Aaron Brethorst

Round peg in a square hole, rabid generalist.

Software, Baby

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So a multi-billion dollar company introduces its sleek and sexy new operating system today. Wall Street yawns and drops its stock price by 3%, and tons of this company’s users cry foul over the 3rd party applications being driven out of the market due to this huge company’s new features. Meanwhile, I sit back and say “where’s the innovation, huh?” Of course, this isn’t Microsoft, but actually Apple.

I went to WWDC last year where I marveled at the G5, Panther, the iSight, iChat AV, the cool new Cocoa controls, WebKit, XCode, and all of the other incredibly cool technology Apple had to show off.

This year? Ho-hum. XCode 2.0 apparently fixes more crashing bugs, has some Whidbey Class Designer-esque functionality (which appears to be read-only). Tiger offers up a nicer balance of metal and classic Aqua (thank god…), and introduces the snazzy new “tons of crap on your desktop” feature which will doubtlessly put a huge dent in Konfabulator’s sales next year. Oh yeah, iChat AV gets an upgrade (that’s nice, I have to say). And the BMW thing is terrific also. Too bad I’m not buying one right now (whatever).

I guess the “Redmond, Get Your Photocopiers Ready,” “Introducing Longhorn,” and “Redmond, We’ve Got a Problem” things really riled me up. I don’t see anything that really resembles innovation in 10.4 at this stage. The new APIs will be nice, but they’re nothing innovate. The two key demo’d features are nigh-on-identical with two existing shareware applications. XCode 2.0 is still going to be less usable than Project Builder is.

The way Apple is beating on Windows-based screen readers rubs me wrong. Mac OS X is a pain in the ass to only use with the keyboard (and I’ve tried).

What happens now? Does Apple spend two years or so prepping OS XI? They’ve said that they’re slowing down their pace of releases after Tiger, so I have to assume that this is what they have planned. Realistically, I imagine that this means that OS XI and Longhorn could come out in the same general timeframe (note: I have no clue when Longhorn will ship. It’s not something I’m looped in on).

Here’s what I’m interested in: - Will Java 1.5 (also named Tiger) be supported under OS X soon? Autoboxing and generics are the coolest damned things since sliced bread, and I might actually give Java another look if I can use these features. - How easy will it be to hook into the iSync conduit APIs? This could be quite powerful (and useful to me). - When Apple says that they ship 1st Half, 2005, I assume that they actually mean June 30 2005. Is it at all realistic that they could ship sooner?

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