Thursday, August 03, 2006

My Predictions for WWDC

WWDC 2006I've been meaning to do this all week. I can't attend WWDC this year (a lot of money, and when you don't have someone else paying for it...), which kills me because this is one of those BIG years that seems occur every other year now. At least I can still make predictions (and fight with every other Mac user to see the keynote when its done, geeze you'd think paying to be a ADC member would give us a leg up or something!). These are just my own guesses, I have absolutely no inside info on any of this:

  • New PowerMacs - to be renamed "Mac Pro"
    This is a given, I mean they are the only Macs remaining to be upgraded, and they are due for a refresh. And really, this IS a developer conference afterall. What we don't know is the CPU that will be inside of them. Oh they will be Intel of course, but what will Apple be able to use? Will it be the Xeon 5100 series as proposed by Ars Techica? The Core 2 Duo or the Core 2 Extreme? Some combination? At any rate I think you'll see at least some slight case redesign. I'd like to see something entirely new, but Apple doesn't seem to be doing that: the MacBook Pros and Mac minis have all been released in the PowerPC cases, so I'd expect the same for the PowerMacs.

  • New Cinema displays with built-in iSight.
    Prices haven't come down much since the last rev, and really unless they change the PowerMac case, why mess with the displays, beyond adding a camera, something they seem to be adding to everything now?

  • New Xserves
    I think this is also a given, considering how long it's been since these have be revised. Could we see something new along the lines of the Xserve mini? I'd kill for one of these for a home server, something I think more and more people will find a use for.

  • A New "Sleeker" Finder
    I have to go with both Brent Simmons and Gus Mueller on this one. I think metal will be done (THANK GOD!) replaced by the sleeker skin we've been seeing in the iApps. I think that the stripes will also finally disappear in their entirety. My big hope is that this is finally the release that gives us the reliable, bullet-proof Cocoa Finder we've all been pining for. No more waiting several minutes for the current Finder to figure out that that shared disk you failed to unmount before sleeping your laptop is no longer there. A sortable column view. I mean come ON this is version 5! I don't think we'll see a tabbed finder. I'd bet that we don't see virtual desktops. Could we finally see "Piles?" I also think we'll see something that none of the rumor sites have even thought of.

  • New Version of Spotlight
    I do think we'll see a new version of Spotlight, one that replaces that FREAK of a UI that's there now. Who exactly did this UI make sense to in the first place? I curse it every time I use the damn thing.

  • A New iChat
    iChat's pretty good, I use it every day. It is getting kind of old though. I see this being reskinned, and updated, probably with tabbed chats (which I already have now thanks to Chax, but come on this is too obvious a feature to add), etc.

  • Virtualization? Outlook Not So Good
    We already have it, using Parallels, and unless they provide Mac OS X virtualization (something I'd KILL for, Mac-in-box, great for testing), I don't see it happening.

  • No iPhone
    Not at WWDC. If they do it, it won't be at their developer conference. I also think that this photo, is yet another fake.

  • Cocoa Improvements and Additions
    This is a given of course. I expect that all of these iApp-type UI widgets (that have had developers rolling-their-own code to keep up for the last year or two) will be built into Leopard's Cocoa, giving us this functionality for free. Things like Safari-style tabs, the translucent utility windows found in iPhoto and Aperture, and possibly even toolbars that are unhooked from the window, as described by Brent. This seems to be Apple's pattern: new widgets are developed with new iApps, 2 years later after developers expend the effort to reproduce them as a way to keep up, Apple adds them to Cocoa.

  • A new version of XCode
    Yep, XCode has continued to improve, but it's pretty much THE dev env to make Cocoa apps now, so I hope to see an all new version with some of the things that users of Eclipse and IDEA and NetBeans have been holding over our heads for YEARS. Things like plugin support, code generation, refactoring.. Come on throw us a bone here!

  • Dashcode
    It's already out... sort of. I really think that this was mistakenly added to the install disks for the MacBook Pro. I mean how ELSE can you explain the way it was "released?" Expect it to be "unveiled" for real.

So there you have it, my own off-the-cuff-top-of-the-head guesses, based on nothing more than my own speculation and hopes... and dreams.


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