WWDC 2007: Keynote (aka "SteveFest"), Leopard and Safari

I got up bright and early this morning and headed up to San Francisco WDC 2007, the Apple Developers Conference. This is my first time going, and its pretty aprropriate given the increasing amount of time I am spending on Macs both at work and at home.

So how should I file this article? I could certainly describe my pleasant trip up Highway 1 this morning, enjoying the ocean and avoiding traffic, and file it under “highways.” But it would be far more appropriate to place it under Software, the newest category in the CatSynth portfolio (several previous articles will be tagged with this category as well).

Upon arriving at the Moscone Center, I was greeted by a panhandler who yelled “Bill Gates is a thieving bastard” or something to that effect. I guess somebody did his homework this weekend.

Inside the hall it was, well, crowded. Here we are all somewhere in the main queue to get into the keynote address. I was looking around at the crowd and thinking how could all of us possibly be making a living writing Mac software? Of course, lots of us write software for Windows (and Linux) as well, but the question remains. And the tickets to this event aren't exactly cheap. Though I have to admit the throw in some good schwag, compared to some of the more economy events I have attended. And they even threw in free drinks while we waited in line.

OK so here we are, at the main event, with Steve. He made the obligatory appearances with the CEO of Intel, along with more gratuitous appearances with the leaders of Electronic Arts and id Software to promote the Mac as a gaming platform. But the main attraction, of course, besides Steve himself, was the latest of the “big cats”, Mac OSX 10.5 aka “Leopard”.

We at CatSynth of course have long approved of Apple's “big cat” theme for OSX – though Panther is of course our favorite in that regard. Nonetheless, I happily accepted my beta copy, complete with all the new features including the new “cover view” to browse through your files as 3D objects in a shelf (similar to the already established “cover view” for CD covers in iTunes, etc.), and a the related preview, that pops up a completely usable image of your file (e.g., paging through a PDF or Keynote presentation) without having to actually open your applications in the clunky old way. Like a lot of the showcase features in Mac OSX, these are about aesthetics and being a pleasure to use. One certainly can't argue with that…though I can say from experience that the interior of OSX isn't always that pretty, especially if you're a developer. We'll see how they handle that in the kernel and CoreAudio sessions later this week.

There were also a lot of comparisons, implicit and explicit, to Windows during the presentation, and I found my already low regard for Vista sink even lower. Apple managed to get a single version of the OS to support both 32-bit and 64-bit targets…why did Microsoft have to have separate versions? Just to make my life difficult, having to test everything on four different Microsoft OS's? In general, I get a sense that Apple is gaining ground in the personal computer space (in addition to art, music, video, etc, where it already had a strong position), while Microsoft will remain dominent in the big business space where nobody really cares.

One thing that appears to still be a shortcoming from Apple's technology is Quicktime deployment? Do the really still need Quicktime Pro? And why is it still hard to embed a Quicktime video across all web browsers – YouTube seems to have figured out how to do that. Anyhow, we'll see if this attempt to embed the full Keynote address actually works:

UPDATE: the Quicktime object is causing problems for some people, so instead follow the link below

If it doesn't work, you can always view it here (Quicktime required). Hehe, marscapone center…

In addition to Leopard, there was also the public beta release of Safari 3.0, including Safari for Windows. The draw for Safari is supposedly how incredible fast it runs, even on Windows, comparied to either IE or Firefox (everyone knows Opera is slower). Although Safari may indeed by fast for a wide variety of web pages, I have found that it often gets “stuck”, stopping to ponder the universe in the middle of a page load. Safari 3 seemed to have the same disease when I first loaded it under OSX 10.4, and Windows as well. Nonetheless, here is CatSynth running in Safari under Windows:


Now that I look back on today, I don't think they once mentioned the whole “movie rental” thing…