(June 11, 2007) - This morning I got to watch Steve Jobs in person do his thing, complete with reality distortion field. Despite rumors to the contrary, I felt no brainwashing tug on my mind, and felt no involuntary compulsion to buy whatever it was Steve was up there selling. I was watching a charismatic CEO do a presentation on some really cool new stuff coming out from Apple.
He started the show off with a Mac vs. PC ad where the PC guy was dressed like Steve Jobs. It was a pretty funny ad and I'm sure everyone will have this thing up on YouTube pretty quickly, if it isn't there already. Some statistics:
5,000 + attendees, the biggest WWDC in history.
950,000 ADC members this year, which is 200,000 more than last year. To me personally, this means there is some serious momentum behind developers curious about Cocoa and developing for OS X. How many of them do you think are currently .NET Developers??
1:4 Apple engineer to Attendee ratio. This means that THE most brilliant Apple development minds are in this building this week, and there's a crapload of them.
I'm not sure if everyone caught it, but he made a little joke about how Microsoft hasn't caught up to speed and started delivering Universal binaries for their apps on the Mac.
Bing Gordon from EA showed up. Starting in July 2007 Command and Conquer 3, BattleField 2141, NFS:Carbon, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be coming out natively for the Mac. Additionally, EA sports is supporting Madden 08 and PGA Tour 08.
John Carmack (!!!! my freaking hero) showed up. The demo lighting even changed from a nice happy blue to demonic orange and red :) He didn't name their upcoming project, but there was a logo with the words 'Tech5' in several places. Their fully immersive world seemed to be infinitely customizable and he mentioned that artists could do anything they wanted to the surface of the world without impacting the performance of the game. The track he showed had 20Gigabytes(!) of textures on it.
He listed off the 10 key features of Leopard that he wanted to show
New Desktop. The new desktop has a semi-transparent menu bar (yes, the audience went wild) that adapts itself to whatever picture happens to be underneath it. This is not quite the same as being semi-transparent. It actually picks up the main color dominance of the underlying picture and uses that as its main color. Stacks - new feature that clean up the desktop. Basically a really interesting paradigm that allows you to "explode" the contents of a folder into a quick preview pane. Very handy for internet downloads folders. The new 3d dock is reflective of nearby content.
New Finder. The audience went nuts at this announcement. You can search other Macs and other servers. While I personally think this is a little bit of catch-up given that Vista automatically searches other nearby Windows machines, Apple is never one to do "me too" without value add. They've incorporated dynamic DNS into .Mac so that any computer that has notified .Mac of its whereabouts is shareable over the internet. This means that you can turn on your office computer and then turn on your laptop from home and be able to drag and drop files between the two seamlessly. This will work every time since every time the Mac starts up it updates .Mac with its public-facing IP address.
Quicklook - saw this already at the tech talk in January. Still as impressive now as it was then.
64 Bit top to bottom - again, this isn't new to me but that doesn't lessen it's impact .What's revolutionary here isn't the 64-bit support, its the fact that there is one single version of OS X that will run 32-bit and 64-bit apps side by side. This guarantees developers that if they build their app in 64-bit mode, it is guaranteed to run on virtually every Mac out there today running Leopard.
Core Animation - Don't need to harp on this, you folks already know how I feel about this. Its freaking fantastic.
Boot Camp. Also mentioned Parallels and VMware here. Very nice. Full native support for Vista. New version of Boot Camp does NOT require you to burn a driver's disc, the drivers are all on the OS X DVD! This is HUGE.
Spaces - Steve did a demo of this. I like being able to rearrange the spaces as well as the windows within them all at a glance.
Dashboard - saw all this at the tech talk in January. Dashcode is your best friend if you want to make widgets.
iChat. iChat and iChat theater are some seriously cool new technologies.
Time machine. Despite having seen this before, the prospect of being able to go get myself a 802.11n airport extreme base station, plug a fat USB hard drive into it and then have every Mac in my home automatically back itself up to that device without wasting a drop of disk space on the native drives is RIDICULOUSLY compelling.
After the keynote, Steve said we can all pick up our copies of Leopard (already have mine in hand, I'm about to format my laptop in 20 minutes...). Steve joked that the Basic version of Leopard costs $129, so do the Premium, Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise versions :)
One more thing... Steve said that Safari now runs on Windows, and ... here's the kicker, it's 2.6 times faster than IE7... ON WINDOWS. In short, Apple's browser is faster on Microsoft's OS than Microsoft's browser. That's got to be a huge kick in the pants for the IE team.
And finally Steve gets around to the iPhone. Basically he says that through Web 2.0 and AJAX, you can create applications for the iPhone because the iPhone is running the full, uncut, unaltered version of the same Safari engine that is now running on Mac OS X Leopard, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. This is a huge thing and I can't wait to start exploring some of the possibilities of this. I wonder - you think the iPhone version of Safari will allow the Silverlight plug-in to install? :)
More to come from WWDC as I get it. I'm off to reformat my laptop and install the new version of Leopard.
About Kevin Hoffman Kevin Hoffman, editor-in-chief of SYS-CON's iPhone Developer's Journal, has been programming since he was 10 and has written everything from DOS shareware to n-tier, enterprise web applications in VB, C++, Delphi, and C. Hoffman is coauthor of Professional .NET Framework (Wrox Press) and co-author with Robert Foster of Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Development Unleashed. He authors The .NET Addict's Blog at .NET Developer's Journal.
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