Well, that was fun. I started wondering how I could keep up with five news sites and a group chat at the same time, then realised I have a bunch of MacBooks sitting in a bag at the moment. There’s nothing like sitting in front of uncountable screens to make one feel like a day trader. Anyway – some reactions and thought. After the fold, to spare the non-geeks, or people who are stuck with Windows, the poor mites.
First, the Mac Pro:
- Yup, it’s the kick-arse workstation machine we wanted. No SLI graphics, and ‘only’ 16Gb RAM, but otherwise this thing rocks. It’s not cheap, but better value than the previous G5s and by my cursory reckoning, about half the price of an equivalent Dell Precision. Ouch. I’m delighted to see FireWire 800 in there still, and things like the drive caddies are just classy. If I had the cash, I’d buy one now.
- Caveats: Apple are charging £300 for a 500Gb drive kit? Huh? (yes, it does come with the caddy, so that’s… just the drive?!). Also: RAM prices. It’s ECC FB-DIMMs @ 667MHz. No idea how much those are through Crucial, but they’re screaming expensive from Apple (who haven’t actually been that bad of late). This really is ‘Pro’ kit.
- Actually, I’d buy one in a couple of weeks, once we get reports through about noise and the like.
Now, the Leopard preview:
- What’s really interesting is what they’re not telling us at this stage. Jobs made a big thing about this, and I’m guessing with good reason. There’s some serious under-the-hood stuff here, and I think we’re going to see that expressed in ways that are rather radically different from the Mac OS ten-point-four-and-a-half we saw today.
- OK, that rocks. Assuming it works, it’s the first end-user backup system I’ve seen that actually makes sense. Plus, it’s ridiculously pretty. Very, very clever, on very, very subtle levels. An absolute bugger on laptops (where is my 300Gb laptop drive! Arrggh!), but for desktops and iMacs it’s an excellent approach. I particularly like the way it nicks Vista’s Flip3D window switcher and actually makes it make sense.
- Caveats: Jobs suggested that archiving happened on file save, but the page linked above suggests it’s an ‘every day at midnight’ thing. There’s a big difference between a backup strategy and a file versioning system, and it’s not clear which this is. Also, what of off-site backups? No? Merde.
- I’d meet this with a resounding ‘meh!’ but for one thing – Bill Bumgarner was in the chat channel, he’s been using this bit for ‘a while’, and he reckons it totally rocks. He also likes Time Machine.
- System-wide ToDos. That’s neat. System-wide people cards/Addresses was neat, extending that to ToDo lists is logical and A Good Idea, I think.
- Looks like it’s finally time for me to give up my prejudices and accept that, in 2007, text wants to be styled, and email wants to be HTML. Huh. Farewell, plain text, we loved thee.
- I didn’t pick up on this from the keynote, but: iChat screen sharing? Like… er… VNC in an iChat session? OK, I’ll buy that.
- Keynote presentations, iPhoto slideshows, iMovies etc, in an iChat session – yeah, that makes sense. I guess.
- Backdrops & Chromakey – this stuff is already quite common in the Windows world, incidentally. As is face tracking for avatar superimposition, which wasn’t shown. Interesting.
- Umm… this isn’t a collaborative app framework, however. Is that behind the WWDC NDA wall, or… ?
- Apple endorses multiple desktops? Woah!I thought Exposé meant we didn’t need this?
Exposé, Time Machine, Spaces… the function keys are getting a mite over-subscribed, no?
- There was some mirth in the chat channel that while there are 2,500+ Dashboard widgets, 98% of them are rubbish. On the other hand, the new web clipping concept is (a.) very cool, and (b.) nicely covers that 98%. Which is… a good thing, right? Umm…
- Boolean searches! Cached recent items! Local network search!…all of which should have been in Tiger, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.
- Hilarious. Apple’s page about this suggests that bi-drectional sync is possible via the ‘CalDAV’ standard… with a link that points to a nice picture of a 1948 Chrysler Traveler. It also refers to the iCal Server in Mac OS X Leopard Server, which links to… 404.
- The example of speech synthesis on that page sounds, to my ear, less convincing than the stuff BT Labs were kicking around five years ago. Is that just me?
- This is probably A Good Thing, but we’re going to see some really ugly shit along the way too. In the chat channel, comparisons were made to how CoreImage hasn’t exactly led to the Photoshop-killer we expected (ignoring Aperture, which isn’t that either), but did provoke Andrew Stone’s iMaginator and Videator (shudder).
Not covered in the keynote:
- XCode 3. Includes ‘Objective-C 2.0’ with, yes, garbage collection. Oooooh, shiny!There are hints on that page about refactoring, step backwards, and other things I don’t understand.
“an extraordinary new program, Xray. Taking its interface cues from timeline editors such as GarageBand“… ? Hunngh? DTrace with a friendly face? Oooh!
Spring 2007, huh? Hmm. As the dust settles, there’s some nice stuff in there. The iChat, Mail and Dashboard stuff is perhaps no more than we’d expect, but Time Machine is, very probably, big news. Other than that… my gut feeling is that they still have to pull some more stuff out of the bag to make this entirely compelling. But what we’ve seen today is a terrific start.