Tuesday, August 08, 2006

WWDC Keynote Hair of the Dog

Well, it looks like nothing on my wish list was announced. But 2 of my 4 reality check items were displayed: Leopard preview and Mac Pros.


Mac Pros
The Mac Pros seem to fit the bill, with fast quad core 64bit Xeon processors running up to 3 GHz. They use the same familiar enclosures the last G5 PowerMacs have and dual layer optical drives. You can see the specific stats here.

My take - these are nice additions to the MacIntel line and allows Apple to say it completed its transition on time. However, expect quality and design problems, as we saw with the early MacBooks and MacBook Pros, especially if these were rushed to market.

Leopard Preview
You gotta like Apple twisting the little knife it has embedded in Microsoft's side. But I wonder if this will piss of MS and keep them from developing Office Apps on OSX - or at least slow them down. MS today announced they would no longer develop VirtualPC - but that's a no brainer. MS is behind the ball, given BootCamp and Parallels are already vialble and available. And face it - why work on developing emulator software for Mac when you can't even get your own OS released?

Jobs and other Apple folks introduced 10 basic improvements or new features for Leopard.

64-Bit Goodness
Leopard is supposed to be 100% 64-bit, with ability to support older 32-bit apps.
My take: One wonders if this will extend to non-Intel Macs.

Time Machine
This slick looking app will work automatically to back up files automatically and supposedly allows people to go back in time for any app to retrieve files lost.

My Take: Better get a separate hard drive for this one. Also, it's not clear to me that this will be more functional that current back-up apps like SuperDuper or even a recently announced Synk 6, but we'll have to see. You gotta like the icon, though. :-)

Boot Camp, Front Row, PhotoBooth Standard
Now, these apps will be available for all Macs with Leopard. I think.

My take: We'll have to see if Boot Camp works with non-Intel Macs.

Spaces
This is a 'desktop manager' that will allow users to switch between 4 different desktops. This allows different working environments on the same Mac - customized and optimized for the purpose at hand.

My take: The problem is that this feature is already available for Macs via the freeware Virtue. (Note: the Virtue link isn't functional as yet, and the MacUpdate download link is down too.) I worry that Apple is ripping off another small developer's idea without giving credit (See Konfabulator vs. Dashboard comparisons...)

Enhanced Spotlight
This was not demonstrated, but Apple claims the new Spotlight can search and index another Mac or network servers, and feature an integrated application launcher and recent item information usage.

My take: So? Can't I already search external devices and mounted volumes? Furthermore, it sounds like Apple is zero-ing in on the feature set of Quicksilver. Again, stealing from the developer base is not cool Apple, unless you give credit where it is due.

Core Animation
This feature allows developers to enhance visual aspects of apps with much less coding.
My take: OK...

Improved Universal Access
Apple will improve the computer speech, QT closed captioning and more.
My take: Good - Now do we need a new OS release for these things?

Enhanced Mail App
The new Mail will have stationary, Notes, To Do's.

My take:
Ummm... So they want to make Mail MORE like Entourage? Mail doesn't need this complexity, IMHO. Hell, I'll be happy if they just make it compatible with my employer's Exchange mail server.

Dashboard Improvements
Leopard's Dashboard will be improved - perhaps with the ability to run Widgets on the desktop. Apple will also make available consumer and developer apps for creating widgets.

My take: Ho hum...

New iChat
Apple will enhance iChat to allow tabbed chats, animated buddy icons, multiple logins, PhotoBooth effects, and more.

My take: Hello Apple? Heard of Chax? Most of this stuff is ho-hum anyway, as I can't get many of my relatives or long-distance friends to use iChat or even Macs at all.

Summary
There were a few other Leopard features mentioned or hinted at, and the rumor sites have been adding more. However, I can't get over how most of Leopard features are really incremental in nature. Cult of Mac on the Wired site comments that this is because OSX is already a mature OS that only needs tweaking. I partially agree with this, as the model is working well for me so far. The author, Leander Kahney, also comments on how Jobs did not impress with this keynote, looked sickly, and had others help him present. I don't know about that, as I'm not into watching Keynotes. However, I can say I wasn't that impressed with what was announced. I suppose we all want something better than the Hi Fi. And I want something that doesn't push currently available apps to the endangered species list without some compensation.

1 comment:

Jason said...

It's impossible for an OS to run at 64-big on G4's since they are not 64-bit chips. Are you thinking G5's possibly being able to take advantage of Leopard? Are G5's true 64-bit chips?

Boot Camp will never work on any G4 or G5 as they can't run Windows, so no point for it.

The sooner one gets oneself an Intel Mac, the better. I think by the time Leopard comes out, it will be prudent to make a new purchase if one wants to stay in the current Mac sphere of things.