More of my sites

WinInfo Daily News
SuperSite for Windows
Windows IT Pro Magazine
Connected Home
Thurrott Dot Com
Windows Weekly at TWIT

About this site

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

Steve Jobs: Just Kidding About Those Secret New Features

So I don't want to be mean, but seriously. The WWDC 2007 keynote today was clearly lacking the impact one might expect after Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously promised at last year's show that there were "some top secret features" coming in Mac OS X Leopard. "We don't want our friends [at Microsoft] to start their photocopiers any sooner than they have to," he said at the time.

Gentlemen, turn off your photocopiers. Apple today announced almost nothing of substance, at least not for Leopard.

Here's how the day's announcements broke down generally:

1. Leopard.
2. Safari 3 Beta for Windows
3. iPhone

Let's deal with the last two first. While Safari is unlikely to set the world on fire, it is a fine browser, and I've often said that I'd switch if Apple ever put it on Windows. I'll test the reality of that today, as I've got the beta installed on my main Vista machine and I'm putting it through some compatibility paces before I can pronounce it a winner. So far so good, though the text looks awful high-contrast, as is Apple confused "high contrast" with "high quality." I'll put screenshots up soon.

Regarding iPhone, Apple has essentially decided to overcome its security concerns by providing third party developer access to the device only via its built-in Safari application (thus, the Windows version, if you're curious). This results in pseudo-native iPhone apps which are, at worst, better than nothing and, at best, almost as good as true native iPhone apps.

But back to Leopard. You may recall that Jobs showed off exactly 10 new Leopard features at last year's WWDC event. These features were:

1. 64-bit application support
2. Time Machine
3. The Complete Package
4. Spaces
5. Spotlight
6. Core Animation
7. Accessibility improvements
8. Mail
9. Dashcode and Dashboard improvements
10. iChat

This year, Jobs again showed off ten new Leopard features, though he claimed there were "300 new features" in this release. These features are:

1. New desktop
2. New Finder
3. Quick Look
4. 64-Bit goes mainstream
5. Core Animation
6. Boot Camp
7. Spaces
8. Dashboard
9. iChat
10. Time Machine

If you think this list looks familiar, you're correct. If we take out the outright duplicates, and Boot Camp, which we've known about for some time, we're left with the following:

1. New desktop
2. New Finder
3. Quick Look
4. 64-Bit goes mainstream

And of these, one, #4, is really just an extension of the 64-bit announcements from 2006. And so, at the end of all this, what we're really left with is... some new UI, some evolutionary improvements to the Mac OS X UI we're already using. That's it.

Those are the secret new features? Those are the things you were worried that Microsoft would steal? Seriously?

Now, I understand that of the ten "features" Apple showed off, many included improvements of some kind. But duh. Of course they do. This is a new OS version, after all. We expect improvements. But this keynote really left me wondering: Have desktop OSes matured to the point where there just aren't that many ways to really blow people away anymore? I mean, have we reached some sort of conclusion to the whole mouse and windows, desktop metaphor thing?

It's too bad. As is happening all too often these days, I feel let down. I expected more--mostly because, this time, Apple promised more--and am surprised at the mild nature of the announcements this year.

Labels: ,

[ Posted at 2:54 PM | Permalink ]


Nexus Home | Nexus Archives | Email Paul
Copyright © 2001-2008 Paul Thurrott. All Rights Reserved.