It seems to be de rigeur to provide a rundown of the top 10 Leopard features from yesterday’s Stevenote, and as I can neither sleep nor be bothered to read sample code, it’s a bandwagon I’m happy to jump on, albeit in my own cynical style. Cue the Fluff Freeman voice effects…but first, let’s look at the hardware. Amazing. The amount of space they’ve freed up in the cases is stonking, so both the Xserve and the Mac Pro now actually have Pro-level expandability.
- 64-bit top to bottom. What, you mean there are programmers out there too lazy to separate their workhorse from their presentation? Apart from convenience, and a bigger OS+app footprint, I don’t see that we gain much here. Now we have four Mach-O architectures, and the system libraries have to implement all four.
- Time Machine. I’m assuming that the BBC wouldn’t let Apple license the Doctor Who theme music. Because that time vortex looks just like, well, the time vortex, and every time I saw that UI I wanted to sing the theme (sorry, Back To The Future, you lose). On the other hand, this is a sweet sweet feature and I can’t wait for Leopard GM so I can dare to switch it on…
- Ship the whole package. I can’t remember nor be bothered to look up what Steve said but it was something along the lines of you now get all the apps with the OS. I for one cannot wait to pay £69 for Leopard and receive my free copy of Shake.
- Spaces. About. Blinking. Time.
- Spotlight enhancements. See my comments on Spaces ;-). Spotlight in Tiger was just plain broken, hopefully they’ve sorted this out properly. After gratuitously faffing about with the Mail UI in Tiger, only to make searching even worse than before, hopefully Maileopard will actually be able to find a mail I write. Networked spotlight definitely is most welcome.
- Universal Access. The new voiceover capability is indeed much better than anything available in a current mainstream OS, sounding less like Steven Hawking (which is I think the same synthesised voice as the Amiga) and more like Davros. But making this a Top 10 keynote feature? I smell government contract compliance…
- Mail features: stationery, notes, to dos. Oh. My. Gods. Would someone please build a partition wall between Steve’s office and the UI team, he keeps suggesting stuff to them. Why would I want this? Why would I have an OS on which I can stably run multiple apps, and write myself little notes on Stickies widgets, if I’m then going to fold all of the functionality into the Mail application? Can’t I use iCal or OmniPlan for my ToDos, like they’re designed for? And stationery; I hate to shout, but HTML MAIL MUST BE BANNINATED FROM THE INTARWEBS.
- Core Animation. As my good bud Ken pointed out, this doesn’t seem to be anything you couldn’t previously do with Tiger classes such as NSAnimation or NSViewAnimation, but maybe it’s a snatch easier. The thing is, judging by the reactions of the Americans in the crowd, I’ve got a feeling this is going to be the "Web 2.0" of the Mac UI. I feel violated.
- Dashboard features: dashcode, web clip. Oh great, now we get to see thousands upon thousands of derivative widgets. And web clip could’ve been so much cooler; it looks to me like it’s "render this whole web page, and display a punch-out with the following CGRect". What it should be is "load this web page, and render this section of the DOM".
- iChat++. I don’t really like tabs in Mac apps (AppKit does multiple windows per document, not multiple documents per window, as I said to John Gruber in response to his predictions, and the HIG deprecates trying) but I’m glad they went with OmniWeb-style tabs instead of Safari-style tabs. The ability to stream an app’s view over iChat is absolutely fantastic though, this really is enterprise-level IM (regardless of the Photo Booth-style effects). I’m looking forward to taking a photo of my office to use as my iChat backdrop wherever I am, too :-)
So there we go. Sorry to sound incredibly underwhelmed, but there it is. There’s been plenty of juice in the WWDC but not much of it came from the Stevenote.