Thursday, June 07, 2007

OK, it's time for some WWDC predictions

Let me grab my crystal ball. Damn, where have I put it… Uh, what the hell is it doing in the…? Never mind. I'll just wipe it off. OK, here's what I see.

I see Leopard, Leopard everywhere. It has been neglected. Everyone's talking about the iPhone, almost to the point where Leopard's only new feature seems to be its delayed launch. The WWDC will reverse that.

Speaking of the iPhone: it will definitely get a mention. If some iPhone integration thing is one of Leopard's secret features (outlook hazy), then there will be more talk and demos. Otherwise, just a recap of the January demo, answer to some FAQs, and an update on the then-missing features. As far as the rumored development options (lightweight apps or widgets): nope, I don't think so. It's way too early for that. Unless it's something really limited, like widgets with little or no custom code.

I see the iMac getting an update, not necessarily at the keynote, though. It could happen on Tuesday as well. Depends on how significant an update it is. Rumormongers are talking about a brushed aluminum enclosure, re-positioning the iMac as a pro machine, while discontinuing the 17" model. Well, maybe, but that would be a bit strange: will the Mac mini become the single consumer desktop Mac available? This might be one of the cases when the rumoristas are on to something, but they are getting confused by the reports they are receiving. (I just dropped my crystal ball, but before hitting the floor, it displayed the words "iMac Pro." Hmmmm… The "i" prefix used to be the antonym of the "Power" prefix, but now "Power" is out, and "Pro" is in… So iMac Pro is a possibility. Whatever. Stupid crystal ball. I think it's still under warranty.)

OK, back to Leopard. What will be its top secret features? Here's what I see.

Dot-Mac. I see that poor miserable excuse for a service finally undergoing a long-overdue relaunch, with increased disk space and functionality, tied in neatly to Leopard. I also happen to think that Google CEO Eric Schmidt sits on Apple's board for a reason: to teach Apple how to become a web services company. Remember what happened shortly after Gap CEO Millard Drexler joined Apple's board? (Hint: Apple became the best retailer in America.)

iLife. I think iLife will simply become a part of Leopard. It will be free, updates and all. It might be also integrated even more tightly into the OS, as in Finder contextual menus, etc.

Appearance. Will it change drastically, as everyone seems to hope, believe, or simply know? Nope. Brushed metal will be gone, Core Animation will be all over the place (I think Apple is the biggest customer of its own dog food when it comes to system frameworks.) But I don't think Aqua is going anywhere.

And… this is the point when the hard disk of my crystal ball died. I have checked it in for repair, but they say it won't be ready till Monday the earliest, and it will be far too late by then. Damn, it was just getting to the most exciting parts.

So I can't tell, for example, it Apple plans to announce some new device or new technology, like multi-touch input-output devices. I don't think so, though. Leopard needs to grab as much of the focus as it can.

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