Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WWDC 09 June 09

The wife and kids were at Baba and Jiji’s, so I could stay up to listen to the WWDC coverage unimpeded and undisturbed. I felt Phil Schiller’s Keynote started off very well at first, but then really bogged down in the product demos about half way through. I could barely stay awake during the last half.

I followed coverage on gdgt’s live feed and wasn’t disappointed. Except for one glitch, their coverage was thorough, kept pace, and had lots of photos. Big improvement Ryan and Peter! Tod Ogasawara pointed me (via Twitter) to a live (and unauthorized) video feed that was in the background of folks from TWiT on TWiT tv. The video feed was also available by itself via ustream (?), but I had issues getting that to play correctly. The video quality itself was poor, but the audio was fairly intelligible. The TWiTtv feed pissed me off, because Leo LaPorte’s commentary was annoying - too loud and uninteresting. I guess you could say I’m not a very big TWiT fan.

OK, several things were announced...

MacBook Pros
Pretty much the entire line of MBP’s (and the MB Air) was revamped, plus a new 13“ MBP is announced, faster and cheaper than the 13” Aluminum MacBook. In fact, the aluminum MacBook is no longer listed.

The good: Faster processors, longer battery life, SD card slot (except for 17“), less expensive across the board, Firewire 800!

The bad: Battery is no longer removable (like in the MBA), the SD slot replaces the express card slot.

The ugly: Apple isn’t getting it on the weight issue for the MBP line - all got heavier. WTF. Looks like Apple wants all train commuters in Japan to only carry MacBook Air laptops.

Snow Leopard
Blah, blah, blah, blah blah. Lots of new features, some of the awesome, some not - ship date maybe in September.

The good: Cheap upgrade pricing ($29/59 for single and family packs), install is 6gb smaller, 64bit, better Quicktime, better multicore processor support.

The bad: Lots of fluff I don’t need, like integrating Coverflow more into the OS (I never use it in iTunes or the Finder), Exchange support (what a waste of coding resources).

The ugly: Intel ONLY. I guess with the $70 you save on the upgrade, you can buy a new Intel Mac, ne?

Safari 4.0
Available now! If you were a beta tester, you know all about it.

The good: Sometimes snappier, free.

The bad: I don’t need this coverlow shit on my spash page!

The ugly: Some software conflicts like VideoBox, and 1Password (which is now fixed), some website conflicts including the one I use for university admin stuff. This is disappointing, and I may go back to FireFox.
iPhone OS 3.0
Announced for 17 June, lots of new features - many that we know about already.

The good: Speed enhancements, interface enhancements, new language support, remote wipe (to keep your info from the hands of thieves), YouTube login, sync notes, landscape keyboard.

The bad: Features I don’t need or are useless with my iPod touch like Cut ‘n Paste, Spotlight (WTF do I need this for? My iPod isn’t packing tons of docs), voice memos.

The ugly: Hosing iPod touch users $10 for this, some features WON’T WORK with US ATT users (like tethering.. - cheap bastards!)

iPhone 3Gs
Two sizes (16 and 32gb) with many enhancements, available 19 June. Some of the camera features will appeal to the Japanese market - the iPhone is catching up finally.

The good: Speedier (hence the S), 3mp camera with autofocus and video mode, voice control, compass (available in my Japanese Casio phone already), the old iPhone 3G gets dropped to $99 in the US, slightly better battery life.

The bad: No hardware keyboard, non-ergonomic shape, have to use ATT in the US and SoftBank in Japan.

The ugly: ATT is really hosing people that want to upgrade their 3G to a 3Gs. You have to front at least $400 out of pocket if you haven’t used your old iPhone at least 18 months.

Summary: I rate the new MacBooks as the best news, with the iPhone 3Gs second, and rank the software upgrades last. Much of iPhone 3.0 is lost on iPod touch users, and although the upgrade price for Snow Leopard is great - I’m not sure the features are if you are using older Macs.

Will I go out and finally buy an iPhone? No - the price will stay high in Japan for half a year, perhaps. And I much prefer the feature set in the PalmPre, though I’d like to try them both side by side.