Saturday, September 20, 2014

2007 WWDC keynote impressions

I’m on vacation today in Chicago. It’s beautiful outside, but instead I’m setting indoors in front of my PowerBook watching live blogs of the WWDC Keynote (MacRumors, Engadget).

Since I’m on vacation I can also jot down my initial impressions now, right after the speech. I’ll probably post a follow-up post once I’ve had a chance to shake off the trance and get some other perspectives.

In the brief intro Jobs gave Intel a nice thank-you and welcomed some visitors to talk about activity on the games front. (I don’t care about games, so I won’t cover the material.)

Once the presentation got moving the content about 80% Leopard, 10% “Huh?” (Safari on Windows), and 10% iPhone.

Leopard

Jobs says there are over 300 new features. 10 were shown in the keynote.

Here’s my take on each, in the order they were presented:

New Desktop

I’m dying to see the screen shots and some demonstrative videos. Hey, maybe I should check the Web site…

(Five minutes later…)

Apple provides and overview (including videos) of the new desktop. Typical Apple refinements (the new Dock look, the semi-transparent menu bar) and a typical Apple “righting” of an existing feature (the Windows task bar). Nice.

New Finder

It actually does seem pretty new this time around (see the overview). It’s nice to see the UI learnings cross-pollinating. The Finder’s taken several cues from iTunes, which is a good thing. CoverFlow gets some cool points, though I’m not sure how often I’ll use it. It does seem pretty useful when it’s the result browser for a Spotlight search.

The sidebar is intuitive; again, it works like the iTunes sidebar.

Spotlight across computers is a nice addition.

If Back to My Mac is implemented anywhere near as elegantly as it’s been shown this feature alone will get my .Mac subscription dollars. This is a great example of Apple taking a technology that’s been available for a long time and making it work the way it should.

Quick Look

Once again, a standing ovation (in my mind, anyway), just for implementing an old feature the right way. The demo is worth a view.

Core Animation

Developer stuff. I’m too lazy to research it right now, so I don’t know how relevant it is. It’s safe to assume the result will be cooler apps. If cooler apps do actually result from Core Animation, I will point back to this column and say “See, I called it an hour after the 2007 WWDC keynote.”

Boot Camp

It’s out of beta. Not surprisingly, dual-booting is still required. There was a nice nod to Parallels and VMWare. Was there any hidden meaning when it was said Boot Camp was a “complement” to Parallels and VMWare?

Spaces

Today’s Spaces coverage was the 2007 recap of Apple’s 2006 announcement that Leopard will contain a refined version of technology originally created in 1989.

Dashboard

Dashboard now allows us to turn Web pages into widgets. This seems similar to the Active Desktop feature Microsoft added to IE 4.0 in 1996 and then discontinued (or maybe just forgot) by the time IE 5.0 was released.

I’m sure this feature implemented nicely. I doubt anyone will throw a party about it.

Oh, and there’s a movie widget. It looks kinda cool. I didn’t see the speech, so I’m curious to know how much applause a movie widget got.

iChat

Neat/cute. Once I get a MacBook Pro (note to Apple: slimmer, or at least lighter 17-inch version in October, please) I will use iChat to conference with my parents. (Side note: I talked my Mom into buying a MacBook). I may even try to con my sister into getting a MacBook so we can do a full-on conference.

Time Machine

If Time Machine works half as well as it demoes then I think we have a winner. How is it that backup software has existed since the dawn of time, yet no one has ever bothered to make it usable? My new goal is to have my mother doing unassisted backups using an Airport Extreme with a connected disc. It’s been every son’s dream, and now it’s a reality.

Safari Web site incompatibility, now for Windows

The above was my first impression. The more I think about it the more I see some logic in doing this.

It’s sort of a secondary enticement to folks on Windows. The assumption would seem to be that folks using iTunes would also like an Apple-branded Web browser. I’m sure there are hooks between the two that make using them together compelling, and there will probably be some iPhone-specific hooks in Safari as well. I’m sure Safari will be distributed with iTunes, both on the Web and in iPhone and iPod packaging.

Having Safari on both Windows and the iPhone can only help in the site compatibility department. Site compatibility is so inconsistent I don’t even use Safari right now. (I also find it slow, though I’m using it on a three-year old G4 PowerBook, which admittedly is getting a little long in the tooth.)

Jobs mentioned the Windows Safari beta was available for download, but he didn’t mention (or I didn’t catch) that the Mac beta is also available. I’ll download it and give Safari yet another chance.

I still wonder if too much human effort is being spent developing functionally identical Web browsing functionality. Oh well.

iPhone: who needs a development kit?

Such is the general message Apple is communicating. The basic idea is: Web apps work in Safari, which runs on the iPhone, so just develop Web apps and they’ll run on the iPhone. According to the Apple press release, apps
“can seamlessly access iPhone’s services, including making a phone call, sending an email and displaying a location in Google Maps.”

Jobs definitely oversold the idea. (Engadget’s response when his pitch hit its climax: “Weeeeeaaaak.”) Most of what was “announced” was pretty much to be assumed anyway. That said, with some creativity I expect there will be plenty of good stuff.

Summary

There’s more Leopard detail on the Apple site, but given that some of the “top 10″ items were a bit of a stretch, most of the rest of the changes can be assumed to be incremental.

All in all Leopard seems to be shaping up into a compelling upgrade. I just wish it was ready now.

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