Live (sort of) blog: Back to the Mac

October 20, 2010, 4:44 PM UTC

We’ll be watching Apple’s live video stream from the comfort of our home. You can join us.

Image: Apple Inc.

If you want live blogging from reporters who actually traveled to Apple’s (AAPL) Cupertino campus for today’s event, there are plenty of sites to choose from, including Macrumors, MacDailyNews, TUAW, All Things Digital, Engadget, Gizmodo and ArsTechnica.

We’re content to watch it from home. You’re welcome to watch it with us. Click here. If you missed it the first time, Apple will eventually post it here.

I’m assuming that if you’ve tuned in here you’ll be watching the live video and aren’t looking to me for any daring feats of speed typing. But if I see something worth commenting on, I will. Feel free to do the same in the comment stream.

My posts will appear in chronological order, newest posts lasts. Your comments (if there are any) will work the other way, newest posts first.

It’s 1 p.m. here in Brooklyn and the live stream has started. Great video quality on my iPad.

COO Tim Cook is getting a chance to talk about some the things he didn’t get to say during the earnings call, thanks to his boss sucking up all the oxygen in the room. The Mac didn’t get much attention in Monday’s earning report — or in the weeks leading up to it — and he’s showing some love today.

This is the first time Apple has commented publicly on AutoDesk coming back to the Mac, which was big news for designers and engineers.

Most of the numbers Cook is trotting out — like the 75 million visitors to Apple’s retail stores — were in Monday’s roundup.

Gotta love Steve Jobs taking it on himself to tell the audience to silence their cellphones.

The iLife update was expected. Would that the improved connection to Facebook in iPhoto 11 were echoed in Ping, which still doesn’t work properly.

Drinking game: A shot every time Phil Schiller says “amazing” or “incredible.”

Places would be more useful if we all had geotagging cameras. And how many slideshow templates does any human need? I’d be happier if I could turn off that damn Ken Burns effect once and for all!

Interesting how much emphasis they are putting on social networking in iPhoto. Apple was slow to recognize the importance of this stuff. Hard to tell whether adding these bells and whistles to their software packages will be enough to let them catch up. My sense is that the Facebook train has already left the station.

Making books from iPhoto is cool. Too bad they’re so expensive. I expect letterpress cards won’t be any cheaper, although they could give Hallmark something to worry about.

Jobs: “This is why we do what we do.” He’s been using that at least once every event lately. “Us mere mortals” is another favorite.

Some of these demos — like the new audio editing features in iMovie — go by too fast. I can never remember these “really really easy” steps when I have to to them.

Does anybody who makes movies professionally actually use iMovie? Some of these features are seem a bit over the top for amateur videography. But maybe it’s been long since I made a home movie. Certainly not of the quality of Apple’s “Babes in Paris” trailer.

Glad to see Apple product managers like Xander Soren getting some face time. Steve Jobs used to keep these guys well hidden.

I have the same question about GarageBand that I have about iMovie: do professional musicians actually use this program to do serious work? Would you get laughed out of meeting with a major label if you showed up with a demo CD cut on GarageBand?

I was pretty disappointed with the celebrity music lessons the first time they introduced it. Jobs promised that the four or five he demoed were just the start. I may have missed it, but never saw another one.

But this “How did I play?” feature could have made the piano lessons I took as a 6-year-old a lot less painful.

$49. That is cheap. And available today is classic Apple. No vaporware. Love the shout-out for Greg.

Has anybody made a FaceTime phone call? Jobs says there are 19 million devices, but nobody I know has one. So FaceTime for the Mac is big news in my family. Smart move. The beta release is today. The biggest news for me so far today.

The entree for today (not one more thing) is sneak peak Mac OS X Lion (no surprise there).

The “philosophy” of Back to the Mac: The connection between Mac OS X and iOS made explicit. “Mac OS X meets the iPad.” I.E. an App Store, full-screen apps, apps that auto save and auto resume.

This is smart, because the App Store is one place where Apple has taken a big head start.

Jobs dissing vertical touch screens is a classic. “Your arm falls off.”

Over 7 billion apps downloaded. Is this a new milestone? I’ll have to check.

Some cool features in the Mac App Store, including licensing for all your Macs.

I’d be happy to see Mission Control work. I’m still confused by Expose and Spaces.

The demo of how you install an app with the new Mac app store was pretty impressive. The app jumps from the store to the dock. Reminds me what a nightmare installing apps on Windows used to be.

Mission Control is going to take some getting used to. There are a lot of secret handshakes to learn.

Timing: “this summer, summer 2011.”

But putting the Mac App Store on Snow Leopard within 90 days is cool.

Jobs is reviewing today’s content. Will there be a new piece of hardware? He has 19 minutes left to do it.

But there is one more thing….

Jobs is pitching it as a MacBook meeting a iPad. “Hooked up” gets a chuckle.

The rumor mills did not fail us. There is a new MacBook Air. Thin is cool. But 2.9 pounds is heavier than I was hoping for. 13.3 inch (no 11 inch?) lots of pixels. Flash storage (no hard drive) Otherwise not that different from the old MacBook Air, as far as I can see. 30 day standby battery life is cool. 7 hours wireless web is less impressive, but it does get you cross country.

What’s inside this puppy? The photos on the rumor sites were accurate.

Ah, there is a younger brother. 11.6 inch. (Another win for the rumor site). 2.3 pounds is more like it. The iPad is 1.5 pounds, but it doesn’t have a keyboard. Battery life is less (5 hours wireless web) I could live with one of these.

Pricing starts at $999 for the 11.6 inch with 64 GB flash. Available starting today. Pretty classy. Ends, as has become a tradition, with an ad and a Jony Ive video. I could listen to him pronounce “aluminum” all day long.

And that’s a wrap.

The one downside of covering this from Brooklyn: I don’t get to play with the new toys in the hands-on room. But not having to take the JetBlue red-eye back to JFK? Priceless.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]