Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, is expected to take the stage at 10 a.m. today to keynote the annual Worldwide Developers Conference at Moscone Center West.
Jobs, who has made few public appearance since taking another medical leave in January, will help show off a mysterious new Internet service, iCloud, that many predict will let users to store all their music online, allowing them to access and listen to it from a number of devices.
The new iteration of iOS5, Apple's mobile operating system, and Mac OS X Lion, the equivalent for Mac computers, are also expected to be introduced.
We'll be updating through the day, so check back soon and often!
10:40 a.m.: Multi-touch gestures, Mission Control and AirDrop
Steve Jobs showed up to a standing ovation, then passed the stage to Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief.
Schiller said that Lion, the new Mac operating system, has hundreds of new features, including full-screen apps and multi-touch gestures. That means getting rid of scroll bars on the side of windows.
A swiping gesture can flip from one Web page to the next. A double-tap zooms into a specific section. A new Mission Control service compiles all running apps and windows on the desktop into one view with a pinch gesture.
Applications in Lion will automatically save your work -– when you quit and reenter, they'll revert to the window placement and text highlighting from when you left. Users can also see older versions of individual documents and do comparisons with past edits -- dragging and dropping portions from older versions into newer ones.
And with AirDrop, you can drag files to others in your network through WiFi.
10:55 a.m.: iOS -- iPad, music, book sales
Moving on to Scott Forstall, the senior vice president of iOS software. So far, more than 200 million iOS devices have sold to date, making it the top mobile operating system, with 44% of the market, he says.
More than 25 million iPads have sold, along with 15 billion songs through the iTunes music store, making it the top music retailer in the world. More than 140 million books have been downloaded through the iBooks store.
More than 90,000 apps exist for the iPad on the App Store, Forstall said. In less than 3 years, the store has seen 14 billion apps downloaded total, with Apple paying out more than $2.5 billion to developers. There are more than 225 million customer accounts.
11 a.m.: iOS 5 with notification center, Newstand and Twitter
The iOS 5 is a “major release,” says Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS software.
Users can get to the centralized notification center with a single downward swipe to see missed calls, Facebook updates, stocks, weather. When playing a game, the notification will show up at the top so it doesn’t interrupt the player. Sliding the notification icon sends you to the app that sent the notification.
There’s also Newstand, which has subscriptions to magazines and newspapers and downloads new issues in the background.
Twitter is now easier to use on iOS products, with a simple sign-on. Twitter is intergrated with the camera and photos, so it’s easier to tweet photos. Users can also tweet videos from YouTube and articles from Safari.
11:20 a.m.: Safari improvements
Safari users can tap a button to read articles on a webstie in full-screen as a single scrolling story, even for poorly-formatted stories. A reading list added to all iOS devices bookmarks stories for later.
On the iPhone, there’s now tabbed browsing on Safari that can be tapped to quickly switch windows.
Stories can be tweeted by tapping the Twitter button or emailed from within Safari – previously only possible by sending the link or pasting into an email.
The new Reminders feature can store multiple lists (like groceries) and dates with location – someone who wants to remember to call his wife when he leaves WWDC can set up a geo-fence that will remind me when he goes outside. The app can be synced with Outlook.
Now the camera function is faster and users can get to it via a shortcut past the lockscreen, even skipping the passcode, by tapping the camera icon on the unlock slider and then using the volume up button to snap a shot.
There are now optional gridlines. Users can pinch to zoom. They can lock autofocus. And the iPhone and iPad now have photo editing capabilities – to crop, rotate, remove red-eye and adjust color tones.
11:30 a.m.: Mail
One of the most-used apps on iOS is mail. Apple has added rich-text formatting, message flagging, bolding, indenting and underlining, and the ability to search the contents of messages instead of just the sender and subject line. Users can swipe to the inbox. Addresses can be dragged between the To, Cc and Bcc slots. A new variant-keyboard iPad allows keyboard splitting and also lets keys be dragged closer to thumbs.
“We’re living in a post-PC world,” Forstall said, noting that the new iOS doesn’t need to hook up to a PC for an initial startup or for updates. Most households don’t have computers, he said, so PC functions have been added to iOS -- for example, creating and deleting calendars and mailboxes. There’s a built-in dictionary that shows definitions right in the email message.
Users can start a message on one device and push it to another and continue the conversation.
“Now if you want to cut the cord, you can,” he said.
11:40 a.m.: Game Center and iMessage
Apple’s Game Center was launched nine months ago and now has 50 million users. Microsoft’s Xbox Live has been around for eight years and has 30 million users, Forstall said.
Apple users can now add photos, see friends of friends and get game recommendations. They can buy and download games directly from Game Center and get support for turn-based games like Scrabble.
The new iMessage is supported on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and can send texts, photos and videos as well as contacts and group messages. There’s delivery confirmation and an indicator for whether someone is typing to you -- kind of like in Gchat.
11:50 a.m.: iCloud and Jobs
Jobs is back on stage, talking about iCloud.
PCs worked smoothly for a decade, he said. But with a slew of devices with photos, music and movies -- it’s been “driving us crazy trying to keep in sync.”
Here’s the solution: “Moving the digital hub into the cloud,” he said. And it’s not “just a hard disk in the sky.”
Why trust Apple, Jobs asked -- after all, “MobileMe was not our finest hour.”
This new system has been “rewritten from the ground up,” he said. Users can add a new contact -- or a new calendar or mail item -- to their mobile device and have it automatically copied on the cloud and advanced to the user’s other devices.
And there are no ads, Jobs said, in a dig at Gmail.
In the App Store, users can see the purchase history on all their devices and can add more devices at no extra charge. All apps purchased will show up on all devices. With books, users can start reading on one device, put in a bookmark and pick up reading on another device.
The cloud also wirelessly backs up the devices once a day.
11:58 a.m.: Photo Stream
The idea is to get rid of the file system, Jobs said.
The cloud system also works via the new Photo Stream service for photos. Photos taken with an iPhone, for example, will automatically be uploaded into the cloud and downloaded to other devices and stored. Same drill with imported photos.
On iOS, the last 1,000 photos are stored. For PCs and Macs, photos will be wiped off Apple’s cloud servers after 30 days. Users should move photos to an album if they want to keep them permanently.
The new capabilities are built into the apps, so there isn’t anything new that consumers have to learn, Jobs said. Photo Stream has also been incorporated into Apple TV.
“It just works,” he said, apparently the motto of the session.
12:05 p.m.: Drumroll please -- iTunes in the cloud
Jobs says that iTunes will also exist in the cloud. Music already purchased through iTunes will show up on up to 10 devices, at no cost to the user.
This is the first time something like this has been available in the music industry, he said.
Cloud-based iTunes is available today in beta form on iOS 4.3, but the full version will come this fall with iOS 5.
Users get 5 gigabytes of free storage for Mail, Documents and backup, not counting purchased apps, music, Photo Stream or books.
Oh, and “one more thing,” Jobs said: Users need to sync their devices once over Wi-Fi or using a cable, and after that, iCloud will spread new iTunes purchases over the gadgets.
With music not purchased from iTunes, Apple has software that will match it to the 18 million songs in iTunes and upgrade it to create a higher-quality copy in the cloud -- a process that takes minutes and costs $24.99 a year. The offer is better and faster than Google's and Amazon’s cloud music services, Jobs said.
12:15: And with that, Jobs is done! Thanks all.
Apple WWDC: Mac OS X Lion will cost $29.99 in July, 250-plus new features
Apple's iCloud could be free to start, later cost $25 annually
Apple's new Final Cut Pro X to hit the Mac App Store
-- Jessica Guynn in San Francisco and Tiffany Hsu in Los Angeles
Top photo: Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes the stage at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Credit: Beck Diefenbach / Reuters
Bottom photo: The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press