Friday, June 15, 2007

Interesting, Yet Disappointing: Part II

Onward we go, with my third post about WWDC 2007. In this article, I'm going to finish up my random tidbits and observations about the keynote. The next one will discuss each of the ten Leopard features covered in the keynote.

For anyone tuning in late, my first WWDC 2007 article talked about the gigapixel image of the Library of Congress used during the 64-bit demo, which turns out to have been created on Windows. My second article covered some other miscellaneous observations, including some thoughts on the iPhone as a Blackberry competitor.


Steve mentioned Apple's "famous column view" during his discussion of the "New" Finder (24:42 or so into the keynote). Famous? Um, OK... Did I miss Apple's press release about the coveted File Browser View of the Year Award?

Remember the "I'm a Mac / I'm a PC" ad from a year or so ago when PC makes up an award after hearing about Mac's glowing review in the Wall Street Journal? It's not up on Apple's site anymore, but here's a YouTube version. Steve's comment somehow reminds me of that.

I can see the new ad now:

[Upbeat music plays. We see Mac looking at a bunch of classy Romanesque columns]

Mac: Hi, I'm a Mac.

PC: And I'm a PC.

PC: So Mac, what are you looking at?

Mac: Oh, just a bunch of my columns. Pretty nice, huh?

PC: I guess. They look kinda old.

Mac: Well, they're actually my Dad's, NeXT. Have you met him before?

PC: Uh, no, don't think so.

Mac: Well anyway, they're really famous.

PC: They are?

Mac: Oh yeah. Everyone's talking about them.

PC: They are? [pauses] Like who?

Mac: Er.. The umm.. [hesitantly] The Awesome ... Computer ... Review ... Weekly ... Journal?

PC: [reassuringly] Oh, right right. Yeah, I read that one alright. Yep.

PC: [stage whisper to the camera] Don't tell him, but I made that one up. It feels great to find out I'm not the only one who makes up accolades to feel better about himself!

Mac: What was that PC?

PC: Nothing.

Mac: Oh. Well, they sure are nice columns, aren't they?

PC: Sure, why not.


Apple decided to heavily promote Yahoo! in both the keynote and on the Safari 3 web site. I counted at least seven references:

1) At the top of the Safari page.

2) In the "Elegant User Interface" bullet point on that page.

3) In the "Easy Bookmarks" bullet point on that page. (I'm not sure if that really counts, since it's just showing the default Yahoo! link in the Bookmarks Bar, but I'm including it for completeness sake.)

4) In the "Tabbed Browsing" bullet point on that page.

5) At the top of the Safari download page.

6) At the top of the Leopard Safari page.

7) During the keynote, it's the first web page he goes to in the Windows version of Safari (at about 1:10:25).

I really don't get why this is. Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against Yahoo!. However, Google would seem to be a more natural fit with Apple, and Yahoo! is one of Google's direct competitors. Aside from the fact that Apple is heavily promoting the Google Maps application on the iPhone, Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO sits on Apple's Board of Directors.

I also talked about this strange partnership with Yahoo! a bit in my write-up of Macworld 2007 keynote, when Apple announced that "push email" (the kind of email that notifies you as soon as it comes in, aka the thing that makes the Blackberry so popular) would only be supported with Yahoo! Mail, and not its own .Mac service or Google's Gmail.


Why did Steve have World of Warcraft running on his demo machine? He didn't use it at all (except in the Spaces demo, which didn't explicitly mention the game but showed it running in its own Space). I would have thought that the less a beta release of an OS was asked to do during a big demo, the better (i.e., the less you're doing with it, the less likely something is to go wrong and have it crash). And in fact World of Warcraft did crash during the demo. If you blinked, you might have missed it, since Steve dismissed the crash notification dialog very, very quickly.


You get a good look at Steve's notes at several points during the keynote (I'm referring the physical paper notes he uses during his demos). Other demoers1 could learn a lot from them. They're quite large, and appear to be on a hefty, laminated stock. But, more to the point, they're in a spiral bound notebook that opens vertically. This makes it easy to change through them, and the cards you're finished with don't get in your way. They also have a tab for each section of the demo, so it's easy to change to any specific part of the notes.


During his intro to Core Animation (starting at around 39:15), Steve says:

As you know, we've provided you Core Audio, Core Image, Core Video, over time. Core Animation, uh, completes that suite. It's automatic animation.

I find the phrase "completes that suite" to be interesting. To be honest, I'm not sure what else Apple could provide (sound, pictures, movies, and animation seem to cover just about every type of multimedia), but I found it interesting nonetheless.


At 44:10 or so, there's an rare bad edit in the webcast where they don't show the screen when Steve is talking about something on it that needs to be seen.


At 1:05:05 or so, everyone applauds when they're told that they'll be getting a copy of Leopard that day, right after the keynote. I don't understand why they seemed to be so surprised by that. Every year, we've gotten the new Developer Preview immediately after the keynote. Not to mention the fact that Apple has been explicitly advertising that you should come to WWDC to get your copy of Leopard.


Immediately after that, when Steve talked about having a "Basic" version for $129, he actually had me going for a few seconds. This part was very nicely delivered.

By the way, if you didn't get the joke here, it's a jab at Vista, which has a rather confusing myriad of versions that all differ from each other in some subtle (and not so subtle) ways.

Apple already poked fun at this in one of their "I'm a Mac" ads, Choose a Vista.


Steve's user name under Windows XP (for the Safari demo) was "Administrator", as opposed to something like "Steve Jobs". A reasonably subtle jab at the inelegance of the Windows security model, perhaps?


The webcast video didn't have a smooth ending. Rather than fading out to black (or to an Apple logo), it simply cut off abruptly. That's a bit uncharacteristic given Apple's normal production values.


Apple has finally updated the look of the top row of tabs on their web site. Tiger changed the default look of Aqua tabs more than two years ago, but the Apple site was never changed. This resulted in the somewhat silly situation of having the interface on the Apple website looking like an old copy of Mac OS X.


When Steve first demos Safari for Windows, he makes an off-hand comment that "I'm obviously going to have to change computers here".

Uh, Steve, you spent several minutes (and one of your ten Leopard features) talking about how you can run Windows on your Mac. Now, he wouldn't want to use Boot Camp for the demo, since rebooting would take too long, but he could have used Parallels or VMWare. Perhaps he didn't want to be seen as plugging one over the other?

At any rate, I found this a bit amusing.


I'm not sure why id software was presented as a "new Mac developer", since they've had titles on the Mac for years. I know that some of the older ones were ported by third parties (e.g., MacSoft), but Doom 3 and Quake 3 were both released on the Mac by id themselves.

That being said, John Carmack (the main tech guy behind id, and the guy who was on stage at WWDC) is a genius, and it is always a pleasure to see what he can do with the latest advances in hardware.


Finally, let's score my predictions:

1) Boot Camp Supports Virtualization in Leopard.


2) ZFS will not be the default file system in Leopard.


3) More Core Animation eye candy. Mostly gratuitous, but a few useful ones.

I'm going to say yes (the 3D effect for the Dock would be a gratuitous example).

4) Cinema Displays get built-in iSight cameras.


5) No multi-touch on MacBooks or MacBook Pros. No touchscreens, no gestures on the trackpad (other than two fingered scrolling), no tablet Mac.


6) No major revision in Aqua (nor a replacement for it). No "Illuminous".

Tough call. Brushed Metal was indeed taken down to the basement and shot, but from what I can tell, there are no revisions to the basic controls and widgets. So I'm going to say yes.

7) No iPhone SDK. Yet.

Yes. More on this in a future posting.

8) Adobe CS3 and Office 2008 Demos. A no brainer, to me.

This was one of the ones that I was almost certain about, and it turns out to be wrong. All we got was a not-so-subtle jab at Adobe and Microsoft for taking so long to get Universal binaries out.

9) .Mac Backup meets Time Machine. .Mac disk space usable as storage for Time Machine, or at least the .Mac Backup functionality gets merged into Time Machine.

Not really. The "Back to my Mac" file sharing leverages .Mac, but not as a backup. So that's a no.

10) Subnotebook (MacBook mini?). This one's more of a long shot, but I'm still expecting to see a replacement for the 12 inch PowerBook. I'm defining this one as a laptop that's notably smaller (in all dimensions) that an existing model.

Long shot it was. That would be a no.

So, that makes 5/10. Not exactly stellar.

  1. That's a word, right? No? Well, it should be.2 
  2. Edna: Embiggens? I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield.

    Ms. Hoover: I don't know why. It's a perfectly cromulent word.

    Episode 3F13 Lisa the Iconoclast 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice predictions - and batting 500 would make most ball players happy. I had been hoping - albeit not expecting - that Steve might have announced some form of Classic support so that those of use with a 'mission critical' ap which was never ported over, and which has no real OS X native substitute, could think of buying a new machine. Not to mention adding a setting to "copy" which would allow us to specify replace only newer/changed files. But I readily admit that these sorts of things are not very flashy and hence unlikely to appear in keynotes.
Love your blog. And no, I don't have an appropriate Simpsons quote, although I suspect you would.