Aaron Brethorst

Round peg in a square hole, rabid generalist.

Leopard' a Bit Underwhelming

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Apple’s yearly bring-out-the-faithful shindig, WWDC, kicked off this morning with Steve Jobs’s keynote. I read through the coverage at engadget, and I must say that I am distinctly underwhelmed. Sure, the dual-proc Mac Pro is a lusty piece of hardware, but everyone expected that.

Otherwise, what was there?

64-bit Cocoa and Carbon application support. - OK… I feel like I’ve seen all of this before, on Windows.

Time Machine - So it has file backup with nifty visualizations built in.

Boot Camp - Cool, I hope it works well with Vista.

Photo Booth - Huh?

Spaces - a.k.a virtual desktops. Yawn.

Spotlight - Searches across networks now, and has a few other features. I’m not particularly blown away here, either.

Core Animation - This is definitely cool, but it still frustrates me to no end that I need to build an application that is wholly dependent on Leopard for it. Microsoft is supporting XP with WPF because our customers demanded it.

Universal Access - Sweet, good to hear that Apple’s improving their accessibility support. I’ve spoken with a couple blind developers who were less than impressed with VoiceOver in Tiger. I’d love to see OS X become more accessible to everyone.

Mail - Meh. I hate Mail.app on Tiger so much that I’ve gone back to using Pine. Hopefully it’ll get better.

Dashboard - Nice to see that Apple will provide tooling around creating Dashboard Widgets. I hate the whole Widgety thing, though. I’ve never found those features compelling enough to use on a long-term basis.

iChat - New, sorely needed features, but I’ll probably stick to AdiumX, which allows me to use AIM alongside the Live Messenger service.

Enhanced Parental Controls - ::cough-cough::

Xcode 3 - Now this intrigues. Immensely. Apple’s teaser page talks about Objective-C 2.0, which apparently includes Garbage Collection (finally). Interface Builder is apparently getting a sizable, much-needed overhaul. Plus, Apple’s introducing more debugger visualization features into the IDE (finally!). As much as I enjoy developing Mac applications, the painfully decrepit nature of the Xcode debugger has always frustrated me, coming from a Visual Studio background. Try spending just 20 minutes working with the VS debugger; it’ll change the way you think about debugging code. Seriously.

Apparently, Apple has a few undisclosed features that they didn’t want to trot out yet, since they didn’t want to give a certain company “time to start their photocopiers.” So, maybe Leopard won’t be a complete letdown. I know I’ll buy a copy next Spring when it comes out, but that doesn’t mean I’ll enjoy plunking down $130 for it.

Update: Robert Scoble issues a lame-o mea culpa on his Cringely-esque prognostications.

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