I’ve been watching the WWDC Keynote presentation together with a couple of friends and one other iPhone developer and here’s the general consenus: We are disappointed. But are we righteously so?
Most of the otherwise exciting news was leaked to the public in the weeks preceding the event which unfortunately caused expectations to be way too high. Apple can do magic, but some things just take time. Like a fully recovered Steve Jobs or even a 10″ Mac Tablet we have been lusting for.
These where the biggest surprises that where met with a certain degree of enthusiasm:
MacBook Line Refresh
- All Unibody MacBooks are now called “Pro”, dropped in price and get better CPUs
- SD-Card Slot is now standard
- The return of the Firewire port
- The new “7 hour battery” technology not found in all Macs
I’ve been using Safari 4 for a while now but I had a problem where I would not be able to insert links into articles on my WordPress dashboard. But since I updated to the release version of Safari 4 I am happy to report that this problem is gone.
Safari is the fastest and most standard-compliant browser currently available. There is a strict benchmark called the Acid 3 which gives Safari 4 a whopping 100 out of 100 points. Safari 3 scored 76 and the new Internet Explorer 8 even less.
The name similarity might be meant as a hint as to the similar 64-bit underpinnings of OSX between the current version Leopard and the soon to be released Snow Leopard. The general theme is to squeeze every additional drop of performance out of the hardware. In Leopard the built-in apps still where 32-bit, but now they are recompiled with 64-bit causing a slightly better performance.
So there is special support with a new technology built into the core named “Grand Central Dispatch” which cares to more efficiently distribute loads between multiple cores. And with OpenCL it is possible for the first time to also use the graphic processing unit (GPU) to offload specific processing tasks.
Quicktime X is the newest version of Quicktime, the video playing and recording infrastructure in OSX. Again, the focus is on additional performance. Many people got annoyed that they needed to pay extra for Quicktime Pro, but this is now a thing of the past.
What I list most, personally, is that now Exchange-compatibility is complete. In Leopard you need Entourage to access your Exchange calendar and contacts. With Snow Leopard no longer. This is great news for people like me who has the family on Exchange as well as people would take their Mac to work because now they can work as an equal without having to install Microsoft Office.
There are also a couple of additional new things related to Exposé and Stacks.
But the greatest thing is Apple’s impeccable timing and pricing. Existing Leopard users get the update for just $29 in September, one month before Windows 7 is being released. The family license will cost an enormous $49.
A great video tour on the iPhone is available on the Apple website.
- Better Battery
- Better 3 Megapixel Camera with Auto-Focus, or tap-to-focus for close-ups
- Video Recording, Editing, Sending (MMS, E-Mail or direct to YouTube)
- Voice Control (Press-and-hold Home) for dialling or controlling music playback with voice synthesis feedback
- Magnetic Compass, Google Map now orients in correct direction you are facing
- Digital Compass
OS3-specific (i.e. for all iPhones)
- Voice Memos
- MMS (finally, but who needs it?)
So in summary we CAN be happy with Apple, we’ll got a free new Safari and will get the new iPhone OS in the next two weeks. It’s again a good time to buy a new Mac right now because for $29 it does not pay to wait to get Snow Leopard with a new machine. And the new iPhone 3GS is just compelling enough to nudge speed and feature freaks to shell out.
On the minus side there are a couple of things that still take some time. I am phrasing it like that because we still want to see: Steve Jobs’ return, a Mac Tablet or Mac Netbook and maybe something really mindblowing.
Right now Apple does what every smart dealer of drugs for the technophile is doing: Give a little more every time there is a Keynote presentation. Up the dosage without overloading the audience. And on this strategy they have delivered once again.