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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Monday, June 11, 2007

A few positive notes from the WWDC 2007 keynote

So I realize many in the Mac fan-base see me as overly negative towards Apple (and am sometimes amused to discover that some Windows fans think I'm conversely an Apple sycophant). So I do ultimately end up posting what I'd call "realistic," not "negative," articles about Apple because I feel that's exactly what's lacking on the Mac side.

Anyway. The WWDC 2007 keynote was a bit of a downer given the expectations. Almost none of the predictions came true, from a Google-backed .Mac service to new iLife and iWorks suites to new hardware to various virtualization pipe dreams. I'll examine the sad state of Mac rumors later, but that's like shooting fish in a barrel. Instead, I'd like to focus now on some of the positive things I saw in the WWDC 2007 keynote. Understand that these impressions come from the perspective of someone who just likes good technology in general and cares about operating systems more specifically. Here's what I saw.

Mac OS X games
Honestly, I think it's pointless at this time to even worry about playing games on a Mac, given the amazing selection of living room-based (Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii) and portable (PSP and DS) gaming solutions. But Electronic Arts knows a dedicated market when it sees one, and the company will ship a number of Tier-1 games for OS X this summer, the first time that's happened... well, ever. Game developer genius John Carmack of Id was once again carted out at a Stevenote--he's a NeXT old-timer, which explains the attraction--and he very briefly showed off some rendering technology he's working on and promised a Mac-related Id announcement soon.

Finally, a consistent UI
Apple has been abusing the human interface guidelines for a long, long time, and I'm not sure what's more amusing: Watching a company that's so firmly sold on good design just screwing it up again and again or watching its biggest fan-boys try to explain away the inconsistencies as a strategy. Well, the fun is over: Starting with Leopard, all Apple software will finally boast a consistent user interface, and we won't have to suffer at the hands of the UI melting pot that is Tiger anymore. Bravo.

Basing the new Finder on iTunes
I really like the iTunes user interface, and given how Apple has used this and its other digital media applications as the jumping off point for its OS-based UIs before, I'm surprised no one saw this one coming: The Leopard Finder looks and feels just like iTunes, right down to the sidebar and even Cover Flow views. Nice!

Back to My Mac
As with the remote PC access feature in Windows Home Server, Mac users will be able to remotely access their home-based Mac PCs, even when those PCs are attached to Internet Service Providers that change their IP regularly. That's handy, but on the bad news front, you must be a .Mac subscriber to use this feature, so that's all I'll say about that for now. Currently, .Mac is just too under-powered and over-priced to be interesting, and Back to My Mac doesn't change the equation at all.

And .. that's about it. You know, it's a sad state of affairs when the release of Windows Web browser is more exciting than every single Mac OS X "Leopard" feature you've just shown off or over an hour. Sorry. It's so easy being negative sometimes.

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[ Posted at 4:37 PM | Permalink ]


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