Of course anything that happens regarding Steve Jobs will make the tech blogs, but yesterday was a big day in the life of a newly converted Mac user. It was the start of WWDC, and as usual, Jobs gave his keynote as an opening act. Also as usual, there were massive rumors circulating both forums and blogs alike, some rumors came true, other fell back into the “save for next Apple event” pile. Here are some of the things announced today and my take left along side of them:
Mac OS X Leopard
- Desktop: We have a new dock and semi-transparent top bar. The new dock is definitely nice with the Stacks feature, but listing a semi-transparent bar as a feature? What’s up with that? If Jobs would have skipped the bar and focused solely on the dock, I would be much more pleased. Either way, the new dock is a definite improvement. It’s a step in the left direction.
- Finder: This is where I am most excited for Leopard. The finder has a whole new way of browsing through the files and folders located all around your hard drive. New icons that mimic the file/folder contents, new Cover Flow view, and and improved searching with Spotlight all excite me. I believe that Core Animation will be integrated somehow into the new Finder features which would make this new explorer even prettier.
- Time Machine: Nothing really new, but Time Machine looks nice. Admittedly, it is just a backup program with a pretty GUI, but what’s wrong with that? Having it integrated into my OS is very welcome.
- Spaces: Again, nothing new, but this is probably my second favorite feature coming to Leopard. This makes it OK for those of us who can’t fit four screens on our desks. It looks like it will have very intuitive integration into everyday use, and with the rapid increases in RAM size and decrease in prices, more programs are going to be open more of the time. One screen can’t really handle that without something like Spaces.
- iChat: A few new things make this simple text/audio/video chatting program even more appealing. You can now show your the people who you are chatting with your presentations, slideshows, or other things not pertaining to your face. Nice new features, nothing shocking though.
- Boot Camp: We all knew that Boot Camp would be integrated into Leopard, and although we were hoping that Apple would make it into a Parallels/VMware killer of sorts, Jobs presented it as a complementary product to these two others. The new Boot Camp will allow quick switching between your different virtual machines. Small update.
- Front Row: It will look like Apple TV, that’s nice… I guess. I don’t really use Front Row right now, maybe I will next year at college. This new interface doesn’t affect me too much.
- 3rd Party Apps: No SDK, only web apps. Apple needs to learn that, although first-party limitations have worked thus far, competitors are coming in on all sides. Seeing as Apple is entering into a brand new market that already seems saturated with carriers and phone makers, being locked into the Cingular/AT&T contract sucks big time. Only web apps really hinders the capabilities for others to develop kick-ass applications.
- Size Issues: The picture of the iPhone has changed on the Apple website (which has also received a redesign). What is odd is that it now seems MUCH smaller than before. It turns out that after the old and new images are compared and the new one is vertially stretched, they match exactly. This is some shady imaging on Apple’s part. It looks like Andre the Giant’s hand holding the iPhone where as before it was Mini-Me’s.
- Safari 3 for Windows: I get the point of releasing an Apple browser for Windows. It can be used as yet another point of entry for Apple. It’s too bad that their product sucks. Mac users don’t even use Safari, why would Windows users. If Windows users are to use any browser other than IE (which sucks equally to Safari), they will either use Firefox or Opera. Apple still has a ways to go with this browser. They might want to focus on getting a home-court advantage before going to the visitor’s side.
Update: Wired has done benchmarks on Safari 3, Firefox 2, and IE 7. Guess what? Apple lied. Safari is slower than both…
- Games: Another “why?” to me. Now that Parallels is making strides in virtualization with Windows and the integration of gaming on Macs using the Windows OS, why keep producing games for Macs? I don’t think it makes sense on a developer’s side. It makes perfect sense for Apple, but not for EA.