Apple event: "Back to the Mac" with Lion, iLife refresh, and 2 new MacBook Airs

Xeni's in Cupertino this morning for Apple's "Back to the Mac" press event. Live coverage here, updated as the event progresses. The company is set to reveal the next iteration of its operating system, which is expected to be named "Lion," but what else? Follow the live video feed here.

Related: Sneak peek at the MacBook Airs unveiled today is here (PHOTO GALLERY).

Steve Jobs introduces COO Tim Cook, who discusses growth of Mac market. Mac share in retail in US is now over 20%, he says, meaning that roughly one in 5 PCs sold retail in the US is now a Mac. Cook describes the success of developer base growth, including Valve and Autodesk, and Microsoft. Cook then says that consumer satisfaction is helping to fuel the "Mac Momentum": American Customer Satisfaction index rates Mac #1 in consumer satisfaction, Consumer Reports rates it #1 in customer support. Apple stores sold 2.8 million Macs last year, and 50% of those were new customers. 318 stores in 11 countries. "The momentum on the Macintosh has never been more."

Steve Jobs returns and announces the launch of iLife 11. iPhoto will include new full-scren modes, Facebook and social networking integration, "big leap in books," letterpress cards, other new enhancements.

Phil Schiller, SVP, demos iPhoto 11: walks us through new slideshow features, automated mapping of photos within an album (geotagging images, displaying on map), dropping "postcards" of photos from a collection into an email without leaving the app. Demonstrates Facebook integration: within iPhoto, you can view feedback from your Facebook friends on your photos, and tag Facebook contacts within iPhoto. Schiller shows us how you'll now be able to digitally print your pics from iPhoto in the form of improved physical books and new letterpress cards. "All your projects together in one place," says Steve. (Letterpress for the masses!)

Steve takes the stage to introduce iMovie 11.

"The number one request we got after the last release was for better audio editing." That's in the new edition, along with new features including a "people finder," one-step effects, and movie trailer templates. Demo follows from Randy Ubillos, Chief Architect for video.

Audio editing tools look more sophisticated than the earlier version — waveforms can be manipulated more precisely, and drag-and-drop audio effects to cheese up your home movies. Easier addition of video effects: formerly complex tasks are reduced to "just a couple of clicks."

Movie trailer template looks fun… create a new project, outline with "Movie" name, cast names, list your directors of photography and casting, pick a studio name and logo style, then it grabs names and creates a trailer that looks like the real Hollywood deal. (Think: Christmas 2011, starring MOM!) "Full symphony behind your movies, we went to Abbey Road studios with a full orchestra."

Rob Beschizza, who's following the live webcast, observes the iMovie demo and says

This stuff is neat. It's funny to see movie making cliches made so 'available' in $100 software. Apple's quest is to make very home video indistinguishable from a 1990s Roland Emmerich blockbuster unless you know about lensess.

People finder is a very interesting addition: as you're selecting clips, you can choose shots based on whether there are people in them. Action, group, or "medium," for instance — find shots with human beings. Want a close-up shot of Linda? Nicolas? Add a one-person keyword, find a one-shot of that person up close.


Welcome to a new era of ghetto shallow depth of field. Tilt shift on the puppy! Speaking of shallow dof, see it on that lady? That footage isn't home video.
[snort]. Easy to show this stuff off when your kayaking trip was shot on rented RED.

Jobs returns to introduce Garage Band 11, and hits bullet points on new features: "Flex Time, Groove Matching, more guitar amps and effects, new piano and guitar lessons, including a feature called 'How did i play?" He introduces Xander Soren, Product Marketing.

[Xeni: it better include Auto-Tune.]

Soren walks us through how to use multi-track rhythm correction tools to make a multi-track recording of a bad garage band sound pretty good, aligning rhythm of each track using a "human rhythm," groove matching. "Kind of like an automatic spell-checker for bad rhythm."

If a particular track is too short, let's say a guitar chord that ends abruptly, you can now stretch it out: "Flex Time."

Soren demos music instruction tutorials, starting with a Mozart minuet. The instructor gives you a step-by-step, note-by-note breakdown with what finger to use at what position on the keyboard. When you're ready to play, move to the "play" chapter, and then check out the "how do I play" feature to evaluate your progress.

An engineer named Gerhard plays, against the background of a symphony orchestra from Vienna within the Garage Band 11 app, to demo the "play/evaluate" portions. He deliberately screws up to show us where timing or notes are off. The timeline now shows us in red, green, and yellow bands where he screwed up, and "where he rocked it." Every time you complete a performance, Garage Band keeps track of your history and builds a chart to show your progress over time. Works with piano, but also guitar.

Steve returns. 5 million people now using Garage Band.

Steve: iLife 11 available today, $49 to upgrade.

Next up: FaceTime.

Introduced FaceTime in June on the iPhone4, have since shipped 19 million devices with FaceTime. What could be better? Number one request: please, FaceTime between these devices and the Mac. Now, adding that with FaceTime for the Mac. Pick a contact, click on them, and initiate a call. Mac, iPod Touch, iPhone 4. Let's do a demo.

Jobs initiates a call with Phil Schiller from his Mac. Schiller's on his iPhone 4, can switch mode from vertical to landscape easily. Jobs: "Now, tens of millions of Mac users can interface with iPhone 4 users and iPod Touches."

Beta release out today. Go to, run it on your Mac, start FaceTime calling with over 19 million users on iPhone 4 and iPod Touch.

"Next up, the entree… where we're going with MacOS10."

We've done 7 releases [Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard.] Today, we are going to give you a preview of the 8th major version of MacOS10, and we call it Lion.

Jobs: :What we like to do is — we're inspired by some of the innovations in the iPad and iPhone, and we'd like to bring them back to the Mac. Mac OS10 meets the iPad.

Multitouch gestures are important on the iPad, and we think it can be important on the Mac, too."

"And the App store has revolutionized how people get their app, and how people interact with them, all on the home screen. Full screen apps can be really great, as the iPad showed us. And apps on the iPad auto-save. It's one less thing to worry about. And when you relaunch them, they resume, they automatically come up where you left them. This is how we've been inspired by iOS, and we want to bring that to the Mac."

Touch: "Touch surfaces don't want to be vertical. After an extended period of time, your arm wants to fall off. Touch surfaces want to be horizontal. Hence, pads."

"Our trackpads are the best way we've found to get multitouch on the Notebook. This is how we're going to use multitouch on our Mac products, because this [vertical gesture] does not work."

"The App store has been phenomenally successful: 7 Billion downloads from the app store. As part of Lion, we're going to have a Mac App Store."

"One-click downloads, 70/30 revenue split for developers, free and paid apps, automatic installation and automatic updates. The apps will be licensed for use on all your personal Macs."

"When you get your apps, you're going to have one place to put them: the launch pad."


Mission Control: view everything running on your Mac all at one glance, navigate anywhere. Introduces Craigh Federighi, VP. [Xeni: The Mission Control demo is REALLY fast, wonder if the software is all that great, or if he's using a crazy screaming SSD?]

Steve returns: "App Store, launching apps with Launch PAd, Move between fullscreen apps then moving back to your windows, Mission Control… our plan is to release Lion in Summer of 2011."

"But we've decided we'll put out the Mac App store on Snow Leopard and open it within 90 days. Developers can learn all about it today. Accepting app submissions from developers in November."

Steve recaps: "Macs are a $22 billion dollar business… retail market share tops 20%… we couldn't be happier with our stores, bringing new people into the Mac tent… iLife 11… FaceTime on Mac… Lion…



Steve references a "virtuous circle" of iOS and Mac OS 10… benefit in hardware, too… "What would happen if a MacBook met an iPad? Instant on… great battery life… amazing standby time…"

"Solid state storage, no optical or hard drives, thinner and lighter, even more mobile… these are great for notebooks. What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?"

This is the result. One of the most amazing things we've ever created. MacBook Air. We think it's the future of notebooks.

"It's amazingly thin, at its thickest point it's .68 inches thin, and tapers down to a tenth of an inch. Weighs 2.9 pounds."

"Complete aluminum unibody construction. Fullsize keyboard, full trackpad. 13.3 inch LED backlit display. 1440 x 900 pixels. More pixels than on the 15 inch MBP. Core 2 Duo processor. Great graphics, INVIDIA GeForce320M. FaceTime camera. No Optical Drive. No Hard Drive.

"We have gone to flash storage, complete solid state storage. Why? It's up to 2x faster than hard drives. Much more reliable, especially in a mobile environment. up to 90% smaller and lighter, completely silent operation."

"Apple is the largest user of flash memory in the world. We know a lot about SSD. Battery life: Wireless Web 7 hours, standby time is 30 days."

"It has a younger brother. In addition to the 13.3 inch, an 11.6 inch, even smaller and lighter. 2.3 pounds. "

"We're going to start off the pricing at just $999."

11.6-inch, 1.4GHz + 64 gig = $999

11.6-inch + 128 gig = $1099

13.3-inch 1.4GHz + 128GB = $1299

13.3-inch 1.86 GHz + 256 GB = $1599

All available starting today.