Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Musings on the WWDC 2007 Keynote

Well another WWDC keynote has come and gone. I didn't get to WWDC again this year, but I monitored the web pages giving the play by play and have now watched parts of the keynote itself.

Just some quick comments:

I found both the transparent menu bar and the reflective dock to be more useless eye candy that doesn't seem to have any good reason (like improved usability) to be there. If anything, it actually introduces usability issues.

I found it interesting that apparently the iTunes UI team is driving the UI of the Mac, and not the other way around. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't find a lot of good in iTunes, but I'm not convinced that a "record collection" motif will work for everything on your Mac. All I can say is that the changes to Finder had better be more than just superficial. The first time I use the Leopard Finder and it totally hangs on me for 8 minutes because a shared volume isn't there will certainly show that nothing's really changed.

I'm still scratching my head over why we REALLY need Safari on Windows... *shrug* (UPDATE: From a comment made by John Gruber: "My somewhat-informed understanding is that Apple is currently generating about $2 million per month from Safariís Google integration. Thatís $25 million per year." Oh THAT'S why!)

I really would have rather had Steve say "As 3rd party developers, you can't develop for the iPhone yet, and you may not ever be able to" rather than the "Web 2.0 is Sweet, and it's all you need" line. Look at the demo of the web app versus the iPhone native app. It's not the same user experience at all. Pay special attention to the scrolling. In the address book, the list itself scrolls but the whole UI doesn't. In the web app demo, the entire UI scrolls, to the point where you actually see some kind of blank space. It's just not the same. I'm sure there will be people that will produce web interfaces geared towards the iPhone, and that's fine, but it's certainly not a panacea if you are a Cocoa developer vs. a web developer, and you are used to local access and storage, and being able to deliver the same user experience as native applications. Still, I'm holding my judgments and plans until I see what we can actually do once the phone is out and in our hands. (It looks like I'm not exactly alone with my impressions.)

Overall an unspectacular and in some ways disappointing keynote. (Interesting, anyone else notice that there is no longer a link to the developer site on the Apple home page?)

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