Friday, June 22, 2007

Here is my executive summary of the WWDC keynote

There's a new Desktop and Dock whose main feature is that they look much better in full page print ads. Call it marketing-optimization, but it looks good. Everyone hates the mimicry of the new menu bar, but I don't think I'll have any problems with it.

The number one top secret feature of Leopard is apparently Stacks. Huh? Dock folders done kinda right? Okay... Gimme some more RDF.

Brushed metal is dead, Aqua is dying. Welcome back, Platinum! Everyone, quickly redesign your apps now! I find the new look a bit too dark. But I like the huge shadow the frontmost window casts.

Now there is absolutely no way to tell the Finder apart from iTunes. Cover flow will be useful. Yes, I'm serious. Especially with inline preview, as well as Quick Look. These may become as revolutionary (that is, for people who actually work on their Macs) as Exposé was. But what about the new huge sidebar? Will there be a way to hide it? Or shall we all buy Macs with bigger screens?

The Finder is incomplete, though. Where's the online Finder Store? I want to buy files for 99 cents, folders for $9.99. And we need a good visualizer and an equalizer.

OK, maybe this iTunes fetish thing is going a bit too far. Maybe Steve needs therapy. But at least the iPhone holds strong, and fights back any attempted iTunes influence: no silly search field, no pesky visualizer, and definitely no connection to that stupid online store.

Core animation is still cool. It's being used in subtly cartoonish ways. I hoped, based on Wil Shipley's raving commentary, that Apple would use it in the OS in a lot of fun ways, but it's not the case. Maybe Steve's legendary taste won't allow that.

We're still going to get Spaces. Too bad that it still seems to break Exposé.

Dashboard. Apple is taking it to a whole new level by… adding, count it, one widget. Movies. Pretty slick. U.S. only, I suppose, though…

iChat never fails to impress. At least it never fails to impress Phil Schiller. (Actually, nothing ever fails to impress Phil Schiller, but we love the guy.) He was almost hyperventilating when he announced, "We can look at a PDF together!" Would you have thought that fifty years ago? Travel to Mars, maybe. Pimp your PDF over the Internet? No way, no how.

Time Machine is huge. Educating people about the importance of backing up. Changing habits of users worldwide. Boom. Dunno if it works, but definitely looks amazing. The retro sci-fi icon is insanely cool on so many levels. Time Machine seems to be the backbone of the whole marketing theme for Leopard. Aptly, this keynote already makes me feel like it's WWDC '06 all over again. But the "Final Countdown meets Star Wars" imagery is definitely refreshing after Tiger's unimaginative metal-on-fur logo.

A leaked screenshot mentions "hourly backups […] saved daily" until your disk is full, which is ambiguous and sounds potentially stupid, but I hope it will soon be clarified, and turn out to be something smarter. Like, only backing up files that have changed.

Mail is cool too. Notes are great, just great. Really. Too bad they look horrendous. It will be an open architecture, so third parties, please fix it ASAP. Mail also recognizes addresses. But will this work with non-English addresses as well?

There was no mention of iLife. I still cling on to my speculation that it will be bundled with Leopard for free. I guess I don't know when to give up. But anyway, iPhoto now integrates with Mail, so that's one more indication that iLife will be part of the OS. Right? Please?

iPhone: no additional features were revealed. We still haven't seen the Calendar or Notes, we still don't know how text editing works in any of the apps. Can you select text? Can you cut and paste? No sign of either has been revealed, ever. Still no Spotlight, either. OK, we have less than a week and we'll see, but I'm beginning to think that version 1.0 of the iPhone OS will be even more stripped-down than I'd thought.

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