WWDC 2007

Here’s my take on WWDC happenings for this year. These must be fun to be at. Especially in recent years with all the buzz about Apple. Yes this is a long post, but this is one of the big events of the year for developers and Mac users. Being a web developer with some software orientation, and a Mac user, it’s highly relevant. So here we go…

General

  • Webcast – Once upon a time Apple used to webcast the big events, why has this gone away? In the age of video, why has Apple exited? They used to claim records for it. Thankfully many websites post live updates of what’s going on (even with images) to keep those not fortunate enough to attend informed.
  • Apple Redesign – To accompany the announcements they redesigned the site a bit, redoing the tabs on the top that have been there forever with a more modern look, it’s also only top level sections now. Looks like the site is powered by prototype.

Mac OS X Leopard

Leopard

  • Stacks – Awesome. This has a slight resemblance to the old “Launcher” Control Panel, but much better.
  • Finder Cover FlowThe new finder looks sweet, likely useful for images, but little else. For some reason I don’t think sorting through spreadsheets and word documents (or source code) is going to be that great. I could be wrong. PDF support is a nice touch though. I wonder if it will read iTunes data for mp3’s and use the right cover art, or just show an generic mp3 graphic.
  • Search other Mac’s over Spotlight – Cool, but having cross platform support would be even better. And much more attractive for “switchers” and those who use dual platforms on a daily basis.
  • Leopard 64bit – Hopefully this won’t result in compatibility problems (they claim it won’t). Other than that… sweet. Oh wait, I have a G4 Mac Mini at home. Blasted!
  • Quick Look – Another sweet enhancement. Hopefully the delay in slower computers won’t be to the point where the word “Quick” is like a cruel joke.
  • Core AnimationCore Animation is awesome. I do wonder what this does to battery life on laptops. I wonder if this will be like Aero is to Windows Vista, and known as a battery sucking waste. I hope it’s at least able to be disabled, or ideally automatically scaled back when on battery.
  • New Bootcamp – Nothing really groundbreaking here. Just hope it can be done so Parallels or VMWare can share the same install as Bootcamp.
  • Spaces – I’ve loved this on Linux for a long time. I’m glad to see Apple adopting it. I think Mac users who haven’t used it before will really appreciate it.
  • Dashboard Widgets – I’m a moderate widget user. I’ll be spending more time with them in the near future as both a developer and a user. I think we can have some fun together.
  • iChat – Do people still use that? I guess some do for the video part, though I wonder how many know others with such a setup, and the bandwidth/willingness to use it. I would have thought Adium would have destroyed it’s market share a long time ago. That said I WANT the R2D2 Leia projection.
  • Time Machine – This is a great utility. Really nice. I wonder if Apple will start making dual hard drive computers standard and push for using 1 dedicated for backup. Considering the price of disks, I wouldn’t be too surprised. Notable exception being laptops.
  • Pricing – $129 for 1 license, $199 for family pack (5 licenses). That’s a great deal. A 5 pack for less than Vista. Actually a little less, since I can get a corporate discount as many can through their employer, or if your in school through them. So when are pre-orders taken?

Safari

Safari 3.0

  • “Most innovative browser” – Really? Yea, your tabs are really innovative. Never seen that before. Ooh extensions? No that’s a Firefox thing. Tabs aren’t innovative for several years now, they are in every application/website on the net. They were innovative in 2000. Safari has a minimal UI. Sell simplicity not innovation.
  • On Windows – My testing showed it to be fairly stable on windows, and pretty fast. Looks like it uses NPAPI so it uses any plugin Firefox or Opera uses. Overall very easy for most web developers to support. Only bad thing will be developers who assumed Safari was Mac OS X only when sniffing the User Agent. I don’t think there are too many cases like this, but those could cause problems.
  • Widget Theming – This is what I was most curious about. Safari does use Mac widgets for buttons and other form inputs. I presume this was done to keep things as consistent as possible across browsers. Looks a little strange on Windows, but not bad. Then again, I’m a Mac guy.
  • Security – I have a feeling this will make it much more of a target to hackers. So far Safari has faired pretty well. I guess we’ll see.
  • Anti-Aliasing – Very well done!

iPhone

  • App Development – Didn’t get a clear picture if apps all run online or are run offline. If they are offline, that makes for 3 current offline support specs. IMHO that’s a disaster in the making. I’d like to learn more about this though. This could be a lot of fun. Perhaps by 2nd Gen or 3rd Gen I’ll get an iPhone and play.
  • Google Development – Mention of Google developing apps this way. I guess it is possible/likely to see YouTube featured on the iPhone. I’m pretty certain GMail and Google Reader will be supported.

9 thoughts on “WWDC 2007

  1. I gotta say, I was a little surprised at the “Most Innovative” tag for Safari. I have to disagree there. Firefix is way more “innovative” than Safari.

    I will say, it’s pretty snappy when you don’t have the web elements cached. When they are are cached, the speed is about the same for both. At least with my pretty poor tests. 🙂

    One thing I noticed that I hope is just because it’s beta. The Windows version doesn’t let you size the window like other Windows apps. That’s going to get Windows fanboys all worked up in a lather when they start writing about it. 🙂

    Over all, I was pretty disappointed with the keynote. I was really expecting to see more new stuff. So of the 300 new features in Leopard, we have seen about 13 of them. Yet he described 20 things over the course of two keynotes. Ah well, it still looks pretty awesome. Come “November” (we all know that Leopard will be released October 31st), I’m going to be spending a lot of money, between Leopard Family pack, and iLife family pack.

  2. Did you see WebClip (part of the widgets, but really of the browser)?

    That’s pretty damn cool, and definitely something that Safari has and Firefox doesn’t.

  3. [quote]Pricing – $129 for 1 license, $199 for family pack (5 licenses). That’s a great deal. A 5 pack for less than Vista. Actually a little less, since I can get a corporate discount as many can through their employer, or if your in school through them. So when are pre-orders taken?[/quote]

    OSX only works on Mac’s, Vista runs on any PC and is updated with service packs through it’s life time hardly a fair price comparison.

    Safari is much faster than Firefox but it’s user interface is awful on Windows and the program is very buggy but as Apple doesn’t give a dam about other OS’s UI guidelines that was probably to be expected. This is just so iPhone app writers have something to test against on Windows.

  4. D-Jones: OS X is updated through it’s lifetime, they just don’t call it “service packs”. Vista installs on “any PC”, but doesn’t quite run on “any PC”, at least in a way that’s usable. There’s a big difference.

  5. Robert, still, D-Jones has a point. As much as I like these features, I can’t go and install it on my laptop, I have to buy a new one from one specific vendor (Apple). And I bet that new one will be much more expensive than this one was. Which seems kind of like a waste as mine’s only 1 year old and would be perfectly able to run a system like that (I run Vista with Aero and all).

    So although the pricing strategy for the OS is nice, and I’d love Windows to have a similar one as well, I don’t think you can really argue on price and expect the Mac to win :). Apple is king of vendor lock-in, and when you buy one Apple product, you buy many, most of them for an above-average price.

  6. When you say “3 offline support specs”, do you mean the mentioned iPhone spec, Google Gears, and Firefox 3? Just making sure.

  7. Laurens Holst: It’s always amusing when people say that Mac’s have “above-average” prices and such. This is “so” not true these days.

    Sure, your Dell/HP/insert name brand here notebook was pretty cheap. This is fine if you find all the features of the notebook to your liking. However, when I bought my MacBook, I priced “comparable” Dell and HP notebooks to see which was cheaper and found that the MacBook was cheaper by far. The key to that comparison is “comparable”. I looked at processor speed, number of processers/cores, memory, HDD capacity, etc…

    When I went shopping for my new Desktop system, I looked at the Dell 710 and the Mac Pro and found the Mac Pro to be nearly $1000 less. Now there are configurations on the Dell that I couldn’t get with the Mac Pro like SLI Video cards and such, but I wasn’t looking for a gaming system when I priced the systems. I knew I wasn’t going to be switching to the Mac for games. I wanted a system I could use and not worry about viruses/spyware/malware/etc…

    I don’t have a problem with the “Vender Lock-in” that you mention. So long as there are a couple of choices for video cards and such, I’m happy.

    Switching from XP/Vista to OS X is something that each person has to work out for themselves. My decision was made for me by Microsoft with Vista and the cost to upgrade the 5 Windows boxes in my house. The fact that Microsoft still doesn’t have an “affordable” family plan for Windows is just being greedy. And don’t say that they deserve it since Windows was pirated for so long. It was that pirating that got them to be the dominate OS on the market today. If people hadn’t pirated the OS, I suspect they would have done everything in their power to give it away.

    From what I have seen of the new features of Leopard, OS X is going to make Vista look like Windows NT when it arrives. Shoot, as it is, Vista feels like Windows NT when it comes to security and stability. (from my limited experience and what I have read on the web from other Windows Websites.)

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