Bangkok Diary

    Sunday 7 June 2009: eXtensions at Apple's World Wide Deveopers' Conference 2009


Moscone Center

Welcome to the Coverage on this year's Mac World. This conference comes at a pivotal moment I feel as Apple is not only about to release an updated version of the iPhone firmware (version 3.0), but there are sessions and expected to be annoucements on Snow Leopard, the next version of OS X (10.6). It is, however, the "unknown unknowns" that intrigue Apple followers the most.

We hear for example all the rumours that have been floating around for months and that gel as 8 June approaches. These include the tablet/games console/netbook with a 10" screen, a new version of an iPhone (which, with the 12 month development cycle I think is a given, although may just be an annoucement at this conference), and there is also (always) the possibility of a surprise. This was heightened for me simply by the invitation from Apple; and I know this was extended to several other journalists and media persons within the Asia region: almost like the all-out effort that was made in 2007 when the iPhone was the most anticipated new product for years.

I will be writing on the keynote speech by Phil Schiller as well as covering the show and taking photographs where I can as I move round Moscone Center and the city of San Francisco over the couple of days I am in the United States (7 Jun to the small hours of 10 Jun).

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Hotel view I arrived in San Francisco a little after 1pm local time after a Journey of some 18 hours, via Hong Kong, where I bumped into some other media persons from the region. When the plane arrived in California, we found a few more including Tony Li of Apple had bene on board. They all sailed through US Immigration, while I had a tough time with the officer unable to decide if I should be a journalist or a tourist. Fortunately the papers that Apple had sent and my business card helped.

We are all staying this time at the W -- that's it -- a swish hotel with a card system that is supposed to operate the lift as well as the door of the guest's room, although the five strangers who shared a ride to floor 23 might disagree with its effectiveness. If I strain my neck a bit, I can see part of the Moscone center from my room, but not the part that we will visit tomorrow morning: that is at the other end of the block. Nonetheless, the other way I have a nice view that just catches the bay.

On the way to the hotel, there were four of us in the shuttle bus, but there was not much chat on what is to come. We have all seen the rumours which fall into four categories: the iPhone OS; OS X, Snow Leopard; the iPhone and its several possible versions that online sources all feel sure about; and something else. One notes that in the last couple of days before WWDC, the pundits were upping the ante in case Jobs should appear and spark a run on Apple shares. That was discussed in the bus and I expressed the view that an appearance would be wrong for Apple. Perhaps a wave from the wings, but anything more and the analysts (say that with a snarl) will be back on the same old Apple = Jobs articles.

I am fairly confident that there will be new hardware, and not just because all the rumour-laden sites say so. When media personnel like me come over, Apple looks after us very well. Not just with the hotel, which is always a good standard, but in organising meetings, lunches, dinners, where a lot of contacts are made and there is much interesting chat. As at MacWorld, there are sessions marked up for the afternoon following the keynote speech where we are to have product briefings. It was at these in the past that I have seen the first iPhone and then the first MacBook Air. We can expect to see something this week.

street view Once my creased shirts were on hangars, I took a look out into the streets. My main intention was to buy a battery for my MacBook Pro which has just eaten its second one (made by Sony, one notes) and dies if I do not have the power cors attached. I took a side-trip down Mission Street first, looking for a store that is alleged to sell Lomo cameras. I will try again later in the week.

At the Apple store, I knew that accessories were on the second floor, but all I could see were batteries for the Unibody MacBook Pro, so I asked and someone bought up a pile of them within a couple of minutes. By the time I got back to the hotel, the receipt had arrived by email.

On the way back I walked by the Moscone Center and took a couple of photographs of the exterior. Any posters and the like can give an indication of some of what we could expect. We can look forward to a major emphasis on iPhone apps tomorrow. There is much more to come.

Golden Gate

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