row. In any event, that's the Macworld 2009 keynote, which was, as predicted, a little underwhelming compared to past events. We'll have lots more coverage over the rest of the day, with updated photo galleries, video of the event, and the first impressions of the 17-inch MacBook Pro from our CNET Reviews staff.

Thanks everybody for reading this blog, and thanks as always to the crew on Second Street.

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