Apple WWDC 2014 Live Blog
Updates from the Apple event in San Francisco are in Pacific Time.
12:01 p.m. And that's a wrap. Cook closes with talk about an "integrated experience across all of our devices" and the new tools to help developers create new apps. "This is something only Apple can do," he said, as he's said many times before. The question now: How does Apple up its marketing game to make sure that consumers know the difference? No new gadgets of any kind today, but there are plenty of enhancements to existing apps coming when iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite come out in the fall. Further down the line, we should be seeing games with better graphics, more health apps and home-automation gizmos that are less of a headache to use once developers get a hold of some of the geekier stuff Apple showed off today.
11:52 a.m. OK, this is getting really, really nerdy. Apple has introduced a totally new programming language called Swift. This got the biggest collective "woah" from the crowd — no surprise at a developers conference where this is basically akin to announcing a new alphabet. This stuff is extremely difficult for this poli-sci major to comprehend. Federighi races through many geeky features. "You know how many people at home are saying what the heck are these guys talking about?" Federighi jokes.
11:49 a.m. Cook wasn't kidding. This is a broad, deep overhaul of the software under-the-hood of Apple's platforms. So much of the focus of Apple watchers in the past year has been on the expanded role of Jony Ive, as he moves from just industrial design to software interface design as well. But clearly, Federighi has been busy as well. He's more than that demo dude with the great hair, evidently.
11:39 a.m. Apple is finally letting third-party apps take advantage of Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S. That could mean no more having to type login information into each app; just use your fingerprint. Apple is also adding HomeKit, which includes new tools so all those garage doors, thermostats and smart light bulbs can be operated securely through Apple's system. The company worked with a dozen or so home-automation companies on a new protocol — essentially a language only they know so that no one can crank up your heat or make other trouble while you're on vacation. (I was a good kid; that's the most nefarious example I could come up with.)
11:35 a.m. This is big — especially on a day when Samsung announces its first phone based on its Tizen mobile operating system. When Apple rolled out the App Store in 2008, it created the blueprint that Android, Microsoft and others have largely followed. As Apple's store got more crowded, this popularity became a sort of disadvantage for developers who got lost in that crowd. If these new tools let developers create new kinds of apps — and lets users find and use them without endless hunting and pecking — this could tilt the playing field back in Apple's direction. Hell, Apple is even adding support for third-party keyboards for your iPhone, like Swype, which is very popular on Android for typing by swiping your finger from letter to letter. ("Holy mother of God," a developer sitting in the row behind me just said.)
11:29 a.m. Cook is back on stage, promising "a lot more" — not for users but for developers, to help them create new kinds of apps. There are 1.2 million apps on the App Store, which is visited by 300 milllioin people a week. But after years of complaints about overcrowding, Apple is adding new discovery, app search and new marketing programs, including the ability to buy packages of apps with one click and to see in-store previews. Also, there's an app called TestFlight, where developers can run beta programs to have friends and family help them get the bugs out. The tools are "the biggest release since the launch of the App Store."
11:27 a.m. More on China: "greatly improved maps," says Federighi. The rest of the world could use the same. Chinese will also get support for the lunar calendar. better weather data and improved Chinese-language input.
11:25 a.m. There are some other interesting additions that Federighi is highlighting. For example, when you plug in your phone in the car, you can say, "Hey, Siri," to activate the voice assistant. Android has had this with, "OK, Google." Siri can also name that tune thanks to an integration with Shazam, which Bloomberg News reported earlier this year.
11:23 a.m. The Photos app is actually getting some much-needed improvements, including image editing. And with iCloud Drive, you can store not only photos but also videos. Prices are reasonable: 200 gigabytes for $4 a month.
11:19 a.m. Federighi demos new photo features with "beautiful buttery scrolling." OK then.
11:15 a.m. Good news, parents. Thanks to family-sharing features, you can see all purchases by up to six family members — and when Johnny tries to buy that game, he is prompted to ask for permission.
11:14 a.m. For the new health initiative, Apple is working with Nike, Mayo Clinic and other organizations. Because of hooks to iOS, many health organizations that work with health-care software maker Epic can easily and automatically share health information from iPhone and iPad users with their health providers. I thought there would be more to this, but that was it. I'm guessing we're not going to see that health-focused iWatch today. But one never knows.
11:11 a.m. Here comes the much-rumored health push. It's called HealthKit and comes with a new app called Health.
11:10 a.m. Messages is the most used app on IOS, Federighi says, and now Apple has removed headaches — like the inability to remove someone from a group chat. Greg Joswiak, or "Joz", shows off the new Messages in a demo. If you click on a Details button, you can see information such as friends' locations. (Each person share their location for a specified period of time.) And Apple one-ups Snapchat: You can listen to an audio message simply by lifting it to your ear. Speak a response, and your message is sent when you lower the phone from your ear.
11:06 a.m. The Messages app gets some Snapchat-like features: Hold down the camera button to send a picture or video, or the microphone button to send an audio message. All of these can self-destruct. Sound familiar? There's also group messaging similar to WhatsApp.
11:00 a.m. Death to auto-correct errors: A feature called QuickType offers predictive typing, which basically gives you options to respond to messages with commonly used phrases. For example, the software interprets a question about whether to do dinner or a movie tonight, and gives the user options to respond with "Dinner" or "A movie."
10:58 a.m. Federighi formally unveils iOS 8. First, he's talking about new features. The sidebar from Yosemite is now available on iOS devices. If you double-tap the home button, you can see all your recent recipients as bubble heads. There are ways to quickly view, delete or mark a message unread with finger swipes. It's not surprising to see so much focus on Mail — probably the single most used app there is, but one where Gmail and other alternatives are catching up.
10:51 a.m. More than 130 million customers in the last 12 months bought their first Apple device, Cook says. He says 89 percent of customers are using the latest release of iOS, while only 9 percent of Android are running its most recent KitKat release. That still doesn't change the fact that way more people around the world are choosing Android phones over Apple ones.
10:48 a.m. WWDC bingo: China! Cook says nearly half of iPhone customers in China in the past 6 months switched from Android.
10:46 a.m. As part of the demo, Federighi calls Dr. Dre to welcome him to the company. And have I mentioned yet that Federighi is killing it with this presentation? Lots of laughs, including mild digs at some of his colleagues, such as Jony Ive's design sensibilities and accent: You haven't camped til you use one of his a-lu-minium custom-designed camp forks, he joked.
10:44 a.m. Federighi is back to discuss what is clearly a key concept of these releases: continuity. One example is AirDrop, which now works between IOS and the Mac for wirelessly transferring files. And there's the Hand Off feature, which lets you swipe upwards on your iPad or iPhone to pick up editing an e-mail you started on your Mac and vice versa. This is something that will matter, at least to this particular customer. And this is cool: phone calls and "green bubble" text messages to your iPhone show up on your Mac screen, and you can even choose to take the call on the computer. For the past two decades, enterprise computing companies such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems have been working on expensive, complicated "unified communications" suites. This is Apple at its best: making such integration much simpler — assuming it actually works.
10:37 a.m. Apple's Brian Croll is up now, singing the praises of Safari and Mail. For example, you can scroll through many tabs. Nice touch. All this focus on Safari for Mac overlooks the fact that the app has less than 10 percent market share among global desktop Web browsers, according to Stat Counter. On Mail, there's a "recent recipients" feature lets you send a photo to someone right from a drop-down menu — after using a feature called Mark-Up to write a note or annotate an image.
10:27 a.m. Apple is getting into the online storage business, with iCloud Drive. It makes documents available on Macs, iOS devices and Windows. It will be interesting to see how the iCloud team, which has come under fire for some miscues in the past few years, pulls this off when there are so many alternatives, including Dropbox, Box and Microsoft's OneDrive.
10:25 a.m. The new Spotlight now integrates various types of information — contact info, your past e-mails and such. If you type in a movie, it will show you where it's playing and whatever streaming video is available via iTunes.
10:20 a.m. There's a more customizable Notification Center and a richer version of the Spotlight search bar that pops out in the middle of the screen.
10:18 a.m. Craig Federighi, head of software development, comes on stage to unveil OS X Yosemite, keeping with the California-theme naming. No surprise, it looks very much like iOS 7, based on the short video he just showed. Cue the complaints from Mac-loving curmudgeons, who don't want all that cheerfulness on their main PC. But don't worry. There's a "dark mode" that tones down all those colorful icons. There's even a "gorgeous new trash-can," he jokes. "You wouldn't believe how much time we spent creating that trash can."
10:11 a.m. Here's the Mac update: PC industry fell 5 percent in 2013, while Apple was up 12 percent, Cook boasts. The installed base is now 80 million people, an all-time high. Though, that's not a story. It'll be interesting when they don't hit a new high ... whenever that is.
10:10 a.m. The focus of the announcement will be the integration of Mac OS and iOS — plus, what Cook calls the "mother of all" developer updates. That probably means no new gadgets.
10:09 a.m. Cook says developers from 69 countries are represented at WWDC. Two-thirds of the attendees are at their first WWDC. The youngest developer in the audience is 13, Cook says. There are 9 million registered developers, up about 50% from last year, he says.
10:06 a.m. Tim Cook takes the stage. Lots of iPhones clicking pictures.
10:06 a.m. Baseball hitting coaches, environmentalists, one old guy who plays Solitaire, which he likes because he "always wins." A guy who can use his prosthetic hand robotically. This is not the typical Apple video. It's much longer, but more nuanced. Clearly, Apple is trying to push the difference between the quality of experience one gets with Apple, versus other platforms.
10:01 a.m. Presentation starts with a video, highlighting cool apps used by non-techies.
9:59 a.m. Speaking of shout-outs, a Coldplay song is playing. I think it must be a contractual obligation at this point. Seems to happen every Apple event.
9:58 a.m. Everyone is taking their seats, and we should be kicking off any minute now.
9:55 a.m. Coming to WWDC is always a reminder of Apple's marketing pull. There's lots of home automation gizmos out there that will probably die undiscovered. If Apple really is going to announce a home automation push today, some entrepreneurs in this space may be in for the ultimate tech industry shout-out.
9:52 a.m. Without sounding like a broken record at these Apple things, we’re still waiting for the mythical iWatch and new TV product. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been promising new product categories for a while. At a conference last week, Eddy Cue, the company’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, said: “We’ve got the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple."
9:49 a.m. WWDC hasn’t recently been the place where Apple unveils flagship products, like the iPhone and iPad. Apple will need to do something soon, as global smartphone shoppers clamor for larger phones and as interest in tablets wanes, but that probably won’t happen today. It’s possible we’ll see a new laptop or iMac.
9:44 a.m. The "Bloomberg West" crew is live from outside Moscone Center now. Tune into Bloomberg TV for updates and analysis. Apple is live streaming the event on its website, but you'll need an Apple device to watch it.
9:40 a.m. My eagle-eyed colleague Adam Satariano has spotted several Silicon Valley bigwigs roaming around the conference. Jimmy Iovine is chatting with his new boss, Eddy Cue. The file-sharing gurus are around, including Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Box's Aaron Levie. Tech investor Ron Conway is also here.
9:36 a.m. Listen for the magic word today: China. Apple hasn’t been shy to discuss the importance of the largest mobile market to its business. The latest versions of the iPhone and iPad were each made available for the first time in China on the same day as the U.S. Apple has even started holding little shindigs in Beijing. As Xiaomi and other Chinese upstarts squeeze Apple further on their home turf, look for Tim Cook and Co. to make overtures geared toward customers in China.
9:29 a.m. In the meantime, we could see a feature similar to Shazam that lets you identify a song playing at a bar or over the radio, Bloomberg News reported in April. iTunes Radio is due for an expansion to other countries. It’s only in the U.S. and Australia right now.
9:24 a.m. The biggest news in Apple land right now is the $3 billion acquisition of Beats. The headphones are cool, and the subscription music streaming service marks an about-face for Apple from the era of Steve Jobs, who insisted that people wanted to own their own music. But it’s unlikely that we’ll hear much about that besides maybe a cameo by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre on stage. That’s because Apple doesn’t expect the deal to close until the fall.
9:13 a.m. Don’t forget about computers. WWDC is also typically where Apple unveils the next version of Mac OS X. Expect the look and feel to be more colorful and fun like iOS, and to be more integrated with IOS, as well. Now that Apple has its gigantic installed base, there’s no better way to keep customers loyal than through a sticky, consistent user interface. And best of all, the new version should be a free upgrade.
9:05 a.m. iOS 8 could bring some entirely new capabilities. Apple is expected to include hooks in the software for home automation, promoting the iPhone as a remote control for lights, speaker systems and television sets, according to the Financial Times. Several recent hires in the health-care industry, along with reports from the likes of 9to5Mac, point to a new app for keeping track of exercise and vitals. The designs should have been led from their early stages by Jony Ive, who has been steadily expanding his authority over software.
8:56 a.m. We’re guaranteed to get at least one new thing today, and that's iOS 8. Over the last week, Apple has been hanging banners around Moscone Center here showing the number eight surrounded by water. The new operating system for iPhone and iPad could certainly use some improvements to iCloud — not least of which is the issue with texts sent via iMessage not getting delivered, which was the subject of a lawsuit last month. Apple may make use of the small team it acquired last year behind Cue, an app that acted as a personal assistant and search engine for a user’s cloud data. (Maybe Internet software chief Eddy Cue will come out on cue to talk about the contributions of the Cue team.) That could be useful for improving Siri or Notification Center. Another app desperately in need of an upgrade: Apple Maps. Look for the company to add public-transit directions based on its purchase of Hopstop last summer.
8:45 a.m. Apple's annual conference for software developers is set to kick off today. I’ve been to nearly 20 of these events — from the very dark days of the mid-1990s to the ridiculously good last decade or so. This one feels like an important one. Is Apple the aging giant that’s lost its mojo, that had to buy Beats to rekindle its cool? Or does it have some tricks up its sleeve that will open up exciting new opportunities – home automation, Internet of Things, wearable computers, streaming services? I'll be live blogging from the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, which starts at 10 a.m. (1 p.m. Eastern Time). Refresh this page for updates from the event.