Monday, August 07, 2006

WWDC: What Went Down Today

WWDC 2006Not a lot of big surprises today, I think the biggest surprise was how little they showed off, and how short the keynote was. A lot of things were mentioned as still being "secret" and were not shown. You know, I'm actually OK with this. When at WWDC in the past, I often wondered why so much was divulged to the public at what is supposed to be a closed-door NDA event. Clearly, this year Apple has seen that they are essentially Microsoft's user interface design studio and decided to slam the door on the behavior.

So what WAS shown and talked about?
  • New Mac Pros, using Xeons, all dual CPU dual core, which makes them all Quad core Macs. 4 drive bays, and they run cooler. Whoot!

  • New Xserves, again quad core Xeons, 64 bit.

  • Time Machine - All new back up service, with a really cool interface and what appears to be versioning. Very cool. I wonder if apps will have to support this. For instance, how might the searching for things from the past work in MacGourmet? It uses a database file, not individual files, so how exactly this works (the implementation details) remains to be seen.

  • Mail - New email templates, called Stationary, and notes. I don't use HTML email, so while cool, the html templates, which make Mail almost Pages like, don't really impress me. The notes feature might be cool. I already find myself using draft messages to do something similar, so this would be a definite improvement. Despite the rumors, no wide version of Mail. And whoa, I missed this initially: RSS support in email. By the sounds of it, this turns Mail into a simple RSS manager.

  • iChat - Lots of changes here. No more brushed metal (YES!), very cool sharing, effects (yawn, this is such a gimmick), tabs (again, YES!), and Theatre, which allows you do essentially do slideshows using iChat. A lot of really nice changes.

  • Spaces - OK, I got this wrong. I really thought that adding virtual desktops to OS X would add too much complexity for a lot of people and that Apple wouldn't be interested in something like this. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I should have realized, that if Dashboard wasn't too much, why would virtual desktops be? Their implementation looks to be really nice. I love how the dock now becomes a desktop Nav, click on an app in the dock and get taken to the desktop where it is running. Transitions and navigation seem to be pretty Apple-slick.

  • Dashboard - No widgets on the desktop, so those rumors were wrong, but they added "clipping" that supposedly allows you to take parts of any web page and make widgets from them. Dashcode was officially unveiled, we already knew that was pretty cool.

  • Spotlight and iCal - Steve mentioned both, but based on the lack of info on the site, I think these largely fall into the "secret" category.

  • New XCode 3.0 - A brief preview, but it looks impressive, and I really can't wait to get my hands on it. Objective-C 2.0 with "modern garbage collection, syntax enhancements, runtime performance improvements, and 64-bit support," Research Assistant, which sounds like docs on steroids, Project Snapshots, which sound like project versioning, new Interface Builder which offers a way "to imitate the iChat sliding list view" and "add Keynote-like transitions to make your applications drag and stun", and a new debugger... Tasty.
Additionally Apple dropped the prices of the Cinema displays. No changes were made, so my "iSight integration" guess was wrong.

There you go, some of my thoughts and comments on the WWDC keynote from today.


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