Impressions of the WWDC 2009 keynote

The 2009 WWDC Keynote, scheduled to begin at 10:00 PDT started with Phil Schiller introducing updates on the MacBook Pro product line.  There is a new 15″ Macbook Pro that comes with a built-in SD expansion slot.  New lower price starts from $1,699 US.

Snow Leopard will have a number of new features, including faster email program, Safari 4 ships today and it’s being touted as “crash resistent” having protections from browser plugins.  Quicktime 10 is also being introduced with full HTTP streaming support that will work with any web server.  A new icon has been constructed to highlight that it is indeed a changed program.

Other Snow Leopard features:

  • Highlight any icon and get a thumbnail view, including documents, images and video.
  • Drag and drop any thumbnail into Apple Mail.
  • Expose has been fully enabled on the dock
  • Full integration of Exchange into Apple Mail, Calendar and Address Book – requires Exchange 2007
  • Uses a new threading system called Grand Central Dispatch to make the Mac much more efficient and faster
  • All applications are fully 64-bit
  • Will be available in September 2009
  • $29 US per user upgrade for current Mac OS X Leopard users (10.5) / $49 US family pack upgrade
  • $129 US for full retail family pack

Scott Forstall then took the stage to talk about updates for the iPhone OS and iPhone product line.

Key figures being presented:

  • 40,000,000 iPhones  / iTouches sold
  • 50,000 Apps in iTunes App Store
  • 1,000,000 iPhone SDK downloaded

iPhone 3.0 introduces 100 new features including global support for Cut/Copy/Paste.  Want to “undo”, simply just shake the iPhone.  Landscape mode supported in all Apple apps.  MMS also now available but apparently AT&T in the US will not be ready to support until late summer.  Spotlight search globally throughout all apps on the iPhone.   Also now has the ability to rent and purchase movies from iTunes right from the phone.

iPhone 3.0 OS will also support tethering and this feature is available on 29 carriers, but apparently not on AT&T.  Safari enhancements include HTML5 support, Javascript 3X faster and of course, autofill support.  Also includes support of over 30 languages including Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, Greek and Chinese.

iPhone 3.0 also introduced a new service for MobileMe customers knows as “Find my iPhone”.  Once registered with MobileMe, you can log in and see where your iPhone is on a map, send your iPhone a message that will play an audio file announcing it is “lost”  or alternately, if it is stolen you can also send a remote wipe command to your iPhone.

iTunes store now permits application developers to charge for upgrades or application enhancements and/or subscriptions from within the app.  Applications can also now be multiplayer using Bluetooth – will automatically find other users playing the app.

Push notifications are now fully supported within apps.  Text alerts, numerical badges and custom alert sounds can be integrated as a notification method.  Also full integration of apps using your iTunes library.  Gameloft demonstrated a new game, Asphalt 5, a new 3D racing game where music played from the iPhone / iTunes library.

Another exciting capability is realtime GPS with turn-by-turn directions.  TomTom will have an application with an optional car kit available in the summer.

ZipCar demonstrated its’ new app. Using geocoding, ZipCar users get a map readout of the location of available cars to rent. They can see what type of car, all the prices, and specs of the car. Reservations can also be made via the app. When searching for the car you’ve reserved, you can cause the car’s horn to make an alert sound. When you find the car, you can unlock the car via the application.

During a demo of a new application, Mobile MIDI, the application crashed causing some embarrassment to Scott Forstall.  “The chance of something going wrong is directly related to the number of people watching,” says Scott. He says it worked great in demos.

iPhone OS 3.0 will be available for free for all iPhone users, $9.95 for iTouch.  It will be available June 17th with the Gold seed release available today for developers.

As rumoured, a new iPhone is being announced!  The iPhone 3GS – the “S’ stands for speed.  Same design as the existing iPhone 3G but much faster.  Loading a game, up to 2.4x faster, launching messages app, 2x faster.  Viewing attachments up to 3.6x faster.  Overall, up to 2x faster and ready for 7.2Mbps HSPA.  A number of other features includes a new built-in 3 megapixel, autofocus camera.  You can either have the iPhone autofocus, or tap on the subject you would like to have in focus.  It is captures full motion video with audio, up to 30 fps in VGA mode with auto focus, auto white balance and auto exposure.  Full editing capabilities on the iPhone!  An API is also included to fully integrate the camera features into other applications.

Full voice control also integrated into the new iPhone.  Hold down the “Home” button and the voice UI pops up.  You can give voice command to call a number, play music and playlists and even trigger Genius but saying “Play songs like this”.  Rumour about the built-in compass is also confirmed.  Also has a highly requested Enterprise feature – hardware encryption.  Using either Exchange or the Find my phone service on MobileMe, remote wipes are instantaneous with any backups fully encrypted.  Improved battery life – up to 9 hours Internet surfing and 30 hours of audio.

New iPhone 3GS will sell for $199 US for 16MB model and $299 for 32GB model.  Current iPhone 3G being reduced to $99 US.  Comes in both black and white.  New iPhone 3GS available in US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. on June 19th 2009.  Should be available globally by end of August.

About Grant Fengstad

I’m a technology professional in the travel and transportation sector and have been very involved with the Internet for over 20 years.