Apple unveils Retina-display MacBook, new maps, adds Facebook, improves Siri at WWDC

Apple has unveiled Facebook integration with its software as well as a new Maps app to replace Google’s service. Its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco was also shown a new high-end MacBook Pro with a high-resolution Retina display.

The WWDC keynote, led by Tim Cook, chief executive, gave final details on Mountain Lion, the next version of its Mac operating system and unveiled iOS 6 – an update to the iPhone and iPad’s interface and apps.  The improvements to software and hardware – the whole MacBook range was upgraded – will help Apple better compete with Android devices and Ultrabooks that will soon feature Windows 8. The news is detailed in our live blog of the event after the jump.

12.20pm Thanks for reading this live blog, it was a nice mix of hardware and software news today – the new MacBooks look more competitive with the second wave of Ultrabooks running Windows that are now appearing, and Mountain Lion will boost their appeal when it becomes available next month. I’m heading back to the San Francisco bureau, Tim Bradshaw in London has a summary of all the important news.

12.15pm Out in the foyer, those banners have now been unveiled featuring Siri and Maps and there are two revolving pedestals, shielded by glass, showing the new MacBook. Hard to get close to it, so many people are taking pictures.

12pm So a lot packed into nearly two hours there, but no announcement as rumoured on Apple TV being opened up to third-party developers. I was impressed by the new Maps application, although the regular street view did not look quite as rich as Google’s. The Flyover feature was stunning though. Facebook integration is very welcome. The new MacBook with its Retina display is a thing of beauty, but few will be able to afford its $2,200-plus price tag.

11.54am Everyone is streaming out to the sound of Gold on the Ceiling by the Black Keys.

11.51am Tim Cook is back to sum up – the new MacBook, Mountain Lion, iOS 6 with new maps and Facebook integration, “Only Apple could make such amazing hardware, software and services, we are so proud of these products,” he says. “The products we make combined with the apps that you create can fundamentally change the world and really I can’t think of a better reason for getting up in the morning…thank you very much for coming and joining us.”…and that’s it.

11.49am A beta of iOS 6 is being given to developers today, it will ship to consumers this autumn and will work on the iPhone 3GS and up and the fourth generation iPod touch.

11.44am There’s a demo and the biggest “Wow” from the crowd is for Flyover – a tilting of an aerial map to go into a 3D mode that lets you fly over a city, a little like Google Earth, but the graphics are stunning.

11.39am A new maps application is unveiled as expected – rebuilt from the ground up – goodbye Google! It’s integrated with Yelp for reviews, plus there is a traffic overlay and finally some decent turn-by-turn navigation, aided by Siri. Kids can ask “Are we there yet?” and Siri says: “Relax and enjoy the drive, you’ll be there in 14 minutes.” 3D aerial maps look great as well.

11.37am Guided Access is shown next, making apps simpler for autistic children.

11.34am A new integrated app Passbook combines your passes for tickets and loyalty cards, so a movie ticket pops up when you get to the cinema. This looks cool – demo follows (bad news for apps like CardStar though). We’re shown a Starbucks card appearing on the phone as you walk into the store, a boarding pass being updated with a gate change.

11.28am Safari has iCloud tabs – what you have open elsewhere – in iOS 6. Shared photo streams are being introduced – up to now now iCloud’s Photo Stream has been private.  People can now comment on shared streams.

11.24am Next, Phone app enhancements. Reply with Message option sends a text message to an incoming caller. Remind Me Later can send you an alert to call someone back who’s calling, geofencing will allow you to set this for when you leave home or the office. Do Not Disturb tells the phone not to bother you with notifications. Yes! This means I don’t have to put my phone in airplane mode every night anymore – otherwise, it lights up and buzzes the whole night through. Facetime is being enabled over a cellular data connection, as well as Wi-Fi, with iOS 6. Your Apple ID is also unified with your phone number, so it can be answered on an iPad or Mac.

11.22am Siri will be introduced on the new iPad and local search works beyond the US now. Next, Facebook integration- making it much easier to post to Facebook from lots of different apps. Twitter and Facebook are in the Notifications Center now and Facebook contacts will appear in Contacts.

11.17am Siri is also better on restaurants and movie information. We’re watching a movie trailer Siri has found. Asking about Scarlett Johansson’s movies brings up a list. Siri has also learnt how to launch apps – Play Temple Run, he says, and the game pops up – now that is useful if you have hundreds of apps on your iPhone/iPad. He’s just told us Siri knows  the English Premier League – so who will win the title next season? Auto manufacturers will also offer Siri integration over the next 12 months. There will be Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese Siris.

11.12am He announces iOS 6 with 200 new features. There are improvements to Siri voice recognition. Siri now knows about sports – we are shown a box score when he asks how the San Francisco Giants did yesterday. We also see Buster Posey and his batting average when he asks for them. There are also the National League standings. Basketball questions follow the baseball. Lebron James is taller than Kobe Bryant we learn. NFL gridiron as well. Of course, he doesn’t think of asking how England fared against France today, so the jury is out on soccer.

11.09am Now Scott Forstall is onstage to talk about iOS, 365m iOS devices sold through the end of March. He compares it to Android 4.0, where 7 per cent of users are running this latest version, compared to 80 per cent of iOS users using iOS 5

11.08am Mountain Lion will ship in July for $20, $10 cheaper than the Lion upgrade.

11.04am The Stig is onstage from Top Gear to play a racing game…but he’s introduced as Mr X, so maybe it’s not the Stig.

11.01am AirPlay Mirroring is a feature I’m looking forward – sending video in up to 1080p quality fromyour Mac to Apple TV for display on a big screen. We’re also shown Game Center, coming to the Mac from the iPad and iPhone, offering cross-platform gaming. a demo of both follows.

11am An hour gone and time for a Power Nap. Not me, it’s a new feature that keeps your Mac up to date while it is in sleep mode, including automatic system updates, refreshing data, power efficient, silent operation.

10.56am Next, a demonstration of improved scrolling and gestures that allow you to zoom out and see all your tabbed web pages.

10.52am Notifications are being shown and then dictation, built into all apps. Sharing, another iPad/iPhone feature for sharing to Twitter and email is demonstrated. Safari has a smarter search feature and an iCloud button that shows you all the pages you have open across all your other devices.

10.47am We’re hearing about Documents in the Cloud and the new apps in Mountain Lion, nothing here that Apple hasn’t previously announced. We’re getting a demo of iMessages and dragging documents into Documents in the Cloud so they are available on any device.

10.45am Moving onto Mountain Lion now. There are 66m Mac users now, triple the number of five years ago. iCloud has 125m users now.

10.42am Phil Schiller back with the price and other details – a whopping $2,200 for the base configuration – a pretty niche product then. Ships today.

10.36am Now we’re seeing Sir Jony Ive in a video about the new MacBook. “It’s without doubt the very best computer we’ve ever built.”

10.33am It will be fast too, with quad-core processors, Nvidia graphics and up to 768Gb solid state drive, 16Gb memory, up to 7 hours of battery life. HDMI connection – a first for a MacBook.

10.30am Aperture and Final Cut Pro 10 are being updated to take advantage of the new display.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/adamlashinsky/status/212234463869009920"]

10.25am “It’s the most beautiful computer we’ve ever made” – amazing screen and incredibly thin at first sight. 0.71in thick, about as thick as a Macbook Air, 4.5lbs, Retina display (huge cheers). 15.4in display, 2880 x 1800 pixels, 5,184,000 pixels in total – the world’s highest resolution notebook display. Glare reduced by 75 per cent.

10.23am MacBook Pro same kind of improvements,  ho-hum stuff…but there’s a new laptop!!…”with a killer new display, radically thin and light”

10.20am Facebook HD camera – the existing one is just VGA I think. Pricepoints are $100 less on the 11in and 13in. Starts shipping today. Predictable update, no change to the screen that may be reserved for the Pro.

10.17am Phil Schiller, head of product marketing, is on stage to tell us about the new MacBook lineup. We have some really nice updates, he says. First the Air…everyone is trying to copy this, he says. It will have next-gen Intel processors, up to a 512Gb solid state drive with double the read speed of previous drives. USB 3.0 is also being added (much faster interface, rival to Thunderbolt).

10.15am That was a long video. Tim Cook back. Today we’re announcing major new changes in our notebook lineup. Ah, some new news!!

10.07am A video now about apps helping a blind man explore the world, plus a range of other apps praised by consumers.

10.05am The usual stats update – 650,000 apps in the App Store, 225,000 of these for the iPad (previous figures in April were 600,000 and 200,000 respectively). 400m accounts on the App Store, 30bn apps downloaded. Cheques written to developers worth more than $5bn. Announces an additional 32 countries being added this month for a total of 155 countries able to access this.

10.03am Now Tim Cook onstage, welcomes them to 23rd WWDC. Yes, it’s older than you probably are, he tells the audience.

10am The lights go down and we see a Siri introduction welcoming us to WWDC, she says she’s the warmup act, cracks a joke. Welcome to San Fran, the ATM for developers, she says. How many developers  does it take to change a light bulb? None – that’s a hardware problem. Dig at Android follows, plus she’s excited about the new Samsung – fridge not phone.

9.55am Apologies for interrupted coverage…buzz..crackle… the Wi-Fi network has gone down with all the developers pouring in here, I’ve had to switch to reserve, backup power, as in my iPhone’s hotspot. Coldplay – Paradise playing, but it’s Wi-Fi hell.

9.35am Safely ensconced now. For anyone interested in the music selection, we’re currently hearing Simple Song by The Shins

9.30am And the shutters go up, they’re under starter’s orders, and they’re off! It’s a mad dash down the aisles for a good position down the front

 

 

9.20am We’re waiting for the shutters to go up in order to be allowed into the main auditorium.

9.10am Inside the Moscone Center now..still a long line outside. The two main signs here on the top floor are sheathed in black cloth, suggesting a couple of surprises perhaps.

8.45am It was a year ago that Steve Jobs made his last presentation at an Apple event – showing us iCloud, iOS 5 and the Lion operating system update.  Tim Cook, CEO,  is likely to lead off today’s presentation.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/savitz/status/212205602779299840"]

7.50am Pacific time (3.50pm London time) Good morning and welcome to San Francisco, where I’m just crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on the bus. There’s a slight haze over the city, the bay and Alcatraz, couldn’t really call it a fog, and it will soon burn off to give us an unusually warm June morning, with temperatures heading into the 80s today. Watching the local news at 6am, there were pictures of a queue round the building at Moscone West, four hours before the big keynote. I’ll be heading over there shortly – looking for an unnoticed side entrance.