Live from San Francisco: Steve Jobs unveils the iCloud

June 6, 2011, 2:09 PM UTC

Apple cuts the cord that connected its mobile devices to Macs and PCs

Steve Jobs on stage. Photo: PED

12:00 p.m. PDT (3 p.m EDT) Jobs thanks the crowd for coming and hopes they have a great week.

In summary, Apple on Monday introduced three major new products: iCloud, iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion.

The most important was the one Steve Jobs chose to personally unveil: iCloud, a service that automatically uploads files you create on one device, stores them on Apple’s servers, and downloads them on the rest of your devices. This makes it relatively painless to share, sync and backup all sorts of data — photos, music, documents, apps. The service — unlike the $99 per year MobileMe that it replaces — is free with one exception: songs not purchased through iTunes can be serviced through iCloud for an annual fee of $24.99 (similar services from Amazon and Google don’t work as well and cost much more.)

Only the music service is available now to users. The rest will come online when Apple releases iOS 5, sometime next fall.

Once Apple got through the OS X Lion demo (which was a repeat of material Apple previewed last fall), the crowd was enthusiastic and loudly appreciative, frequently interrupting the proceedings with applause, cheers and whistles. Several new iOS features were particularly well-received: wireless syncing and backups, easier access to the camera app (and a new shutter-release button), and a new split keyboard that looks exactly like the one Microsoft (MSFT) demoed at All Things D last week.

Below: Our live-blog of the event, posted in reverse chronological order. All times are PDT.

11:20 a.m. Third tent-pole: iCloud. Steve Jobs takes the stage for this one.

Goes back to when Apple realized that the PC would be the digital hub for music, photos, etc.

It worked fine for the better part of 10 years, but it’s broken down in the last few years. All devices now have photos, video, music. How do you get a song from iPhone to iPad? Have to sync everything to the Mac.

“Keeping these devices in sync is driving us crazy!”

We’re going to demote the PC and the Mac to be just another device. We’re going to move the hub to the cloud. Pictures taken on the iPhone get sent to cloud and pushed to all the  devices automatically.

Some people think the cloud is just a hard disk in the sky. We think its way more than that. We call it iCloud.

iCloud stores your content in the cloud, and pushes it automatically to all your devices. Also completely integrated with all your apps. There is nothing new to learn. It just all works.

You might ask, why should I believe them. They’re the ones that brought us MobileMe.

3 key things in Mobile me: Contacts, Calendar, Mail. Now in iCloud.

Update a contact, it’s automatically sent to cloud and updated and all my devices.

Calendar works the same way. Added calendar sharing, say between husband and wife for soccer calendar. We think you’re going to love the new calendars.

Mail was in the best shape of all, but better now. Give you a address, now ads. We just don’t want ads.

Photo: This is my next ...

We used to sell them for $99 annually. As of today, Free. Big applause.

But we didn’t stop there. We’ve got 3 new apps.

1. The App Store. For all your purchase history, you can see it on all your devices, even if your device isn’t on that device. Sent automatically. No extra charge. For apps bought in the future, downloaded automatically to all your devices.

2. iBooks. Same thing. Purchase history shows as little cloud. Future purchases downloaded to all devices. If reading on one device, bookmark stored on cloud and pushed to all your other devices. “It all just works.”

3. Backup. Wireless backup to the cloud. Once daily we’re going to backup “a lot of your important data” to the cloud. If you lose your phone or buy a new one, automatically added to new device.

Backup music, apps, books, camera roll, device settings, app data.

We couldn’t stop there. Three more:

1. Documents in the cloud. If I create a Pages document, it stores it in the cloud and all the devices I have Pages on. Same with Pages, Numbers and Keynote. (Even the versions sent last week.)

Roger Rosner takes the stage to demo. Demos Keynote iPad to iPhone. Does with Pages from iPhone to iPad. Thats how iWorks works with iCloud.

Jobs is back. This completes our iOS document storage story. Made it so you don’t have to worry about documents, which was always that hardest thing to teach a new user.

Releasing cloud storage APIs for developers (big applause and whistles).

Works for Macs and PCs too.

We think this is going to be pretty big.

Photo: This is my next ...

2. Photo Stream. Brings the cloud to photos. How many times have we taken photos on iPhone and wanted to share on iPad. That’s what Photo Stream does, across all our devices. Photos automatically sent to cloud and downloaded to all my devices. Also works with imported photos. Built this right into the apps, so there’s nothing new to learn. There’s a button on the app called Photo Stream, right next to your albums. On the Mac, its built into iPhoto. On PC, use the pictures folder. Even built into Apple TV. Talks directly to the photo servers, not through PC. To save space on iOS, stores the last 1,000 photos. If you want to save more, create an album. On Mac and PC, stores them all. On server farm, stores for 30 days, plenty to time to download to your devices.

Eddy Cue takes stage to demo Photo Stream.

Jobs is back. Summarizes: works over Wi-Fi (not 3G?).

Last but not least…

Photo: This is my next...

3. iTunes in the Cloud. It’s the same old story. I buy something on my iPhone and it’s not on my iPod.

For songs you’ve already bought, it shows your purchase history. Anything I bought, I can download to any of my devices at not additional charge. First time we’ve seen this in the music industry. In the future, flick a switch in settings and it will put any song I purchase on all my devices.

Cue is back for demo. (Keeping Jobs’ appearances short; he looks thin as usual but his endurance may be limited.)

Jobs is back. Summarizes  iTunes in the cloud. Up to 10 devices.

Summary: 9 apps, all free. We want every user to take advantage of these. We want people to see what the devices and the software can do.

So that’s iCloud. It stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices. Competitors can never do this.

Sign in with your Apple iD and password and you’re in.

5GB of free storage, not counting photostream, music or books.

Available today in developer beta.

For users, iTunes in the cloud available on beta OS 4.3. Ships concurrently with iOS in fall.

One more small thing. So far, only for songs bought on iTunes.

3 ways you can deal with that. Snc new devices (Wi-fi or cable) and iCloud will take care of them

Or buy the ones you want.

Photo: This is my next ...

Or use iTunes match. Uses the fact that we have 18 million songs on our store. We wrote (i.e. bought from Lala) software than matches your ripped songs. Will upload the few that remain. And will match those songs with 256kbps AAC FRM-free. Scan and match in minutes.

iTunes Match costs $24.99 per year for up to 20,000 songs. (Amazon charges $200; Google hasn’t announced its prices.

If you don’t think we’re serious about this, you’re wrong. Shows photos of Maiden, N.C. data center. Photos of interior. We are ready for our customers to start using iCloud.

I hope you liked all the three things we unveiled this morning. We have a great week ahead for you.

So go at it, have a great week, and thank you very much for coming.

And that’s a wrap.

Forestall. Photo: Engadget

10:38 a.m. Second tent-pole: iOS 5. Scott Forestall takes the stage (no Steve Jobs to do the transition?) Does the big numbers:

Sold over 200 million iOS devices. The No. 1 mobile operating system with 44% of the market (Android by this measure has 28%).

Sold more than 25 million iPads in 14 months.

Sold more than 15 billion songs on the iTunes music store.

Download more than 130 million books from iBookstore.

More than 425,000 apps on the App Store. More than 90,000 made specifically for the iPad. More than 14 billion apps downloaded in less than 3 years.

Apple has paid out more than $2.5 billion to developers making apps for the app store.

Trots out a few examples from games, business, medicine, aviation.

More than 225 million accounts all with credit cards and 1-click purchasing.

Going to iOS 5. A major release. More than 1,500 new APIs (developers groan). More than 200 new features.The top 10:

1. Notifications. Scoring alerts, audio, badges. Pushed more than 100 billion push notifications. Customers wanted a better user interface. Notification Center: a single place that combines all your notifications. Just swipe down from the top to reveal it. Pretty cool. Has missed calls, facebook alerts, texts, stocks and weather. No longer interrupting — message appears on the top. More info the lock screen. Slide your finger and it goes right to the app. This is new and looks very well thought out.

2. Newsstand. Subscriptions “most of the major magazines have signed up” … names National Geographic, Spin, Vanity Fair, Pop Science, GQ, Elle, Oprah, Wired, New Yorker, New York Times. Created a place on the App Store that looks like the iBookstore. Does background downloads — happens while you are sleeping. Sets the cover to be the new cover. (Note: Time Inc. was not mentioned.)

3. Twitter. 1 billion tweets sent per week. Adding single sign on, for all twitter clients. Integrated into Cameras and Photos. Take a picture, hit the tweet option, and you’ve tweeted the photo. Also articles from Safari, videos from YouTube. Automatically update photos in your contact list from twitter photos.

Three new items for Safari. Nearly 2/3 of all mobile web browsing is done on Safari. Even android uses the Apple engine.

4.1 New Reader button brings the story you are reading front and center with no distractions. You can also e-mail the contents, not just the link. Works on iPad and iPhone.

4.2 Reading List. This is their version of Instapaper.

4.3 Tab browsing. Like Safari on the Mac.

5. Reminders. Stores multiple lists of things to do, by date, by location (!). “Remind me to call my wife when I leave Moscone West.” Syncs with iCal and Windows.

6. Camera. One of the most popular cameras — already the most popular camera on a phone on Flickr, will soon be the no 1. First: A shortcut from the lock screen to make it easier to take a quick photo, even skipping passcode. And you can take the photo with the volume up button (the crowd likes that one). Option grid lines. Pinch to zoom. Auto focus and auto exposure lock. Edit on iPhone and iPad. Crop, rotate, red-eye reduction, one-click enhance.

7. Mail. Indention control. Draggable addresses. Flag and unflag. Search entire content on phone and on mail server. Swipe to inbox on iPad. Support for S/MIME for enterprise customers (whatever that means). Built-in dictionary for all apps now, not just iBooks. Can split the keyboard for thumb typers (Microsoft demoed this last week at All Things D.)

8. PC Free. Icon of scissors cutting a USB cable. Big applause. For customers who want an iOS device but don’t have a computer. Set-up and activate without a PC. Software updates over the air. More applause. Delta updates — just download what’s changed. Create and delete calendars from iOS device. Can create and delete mailboxes. All to make it easier to “cut the cord.”

9. Game Center. Claims the most entertainment platform on the planet. 100,000 titles. In 9 months, 50 million game center users. (But do they use it? I don’t.) To make it better, adding… Photos, achievement points, friends of friends, recommended friends, game recommendations, purchase directly from game center, added support for turn-based games (like Scrabble) supported in iOS

10. iMessage. Rumbles in the audience. New messaging service for all iOS customers — i.e., added texting for iPad and iPod touch.  New features: delivery receipts, optional read receipts, typing indication (you know if someone is typing), pushed to all your devices, 3G + Wi-fi, and everything sent encrypted. Greg Joswiak (sp?) takes stage to demo iPad to iPhone messaging.

Forestall does the summary. Other fatures: AirPlay mirroring (wireless to TV), Wi-Fi sync to iTunes (big applause), automatic backups, flick between apps. Lists new features in the software developer kit that are over my head.

When? Developer seed today (shouts, big applause). Ships to customers “this fall.” iPhone 3Gs and later. I guess it’s free. He didn’t say.

Schiller. Photo: This is my next ...

10:04 a.m. First of three tent-poles: Mac OS X.  Phil Schiller talks Mac numbers. 54 million users. Shows IDC chart of PC market shrinking while Mac grew 28%. Big applause.

He’s going to talk about 10 features. Note: We saw most, if not all of these things, last September, at the Back to the Mac event. The crowd sits silently through the recitation.

1. Multi-touch scrolling. 2. Full-screen applications. 3. Mission control.

Craig takes the stage to demo these first three. An unfortunate BBC headline about “Strauss-Kahn sex charges” gets a laugh.

Two-finger swiping through Safari pages gets an applause. Gets big laughs for some wizzy face-tracking technology in PhotoBooth for comic relief.

Schiller is back to talk about…

4. The Mac App Store. (Now the No. 1 PC channel for buying software, now built-into Lion, with in-app purchases and live updating. 5. Launchpad, an iOS feature ported over. 6. Resume (back to where you were when you quit, system-wide, down to the text you had selected). 7. Autosave, now includes “revert to last opened” or “browse all versions.” 8. Versions, which looks like TimeMachine. Stores only the changes from the last saved version.

Craig back up to do the demo.  Shows how photos from one version can be copied and pasted into the latest one.

9. Airdrop. Peer-to-peer Wi-fi based network. This may be Apple’s version of Dropbox. 10. Mail. A new version. Two or three-column view. Full height message window. Favorites bar. Search suggestions, boolean searches. Conversation view, breaks up messages and shows them as they were sent.

Craig comes up to show off mail. Big applause for a boolean search of messages from Phil Schiller about reservations sent last month.

Schiller summarizes: those were the top 10 features in OS X Lion. Rattles off a few more. FileVault 2, Facetime, etc. More than 3,000 new APIs for the programmers to hook into.

Will be available on the Mac App Store (no optical disk). 4GB in size. Installs in place. Works on all your authorized Macs (big applause). In the past OS X updates were $129. This one is priced at $29. Big applause. Available for the rest of us in July.

10:00 a.m. Steve Jobs takes the stage. Standing ovation.

“We’ve gone an awesome morning.” 5,200 attendees. Over 120 sessions. Over 100 hands-on labs. Over 1,000 Apple engineers.

“We’re going to talk about three things today.” Software is the soul.

Starting with OS X Lion. Invites Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi to take us through demos.

9:53 a.m. The room is full and the doors are closed. Cellphones off. A camera is scanning the crowd and displaying video on a pair of oversize screens.

The press photographers. Photo: PED

9:33 a.m. The doors open and four mad rushes begin. First the press photographers, who race in to occupy a set of raised benches stage right. Then the V.I.P.s, who sit front-row center. Then the rest of the media, who nearly trample each other rushing for the best seats near the stage. Finally, at 9:40, the developers. Having waited for this moment — and paid $1,599 for their seats — they may be forgiven for losing all decorum and tearing in at full gallop.

8:15 a.m. We’re in the building. Outside we counted 10 satellite trucks representing at least three national networks (CNN, FOX, CNBC and Bloomberg) and maybe a half dozen local stations. That’s one less TV truck than the 11 that turned up for the iPad original unveiling in January 2010, which suggests media interest is high, but not historic.

CNBC's Fortt, with iPhone. Photo: PED

The national cable stations have parked themselves at the front entrance and the “talent” (as the crew call the folks wearing makeup) are doing their standups. First in line is my old Fortune colleague Jon Fortt, now at CNBC.

Meanwhile, developers have started to file into the convention center. Even with bunching near the door the queue wrapped all the way around the big city block, with the tail only a few yards from the head. According to Apple staff, the main hall seats just north of 4,000 warm bodies. There will be more than 5,000 registered developers and untold numbers of press and V.I.Ps trying to elbow their way in.

On the NASDAQ, Apple’s shares have been bouncing around at high volume. Who knows what the high-frequency traders are up to. It’s probably a dangerous day for small investors to play this stock. [Shares closed at $338.04, down $5.40 (1.57%) for the day.]

7:20 a.m. The press has started to queue up outside Moscone West, which is odd, since any member of the media who has preregistered is guaranteed a seat near the front of the main hall.

7:00 a.m. Text from Apple PR: Media registration opens at 8:00 a.m.

Developers developers developers developers. Photo: PED

6:00 a.m. At daybreak, the line of developers outside Moscone West stretches for more than two blocks, up 4th Street and down Minna Street as a far as the eye can see.

Everybody in line already has tickets for the 2011 edition of Apple’s (AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference; they sold out in a record 10 hours the day they went on sale. What these developers are queuing up for is to make sure they get one of the thousands of seats in the main hall, where Steve Jobs will give his keynote, and not in some spillover lounge watching it on a monitor.

Holding pride of place at the head of the line is a portly developer who says he got there at 1:30 a.m., eight and a half hours early. He has bad knees, he explains, and might not make it to the hall at all if he doestn’t get a good head start.

For background, see The murkiest WWDC ever, Kevin Fox’s WWDC wishlist and Why Steve Jobs’ keynotes matter.