Quickly, today's Macworld keynote can be summarized as follows: Apple has reinvented itself into a consumer electronics companies, reaching beyond computers to introduce Mac OS X-powered TV content media centers and cell phones. And it is serious enough about that reinvention to change its name to Apple, Inc. That by itself should indicate how big a change this is.
Steve Jobs took the stage just about 9:10 am, and began with "We are going to make some history today." He started by recapping the success of Apple's transition to Intel processors, which he had said would happen in less than a year, and actually only took seven months. And he had data to demonstrate the success of that transition: half of mac sales are now to switchers. He suggested that Microsoft's Steve Allchin might be among them, now that he is retiring.
Jobs started the music section of the talk with iTunes. iTunes has now sold more than a billion songs. Unlike what some analysts have said, growth is not slowing. They have also sold 50 million TV shows and 1.3 million movies. They have now added Paramount to Disney as providers of movies.
The iTV device that Jobs previously had mentioned will now be known formally as Apple TV. He showed the device in action, noting that it sports 720p high-definition HDMI output, a 40 gig hard drive, and support for all WiFi standards. It will sync with content one computer, and it will stream content from up to five computers. It has an amazing user interface that takes advantage of stored user photos. It uses the Internet that allows you to watch movie trailers and movies.
Apple TV also turns your TV into an iPod to play music, and it does amazing photo slide shows in high definition. And of course it is $299, available for order today.
Now Jobs is talking about an announcement that will change everything. He is announcing three new products: a widescreen ipod, a phone, and an internet communicator, all wrapped into one product.
The iPhone (yes, that is the name) has a touch screen interface and a giant screen that reaches to the edges of the screen, and stop Mac OS X. They have patented the multitouch user interface, that allows multiple finger touches. They have desktop class applications and networking, because the os has it, and they have built on it.
It syncs with your pc via a dock, and moves all your email, music, etc over. The iphone has a 2 megapixel camera, as well as a proximity sensor to lock the screen when the phone is to your ear. It also has an accelerometer and allows switching from landscape to portrait mode. It has only one button, called the home button. It does have a SIM card, implying GSM.
The user interface user finger gestures and flicks in very natural ways. Its music playing capabilities are better than any ipod to date, including video. It also has a speaker and does cover flow.
The phone functions are new too. It has quad band, as well as WiFI and EDGE. It has visual voice mail, allowing you to select which voice mails to listen to; this is a collaboration with Cingular. It uses the same flick scrolling for the address book. The address book has favorites too.
SMS texting includes multiple sessions with a virtual keyboard on the screen. It looks like iChat.
Now the Internet communications. They have put rich HTML email, as well as Safari on the phone. They have Google Maps as well. The phone detects WiFI and uses it when possible.
The phone does full web pages. You pinch the page with your fingers, and it expands. It also does multiple pages of browsing simultaneously. Apple did a deal with Yahoo to provide push IMAP email to all their users. Phone numbers in rich email can be dialed with one touch.
The phone also does widgets, allowing stock checking, weather, etc. But Google Maps is killer, with gorgeous animations not on the Web. Steve ordered 4000 lattes to go in the demo. Of course, it has Google satellite images as well.
"It is the Internet in your pocket." He brought out Eric Schmidt to talk about the Google integration and Jerry Yang to talk about Yahoo.
Steve showed how phone calls fade out music playing and reinvents the whole interface. They are introducing new headphones, both wired and Bluetooth. The phone gets about 5 hours of battery life doing Internet or phone, 15 hours with music. It will sell for $499 for a 4 gig model, and $599 for an 8 gig model. It will not be shipping til June because of the need for FCC certification.
Apple has signed a multi-year exclusive deal with Cingular to innovate on services integrated with the Apple iPhone. Steve's clicker jammed, so he told some personal stories. Steve targeted selling 10 million iPhones in 2008. To reflect the change in focus, Apple will change its name to Apple, Inc. John Mayer performed to close the show.
The bottom line: Apple's keynote today was a shot across the bow of not just companies like Motorola and Nokia, but Sony as well. And given the marketing powerhouse that Apple is, Job's prediction of changing the world is more than likely to come true. Perhaps MacWorld will soon be renamed to the Consumer Electronics Show, West.