WWDC 2007 – First Reactions

by danhon

I missed live coverage of WWDC this year (and by live, I mean sitting in front of MacRumors Live) and an AIM chat ably hosted by Coates. Instead, I got home after the Stevenote finished and fired up the usual suspects as well as checking out my Twitter stream for any particularly enjoyable ejaculations of joy.

I find myself vaguely jaded by the announcements. After the unbearable tension of waiting for the ten new “features”, here’s the actual new stuff

Desktop

  • The menu bar is now transparent. I apologise for being a little ranty, bitter or spool-y here, but isn’t the point of the menu bar, its anchoring to the same place, a nice Fitt’s law feature? I get that it’s easy to hit, that it has a nice target area, but it would also help if it were easy to read. I get that it’s trendy. It’s just my eyes really aren’t what they used to be.
  • The Dock’s now in 3D. Well, ih. At least it doesn’t have physics. I guess that’s coming in 10.6.
  • PilesStacks look like they can only live in your Dock, which I guess is a spatial-ish way of dealing with them, in that they’ll always be in the same place in your Dock. And only your Dock. They’re a bit like pie menus.
  • You know, given Core Animation, I’m surprised AppleSteve was so restrained…
  • Updated: Rich, in comments, asks what the Dock’ll look like for those of us who have it on the left side of the screen (Rich, rightly, keeps his Dock on the left side. I’ll shoot anyone who keeps it on the right).

Finder

  • I don’t actually mind that much about Coverflow view. I can see how it could be useful. I ask that Ars add Coverflowed Address Book to Bingo for the next WWDC, though.
  • The new “near my Mac” is nice. In a Network Neighbourhood kind of way.
  • We had to wait for a major revision to enable “and,” “or,” or “not” in search requests, functionality that was already in the Spotlight API, just not exposed through the UI. I’M SO GLAD MAC OS X ENGINEERS WERE DIVERTED TO IPHONE.

Quick Look

  • At least it wasn’t QuickLook
  • I really could give a toss about Quick Look. XP’s got it, it’s called the shell. Apple might say “Opening files is so 2006″, in response, I say “Waiting until 2007 to be able to preview them is so XP”

I’m skipping Time Machine and Spaces because nothing at all appears to have changed.

Mail

  • Why, exactly, are todos and notes in Mail? Did the iLife/Address Book/iCal team get distracted by the Mail team, who suddenly realised that they needed to justify their existence?
  • Maybe Mail’s got a decent IMAP implementation in Leopard. And maybe I can have a pony.
  • Oh wait. Mail also stole RSS from Safari. Which makes sense, I suppose.
  • I do like this, though:

    Say you get an email invitation to dinner. What if Mail recognized the address of the restaurant and let you map directions on the web? Or let you click once to add the date to your iCal calendar? With Leopard, it does. Mail even recognizes combinations of data in phrases like “lunch tomorrow at 12 p.m. at 701 Baltic Ave, San Francisco, CA,” making it easy to make plans.

    I wonder if it’s system-wide for all text, or just inside Mail’s text windows?

Watch me callously proceed to not care about any changes to iChat. Instead:

iCal

  • In a bizarre turn of events, iCal now looks more like Windows Calendar, which looked like iCal. My head hurts.
  • OHMYGOD INLINE EDITING.
  • The rest of iCal only really works with iCal Server or any other WebDAV server, and is only really interesting if you’re still annoyed that Exchange is still the only goodleast shit group calendaring solution, or you’re the kind of person who likes to send a fricking video along with a meeting invitation. And I know there are people out there who’d embed the video in a Word document first. Idiots.

I shall repeat the callous not-caring trick with Dashboard and skip on to:

Safari

  • Resizable form fields are pretty funky, and my WordPress install form widgets all look different now
  • Typeahead Find, oops, Find Inline, is nice and just repeats what Firefox does, only it looks like the kind of thing I’d be happy using while wearing a black “I (Apple Logo) Code” T-shirt and blue jeans in a Starbucks with a Macbook Pro. Oh wait, that’s me.
  • Er, that’s it, really. I suppose there’s a graph that says it’s faster.
  • Oh, and now, as Tom points out, now we have another browser target to test against. Only now, we can test against Safari for Windows on Parallels on a Mac!

The callous not-caring trick continues with Parental Controls, Boot Camp (because it’s pretty much the same as the current beta), Photo Booth (ARE YOU SERIOUS? PHOTO BOOTH’S A FEATURE?), Front Row, DVD Player, Accessibility and Automator.

As usual, it’s in the Technology section that we find some gems. Or, rather, two gems:

Multicore

  • NSOperation looks interesting: “NSOperation, a breakthrough new API that optimizes applications for the world of multicore processing. Independent chunks of computation (operations) are added to an NSOperationQueue, which dynamically determines how many operations to run in parallel based on the current architectures. So there’s no need to hand-code the complexities of threading and locking. You simply describe the operations in a program along with their dependencies. Cocoa takes care of the rest.”

Unix

  • Autofs
  • Did you hear that? Autofs
  • This is what Apple has to say about Autofs: “The brand-new multithreaded autofs filesystem layer keeps track of which paths are actually located on remote AFP, SMB, or NFS fileservers — even across symlinks — and automatically mounts the appropriate server. The Finder and other applications needn’t wait for one mount to complete before requesting another. Now you can specify automount paths for your entire organization using the same standard automounter maps (e.g., NIS) supported by Linux or Solaris.”
  • Let me pick out some key words there. Like multithreaded and, say, a phrase like “the Finder and other applications needn’t wait for one mount to complete before requesting another“.
  • I think this is something along the lines of “you mean, if I disconnect from a network share, Finder in Leopard shouldn’t beachball? I can has hat and eated it for you pls kthx?

Er, that’s it. There’s also the news that iPhone development will be AJAXy, which, as Jones puts it is either genius or madness. Ih. Facebook on the iPhone will mean it won’t matter.

So. I think I’m pretty jaded.