Apple's 'Back to the Mac' Event: Live Blog

Editor's Note:This was a live blog from Apple's "Back to the Mac" event in which the company unveiled new software, a Mac App store and its newest MacBook Air. To read the full blog from beginning to end, start at the bottom.

2:29 PM/ET: ...and with that, the event ends.

New iLife software, a Mac app store on the way, Lion in summer of 2011... And a brand-new MacBook Air.

Scene from the Macbook Air ad.
Scene from the Macbook Air ad.

2:23 PM/ET: Both are available starting today...

...and with that, he turns to the TV ad.

2:21 PM/ET: 1366x768 screen resolution

Battery: 5 hours on wireless web, 30 days of standby time

Jobs explains that he thinks all notebooks are going to be like this one day.

Prices: $999 for 11.6-inch model, entry. 13-inch starts at $1299.

2:20 PM/ET: The images on the screen look sleek — more angular than the previous version.

The features of the 11.6 Inch Macbook Air.
The features of the 11.6 Inch Macbook Air.

Now, Jobs turns his attention to its "little brother."

There is also an 11.6-inch Air. It weighs 2.3 lbs.

2:19 PM/ET: Jobs say it's "instant on," the storage is up to 2x faster, it's more reliable, and the storage is 90% smaller and lighter, and gives silent operation. Apple is the largest user of flash storage in the world, and knows a lot about flash memory subsystems. The battery gets 7 hours of wireless web usage, 30 days of standby time.

He says the real battery life is two times better than the previous Air.

The Macbook Air.
The Macbook Air.

2: 17 PM/ET: The new Air is complete unibody construction, making it rigid. Full-size keyboard and trackpad.

13.3-inch LED backlit display

1440x900 pixels

Core 2 Duo processor

NVIDIA GeForce 320m

Full-size keyboard - no optical drive, no hard drive - Flash storage

2:15 PM/ET: More on the new version of the MacBook Air...

Jobs says it's like nothing we've created before, and it's really stunning. At its thickest point it is .68 inches. It tapers down to .11 inch. It weighs 2.9 pounds.

2:14 PM/ET: One more thing...

Jobs discusses that the "Back to the Mac" philosophy works for hardware, too. What could the Mac learn from an iPad? iPad is instant-on. It has great battery life, solid state storage, no optical or hard drives.

"What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?" The new MacBook Air. "We think it's the future of notebooks."

2:11 PM/ET: Apple will begin accepting app submissions from developers in November.

Closer view of Mission Control.
Closer view of Mission Control.

2:10 PM/ET: Next he demos Mission Control. It really uses high-res, large-screen space to organize multiple apps and windows on a screen.

The plan is to release Lion in summer 2011!

Jobs is back on stage now...

He's going back to talk about the Mac App Store. Apple is putting the Mac App Store on Snow Leopard, and will open it within 90 days.

2:04 PM/ET: Discussing that the LaunchPad is a new way of approaching the desktop — it keeps apps within a clean space rather than cluttering up the main screen.

2:03 PM/ET: It looks a lot like the app-buying experience on an iOS device... But Mac-sized.

Craig Federighi, Apple's Vice President walks us through Pages in the MacStore.
Craig Federighi, Apple's Vice President walks us through Pages in the MacStore.

2:02 PM/ET: Apple has unified a lot of the interface features in Lion in something called Mission Control, to help people navigate through what's running on the computer.

One of Jobs's deputies will do a demo...He's showing the Mac App Store.

2:00 PM/ET: There will be one-click downloads, free and paid apps where developers get 70% of the revenue, automatic installation, automatic updates, and apps licensed for use on all of your personal Macs.

Users will be able to put them in a LaunchPad that's a place to put them.

1:59 PM/ET: Some of the most important things to come to the Mac: Multi-Touch gestures, the App Store, app home screens, full-screen apps, auto-save, and apps auto-resume when launched.

This means Apple's not going to do touch screen Macs that sit vertically.

Jobs on App store: There will be an Mac App Store as part of Lion.

1:55 PM/ET: Jobs: Today, the eighth major version.

Jobs unveiling the new Mac OSX Lion.
Jobs unveiling the new Mac OSX Lion.

The big idea? Back to the Mac.

Apple started with Mac OS X, repurposed it into the iPhone, used it in the iPad as well. Now it's bringing some of the iPhone and iPad ideas "Back to the Mac."

1:54 PM/ET: Jobs notes that there have been 7 major releases of Mac OS X in the last decade —"I don't think anyone can match that track record."

1:53 PM/ET: Apple will release a beta of FaceTime for Mac today

Now, a sneak peek at Mac OS X...

1:50 PM/ET: Jobs has the engineering manager for iLife stand up. "Thanks to Greg and everybody on his team."

Next up, FaceTime.... Jobs says in the last four months Apple has shipped 19 million devices with FaceTime. Today, Apple is adding the Mac to FaceTime.Jobs is going to give a demo....

1:49 PM/ET: The remarkable thing about this is the high sophistication level of this artistic software. Each of these products on its own would be an interesting entry in the consumer software scene.

Steve Jobs presents iLife 11.
Steve Jobs presents iLife 11.

Again, Jobs is back on stage... And announces that iLife is free with new Macs, $49 for a boxed copy, available today.

1:47 PM/ET: Now Soren's showing the music lessons in GarageBand. Apple recorded a chamber orchestra in Vienna to help with this. The software will check how well you're playing — hitting notes, timing, etc. — versus the sheet music.

1:43 PM/ET: Soren plays a few tracks together that are out of rhythm. With the new Groove Matching feature, he can sync all the other instruments to the drums.

Xander Soren, a product marketing manager, demos the new Garageband.
Xander Soren, a product marketing manager, demos the new Garageband.

"It's kind of like an automatic spellchecker for bad rhythm."

1:41 PM/ET: Jobs is back.

"Randy, along with his team, invented all of this stuff," Jobs says.

Next, GarageBand. The music recording app now has more guitar amps and effects, features to fix timing, and more. Xander Soren, a product marketing manager, will demo it.

1:37 PM/ET: Ubillos plays a trailer made in iMovie. The room erupts in applause. I'll editorialize a bit here and say it is pretty awesome.

Randy Ubillos, Chief Architect, Video Applications, doing a walk-through of the new iMovie.
Randy Ubillos, Chief Architect, Video Applications, doing a walk-through of the new iMovie.

1:35 PM/ET: Ubillos continues to illustrate the functionality of the trailer options. A new feature in iMovie will find not only clips with people, but clips with groups of people. A storyboard template actually helps you lay out the trailer so that it feels like a Hollywood creation.

1:32 PM/ET: Apple had new, original scores put together for iMovie trailers, and had the London Symphony Orchestra record them.... really. These are things you can do when you have $50 billion in cash and securities.

1:31 PM/ET: Now, Ubillos demonstrates video effects like instant replay, and a still frame set into action.

A fun feature: Movie trailers. Users can create movie trailers based on their videos. This includes fun fonts. You can include a movie name, date (fall 2010) and cast (Mom, Dad, etc.) and a studio.

1:28 PM/ET: iMovie is an app that has gone through some drastic changes over the past few years. Apple removed some functions that were in older versions, like audio editing — so in a sense, this is a more refined return to things users could do before.

1:26 PM/ET: iMovie is an app that has gone through some drastic changes over the past few years. Apple removed some functions that were in older versions, like audio editing — so in a sense, this is a more refined return to things users could do before.

1:25 PM/ET: Jobs begins by saying that the number one request after the last version was for better audio editing. The goal is to do sophisticated video editing really simply.

Randy Ubillos, the chief architect for video applications, is coming up to demo...

1:25 PM/ET: Schiller: Letterpress cards are a new option in iPhoto. There's a video in iPhoto that explains what they are. It explains how the cards are embossed.

This is a big step-forward in digital cards. With that, Jobs returns to the stage and say "I think that's awesome. This is why we do what we do. These letterpress cards - unlike anything we've seen a computer do before"

And with that, we're on to iMovie...

1:22 PM/ET: Schiller continues to diligently sort through the new features of iPhoto. Photo books have gotten a facelift. It's easier to lay out pages, and iPhoto automatically groups similar photos together.

Interesting to note that Shutterfly has been working on similar ways to make it easier to create photo books.

1:20 PM/ET: There is another view that allows people to see social networking enhancements around photos. Interesting to note: This is exactly the sort of thing that Apple would need to clear with Facebook ahead of time. Steve Jobs was apparently spotted meeting with Mark Zuckerberg over the past few days — maybe it was to get this all wrapped up.

1:19 PM/ET: Apple has also worked in a more convenient way to email photos. Select them, click email, and it creates an email that looks like an album with graphical enhancements. iPhoto creates and sends the email without the need for another application.

1:17 PM/ET: A new slideshow theme, "Places" blends a map and animated transitions with the photos themselves. A few more features: Album view pulls down photos from Facebook or Flickr. The reflections template pulls in photos in a format that feels like an animated photo album, with multiple photos per screen. The Holiday Mobile template swings photos across the screen like ornaments.

Schiller is having fun with the new options to the tune of some holiday songs.

Getty Images

1:13 PM/ET: Jobs: Now you can make iPhoto fill the whole screen. There is a full-screen map in the Places view, where you can see where pictures were taken.

1:11 PM/ET: He turns first to iPhoto... iPhoto has more full-screen modes, Facebook enhancements, features for emailing photos, new slideshows and books, letterpress cards and more.

Phil Schiller is up to demonstrate it.

1:09 PM/ET: The stores in China, interestingly are the highest trafficked of any of our stores, Cook notes. Closes by declaring that the momentum of Macintosh has never been greater.

...and with that, Steve Jobs is back on stage.

1:07 PM/ET: "Fueling the Mac momentum, one of the key things behind it, is this incredible push we've had in Apple retail" 75 million visitors in the last quarter, 2.8 million Macs, about 50% are new to the Mac.

1:05 PM/ET: Valve, a game maker, is bringing titles like Half-Life. Autodesk is bringing AutoCAD back to the Mac. "We've coveted this app for a long time," he says.

Cook then turns to the competition, citing the remarkable job Microsoft has done with the latest version of Office.

1:0 PM/ET: More stats on the strength of Mac sales... The Mac's share in U.S. retail in 20.7%, according to NPD's August numbers. There are 600,000 registered Mac developers now, growing at 30,000 per month.

Macbook Air
Macbook Air

1:03 PM/ET: The company trumpeting that it sold 3 times as many Macs as it did five years ago. The installed base is 50 million globally. Last quarter the Mac grew 27% vs. 11% for the PC market at large, and has been growing faster than the market for 18 quarters.

1:02 PM/ET: Cook: The Mac made up 33% of revenue last year... to $22 billion. To put that in context, the Mac company, if it were a standalone company — and we have no plans to do that — would be #110 on the Fortune 500 list (which ranks U.S. companies by revenue).

1:01 PM/ET: "We've got some fun stuff to share with you this morning" Jobs continues. Jobs says he'll let the engineers demo the stuff. He starts with the state of the Mac. Tim Cook is coming up to talk about that.

1:00 PM/ET: the lights have dimmed Steve Jobs has come onto the stage... "Good morning" says Jobs.

12:58 PM/ET: Phil Schiller, Scott Forstall, Tim Cook and other top-level Apple execs are taking their places up front.

Editor's Note: For the third time this year, reporters, analysts and the ever-faithful are gathering in Cupertino, California—home of Apple and where the company is hosting an event focusing on Mac computers.

Source: Apple

As with most of Apple's events, this one has its secrets—and its teases—about what's to come.

Here's what we know before the actual event starts at 1pm ET: We got an invitation from Apple last week showing the company's logo opening like a door to reveal the image of a lion, with the words, "Back to the Mac."

Nearly everyone who got the invite is expecting to see some sort of new version of Mac OS X, the operating system that runs on the company's desktop and laptop computers.

Why? That Lion on the invite. Apple has named the various versions of OS X after big cats. The most up-to-date version is Snow Leopard, while other versions include Leopard, Tiger and Panther.

Well, that and the invite also read, "Come see what's new for the Mac on October 20, including a sneak peek of the next major version of Mac OS X."

The speculation will soon end when CEO Steve Jobs takes to the podium at 1pm ET. Jon Fortt is at the event and will be live blogging throughout its duration including as many images from the event as we get.

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.comAnd you can follow Jon Fortt on Twitter @jonfortt