Archive for June 11, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

WWDC 2007 Keynote

The transparent menu bar is insane. If you had asked me a couple years ago whether this or the gratuitous Dock reflections were Leopard or Vista features, I would have guessed Vista.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Cover Flow (though I won’t use it myself), but it’s not what the Finder needed. The Finder isn’t fixed; it looks to me like a minor update, though opinions differ. That said, the new Finder’s appearance is much better than brushed metal, and Quick Look (the framework more than its use in the Finder) is a great enhancement that’s long overdue.

I’m not at all surprised that there’s no iPhone SDK. I think that Apple has always planned to eventually open up development of real iPhone applications, but it was unrealistic to expect this right away. And it’s in everyone’s interest for them to take their time and get it right. It’s unfortunate, however, that Steve Jobs has been so deceptive on this point. The Apple Product Cycle is familiar enough by now that I don’t think anyone really believes what Jobs says. And, more importantly, it’s insulting to portray some browser hooks as an SDK for writing true iPhone applications. The iPhone Web applications aren’t even at the level of Dashboard widgets, and Apple certainly isn’t using them to write the iPhone’s Finder. I’d have been happier if Jobs had simply said that having a real Web browser means access to real Web applications.

Safari 3 is very nice, but unfortunately the beta requires an installer, completely replaces Safari 2, and even requires a reboot. For shame!

Safari for Windows, apparently the highlight of the keynote, is interesting in that it doesn’t use Windows controls. It even renders fonts the OS X way. Lots of low-level Mac frameworks are built-in, and even the RSS support was completely rewritten to be portable. I don’t expect Safari on Windows to win many converts, but it should help make more Web sites compatible with Safari on Macs and iPhones.

As expected, Apple isn’t competing with Parallels and VMware, but they are making Boot Camp switching a little less painful. Keeping in mind the Apple Product Cycle, I expect this to change in 10.6 or 10.7.

Overall, it was a disappointing keynote. I didn’t expect the top secret features to materialize, but it’s still a let-down after Job’s hype last year and all of Apple’s Microsoft bashing since then. And there was no new hardware. (So much for Apple moving that from the summer Macworld to WWDC.) I hope no one took Fake Steve’s advice to buy AAPL, because right now it’s down since that time, closing down 3.45% for the day while Creative was up 3.91% (though it’s still way down from its pre-iPod heyday).

Like the keynote, I think Leopard looks underwhelming for end users. However, as a developer I’m very excited about it. There are numerous under-the-hood changes that will make for better applications that run faster and that can be developed more quickly. Developers will get hammered with this message throughout the conference, but thanks to the keynote it isn’t what most people will be discussing.

Leopard’s Menu Bar

Third-party opportunity: write a little utility that changes the top of an image file so that when it’s used as a desktop picture in Leopard the menu bar doesn’t look transparent.