Apple needs to ship the iPhone. If we assume that, privately, Apple has planned all along to eventually open the iPhone to third-party development, it’s still easy to see why it’s shipping without such support: it would have taken longer to ship. Officially supported APIs take time to document, and they’re a commitment. While iPhone development remains private to Apple, Apple is free to change and shift the APIs as they see fit.
I’ve been drooling for a while now about DockStar: if you’re organized at all (or trying to be), then you could kill (but possibly not buy software) for the ability to have several count badges on your Mail.app dock icon — one for your inbox of course (which you can customize), but also a couple or more others dedicated to specific folders. Basically, if you’re using rules to sort through your mail, then chances are you need those multiple badges. Simple as that.
And here comes Mail Badger [via], which does everything I want, for free. And it even has a nice badger-badger-badger icon. There’s no way around it: all Mail.app users absolutely need this. (And it seems to work just fine.)
I just love the kind of stuff that’s available as free Mail.app plugins.
John Gruber elaborates some more about how the iPhone could know your position in order to suggest local seafood restaurants. Secret GPS? Cellphone tower triangulation?
Well, I’ve got an idea for a technology that would work — I know it’s a bit of a pie in the sky, but blogs are the realm of speculation: How about having the maps application fucking remember what’s the last map you viewed (and possibly a couple more in the history)? Yeah, it’s that complicated.
I can’t really fault Gruber for overlooking the option, though: no online maps application that I know does it. Close Google Maps and reopen it, you’re back to the big U.S.A. map (hello, I’m in France!).
I guess I should get moving and post this now — before the Wall Street Journal scores and publishes yet another exclusive on Jobs Eve. I’m using Siracusa’s bingo card as a starting point and working from there.
Leopard GUI: Same graphics as the iPhone, dark unified all the way (“all the way” meaning it will finally deserve the term “unified” and it’s not too soon). Nothing more spectacular; with luck, they’ll even have toned down the flashy pink Core Animation stuff since last year.
New Finder: I wish, but no. The later Leopard builds showed (welcome) adjustments in the View Options window, and I don’t see why they’d have been working on that for no reason. It might be more reliable, or even rewritten from scratch, but I doubt it. And, even if it were, I don’t think it would warrant a mention by Steve.
ZFS: It’s far too late in Leopard’s beta cycle to switch the system to a completely different filesystem. I think it will be supported, but switching the whole OS over should be expected for 10.6. Leopard’s secret features will be more cosmetic — or, at least, less deep. Something that can work with a short beta.
Virtualization: I don’t see it getting downright integrated into the system, and definitely not an Apple-made solution (there are already two very competent alternatives, no need to make their own) — they could, however, ship a licensed version of Parallels, either with the system or with every new Mac, just like they include other programs. That would be low-impact (they can switch partners at any time) and convenient at the same time, especially with Parallels being able to use a Boot Camp partition.
Vista installed: Selling an OEM Windows means you have to support it. Can you imagine Apple training all their AppleCare staff to handle Vista trouble? I can’t.
iWork, iLife: Yeah, whatever, don’t care.
.Mac on Google: We’ve been praying for this for so long, now. I don’t think there’s any specific reason for that to happen this time rather than another, but why not?
iMac: According to one of the D5 transcripts (I couldn’t find a full video of the Mossberg interview), he strongly hinted at new desktop Macs — and the Mac Pro is not a desktop Mac, it’s a workstation.
Brushed metal iMac: That’s just stupid.
MacBook Slim: Mhh, I don’t think so. Portability is all about the iPhone this year.
Cinema Displays: Maybe they were waiting for resolution independence before they introduced them. Or maybe they were waiting for LED backlighting (in which case it’s not ready yet, as it’s only available for the 15-inch MacBook Pro for now). Or something else altogether. Let’s say a 50% chance — and, yes, with integrated iSight. But no multitouch: once again, nobody’s allowed to steal the iPhone’s thunder.
Mac Pro: I don’t think Jobs cares much about those — they’re definitely workstations, so they might as well keep their current design for a few more years.
Mac mini: I think the idea of discontinuing it is just absurd. But, hey, I also thought removing the $500 model was stupid, so what do I know. In any case, the Apple TV doesn’t really replace the mini — it only acknowledges one of the several uses geeks found for it.
iPhone dev kit: No way. Not even widget development guidelines. The more I think about it, the more I think it’s a good launch decision: software developers are not ready to make truly native iPhone GUIs — it would turn into a race for converting OS X apps to the phone. By (initially) releasing it as a closed platform, Apple ensures that people have time to get used to how its apps works and how paradigms can be different.
VoIP/iChat on iPhone: Forfeiting that has to be the one compromise Jobs accepted to make for AT&T. Don’t expect it.
Mystery 12th app: I can’t imagine the iPhone shipping with en empty slot in the 12-icon matrix — that would mean something went totally wrong and unexpected in the development process. Here’s an interesting speculation, though: YouTube?That would also explain why they’re bothering to convert all videos to H.264: the Apple TV is definitely able to handle Flash video, but the iPhone is probably optimized to for QuickTime.
Touch-screen iPod: Nope, not before November — or, more likely, second quarter of next year. Once again, it’s all about the iPhone now, and not cannibalizing its market.
New iPods at all: Well, that’s not really the point of that keynote, is it? I know Steve tends to forget what WWDC stands for, but still — he should have his plate full with more computery stuff (including the iPhone).
Wishlist: A MacTablet (not this year). Multi-touch Cinemas (not this decade). A Drobo clone (too bad Apple’s lost interest in Firewire). A 7-inch MacBook mini designed to be used with an external screen most of the time, so you can carry your workstation everywhere with you by plugging into any available monitor. New keyboards with trackpads replacing the mouse.
All in all, I guess I’m not expecting much. I don’t want to try and guess Leopard’s seeeecret functionalities, mostly because I want to be surprised. All I’m asking for, really, is that Steve honor his commitment to the Mac by not making the whole show about the iPhone. That’ll already be a lot.
You might want to either subscribe to or unsubscribe from my Twitter feed for the duration of the keynote.
Tick tock. Waiting for WWDC and for my FREE copy of Forza 2 (one of those won’t arrive until tomorrow at best and it’s gonna be a long wait)
Is it stupid to be excited? Well, it’s my first OS X release since I switched to the Mac. (But then I was already a fan before.)
This is 2007, we’ve had live keynote coverages for years now. Why are half the major sites still writing with updates at the bottom?
Okay, first prediction lost and I couldn’t be happier. Well, I’ll be happy when I see the demo videos.
So they’re cluttering the dock further to unclutter the desktop. And “stacks” are only on the dock, too? That’s not starting out well.
CoverFlow’s creator must be having a heart attack right now. I have to say it’s got to be convenient, and I won’t mourn the old sidebar.
The new .mac functionality is interesting, but I’m not sure how useful it really is — unless there’s more. So much for becoming free, tho.
Yeah, movie trailers in a widget, I care so very fucking much. Time Machine is 9th, number 10 better be huge.
I didn’t intend to upgrade before kinks are ironed out anyway. Guess I won’t be too frustrated while I wait.
QuickLook and iChat Theater using the same import plugins is nice, but there is no whiteboard is there?
First, Apple is one of the worst Windows developers I know. Second, iTunes is one of the worst Apple apps because of Windows-centric design.
So much for multitouch and the revolutionary interface being the iPhone’s hallmark, if 3rd-party apps are HTML widgets.
So how are we gonna secure your iPhone? Why, we’re going to put hooks to every functionality right in Safari! Hello? ActiveX anyone?
As usual, I’ll post my reactions to the WWDC keynote later, when I’ve had time to digest the announcements along with the bottle of tequila I’m gonna need to forget everything and my name.
In the meantime, please refer to my Twitter feed (in English) and the Kernel Panic transcript (in French). And download the Safari beta for Wi… for Wi… uh, for the Mac, too. And check out the Apple site if you want for the rest. Won’t take too long.
And fuck you, Steve.
Just choose the new Apple menu item “Restart in Windows.” Your Mac goes into “safe sleep” so that when you return, you’ll be right where you were.” Cool, huh? Well, it disappeared from the Leopard page before I had time to post about it.
Which is weird, because it’s an obvious feature I’ve been expecting ever since they first announced Boot Camp. (And, actually, you’ve got to be able to do it manually — I guess you’d need to use the Dashboard widget that triggers Safe Sleep from the OS X side, since you can’t do it naturally. Which has always bugged me since I bought a laptop.)
EA games will use Cider, not be OS X native (Cider being a framework that basically translates / emulates DirectX and the other Windows APIs on OS X). I’d like to see a source quoted, but if it’s true: Eww.
The thing is, Apple is among the worst developers for Windows that I know (meanwhile, Microsoft’s MacBU work their asses off to make OS X apps that look and feel right). It’s actually happened to me several times to recommend iTunes to someone, help them install it on their computer, and blush in embarrasment when the installer failed for the third time. Not that the software works better once it’s there — there’s that annoying tray icon, and the loads of startup services, and two users can’t even have iTunes running at the same time on the same computer.
The thing is, iTunes is the worst OS X application from Apple, because its interface designers primarily focus on Windows now. I’m not sure whether it was version 6 or 7 that lost the Chapters button, replacing it with a menu that works fine on Windows (it’s just a dozen pixels higher than it used to be) but doesn’t on Mac (because you don’t look at the menubar unless you’re going to use it — plus, it doesn’t show at all if iTunes is not the active app).
The thing is, one of the Mac’s greatest original virtues (and it still is now, even though Apple mistreated it repeatedly from 10.1 to 10.4) is design consistency, almost everyone respecting interface guidelines, etc. And a web browser that’s programmed to look exactly like a Mac app on Windows is a crime against good taste — if it can arguably make some kind of sense for a music player to have a distinctive GUI, the web browser should be one of the most unnoticeable programs on your desktop.
And the thing is, regular Windows users might have some kind of a fantasy of using a Mac, but look at what happens when they just get a tiny slice of OS X in their Windows rather than switch all the way.
From Apple’s point of view, there are several reasons for Safari to be released on Windows. But they’re all bad.
Giving Windows users a taste of the Mac to lure them into switching? I very much doubt that Safari could convince people who weren’t alerady enticed by iTunes. Plus, like I wrote above, Apple’s apps for Windows are pretty much anti-advertisements for the Mac — they should come with a flashing warning: “This works much better on the Mac! Honest!”
An iPhone SDK? Do you really want your iPhone web apps to be designed by Windows users? I’m pretty sure 99% of web developers who have an understanding of good interface design, and are capable of producing apps that won’t look out of place on an iPhone, already have a Mac. As for the remaining 1%, well, that would have been a nice opportunity to push a Mac mini onto their desktops, wouldn’t it?
John Gruber posted that the most likely motivation was that Apple wants its share of Google referrals on Windows, too (the Mozilla Foundation gets quite a nice revenue from people using the browser’s search field), and this interesting discovery (which I verified on my machine) pretty much confirms it: Apple pretty actively wants you to use the search field rather than setting Google or Yahoo as your homepage. Which is kind of harmlessly sneaky.
So, yeah, Safari for Windows might make them some revenue. But then, iLife for Windows would, too. Or iWork (well, no, probably not). Or Final Cut Pro. Or OS X for the PC, for that matter. Where do you draw the line? Apple’s emulated its all interface to Windows for its apps. They’ve reprogrammed Cover Flow to work without CoreWhatever. They even ported OS X’s font rendering engine to include it with Safari. In comparison, recompiling GarageBand or Final Cut Pro for Windows would probably be easier — not to mention removing the hardware verification from the OS X boot sequence. Where do you stop?
I guess the limit right now is at having an excuse from the hardware side of the business (the iPhone). But it’s just that: an excuse.
Meanwhile, I’m quite liking Safari 3 for Mac. When Steve demonstrated the visual find-as-you-type functionality (or maybe it was only on the Leopard pages) I knew I wanted it. Well, it works as advertised and I don’t want to live without it ever again.
(Don’t tell me “Firefox has been doing it for ages,” it hasn’t. I’m not talking about inline find per se, but the way search results are very prominently highlighted on the page. It’s a simple thing, but such a huge improvement.)
I don’t care much about reordering tabs and dragging them in and out, but maybe that’s just a matter of getting used to them — or maybe I’ve just gotten used to not using Safari’s tabs too much because it makes the browser unstable and then you lose all your open pages. (Although Safari 3’s “Reopen All Windows from Last Session” seems to work even after a crash.)
And it’s only slightly more crash-prone than Safari 2.
Just thinking about Leopard and .mac’s new functionality that lets you remotely access your computers’ drives: they implemented that so it could be used in the iPhone, didn’t they?
No, the Finder in Leopard is a 32-bit app. The only Leopard app I’m aware of that ships as a 64-bit app is Xcode.
No, the Finder is still largely a Carbon app in Leopard.
So much for a complete rewrite.
…that you should hurry and check out, if you are so inclined, before they disappear from the web.
The transparent menubar has clearly been a late addition, so there might still be some hope they’d realize the horror they unleashed:
I’m glad to see that you can still have icons on your desktop, despite Stacks — considering how determined Steve Jobs has been to kill the good Finder of old since the very first introduction of OS X, I really didn’t know what to expect.
Ah, and toolbar capsules are kinda dead — well, they’re not exactly gone, but they’re not ugly anymore and they actually make sense. And Leopard is such a huge step toward visual consistency that I’m not about to complain if the final release keeps rounded rectangles in some toolbars and capsules in others.
Wonder if they’re going to introduce four other secret functionalities, spread over the next week or so, to fill up the home screen.
It’s a sad, sad state of affairs when your best alternative for frequent file transfers between your local computers is a shareware program that costs $37 for 3 to 5 computers.
iChat can transfer files over Bonjour for free, but you’ve got to manually accept each transfer on the target computer (and you have to hack your Address Book if you don’t want all computers to have the same name in the contact list). Adium can’t transfer files over Bonjour, and when I tried creating an MSN account per machine the files were transferred through Microsoft’s servers. And, as for other dedicated programs (like DropCopy or the new Picnic), there are always bugs or complications. Geez.
$37 for 3 computers, $66 for 6… if Leopard’s Finder keeps Apple’s promises (and I’m not getting my hopes too high), that would justify a fourth to a half of the upgrade price.
What strikes me — besides the fact that you’ve never seen such a sexy presentation from such a depressive demonstrator — is how much the iPhone is something you have to learn how to use.
Pressing “Edit” to erase an email or text message. Or, if you want a shortcut, sliding on it from left to right. Double-pressing the remote to skip to the next track. Double-tapping a photo to zoom out… I seem to remember a time when Apple interfaces were intuitive, not cryptic.
Sure, I still wish I could have an iPhone, but this guided tour really leaves me puzzled. There’s a case to be made that touch-screens introduce a brand new paradigm and some kind of learning is required, but that’s no excuse for the “Edit” button. Or the remote.
Oh, and the iPhone is definitely not any more multi-touchy than a MacBook’s trackpad. Technologically speaking.
I had an epiphany yesterday that the most reliable way to copy files between my local network’s computers should be Transmit droplets using FTP over SSH — with the advantage that it’s secure, and doesn’t risk sending my password in clear text over wifi.
So I tried it and, lo and behold… it was way too slow: first the droplet launches, then it launches Transmit if it wasn’t running already, then it connects (and it seems to be rather slow connecting over SFTP), and Transmit takes some space in the dock… Too cumbersome.
Then I realized I could use the command line for that, encased in a little bit of AppleScript. I wrestled with it for a while, spending two hours trying to make Keychain Scripting work before I realized I could not send the password to scp from the command line and I had to create SSH keys. Which is more secure, for sure, but also much more of a hassle to setup — not that I personally mind, but it’s going to make the instructions below much more daunting.
So I better entice you, first. Here’s what it looks like:
Okay, that’s not very spectacular. But imagine you can just drop a file or folder or several of each on one of the icons, and they’re instantly copied to that computer’s desktop (or any other place — you can create one droplet per destination). No waiting for the Finder to mount a network share (and hoping it succeeds) or for an FTP app to launch. No keeping iChat open just to use Bonjour file transfers (which require confirmations, despite Chax, for zip files and applications). No buying expensive shareware, and no running unreliable freeware. It’s all achieved with the magic of Unix.
Oh, and it works perfectly with applications, links or clippings. And you can even directly drop a link from Safari if the droplet is in the dock (but not on the desktop).
This would be very cool if:
the installer wasn’t borked (the stupid thing tries to access the /garooLibrary/ folder, what the hell? this is labeled — and sold — as version 1.0, not an alpha)
it didn’t choke on accented letters (same observation)
it didn’t hijack the Zoom button (just because iTunes breaks the systemwide UI paradigm means you have to follow in its tracks)
it were a standalone application (what’s the point of absolutely having to switch from one display to the other?)
there weren’t plenty of free, slightly less evolved but quite usable and better programmed alternatives
You can use the very good Mail.appetizer, for instance, and configure it to not dismiss the notification window until you’ve read the message and clicked it.
I’ve been wondering for a week now why my blog drafts got mangled HTML entities every so often. I just remembered I’m running a Safari beta.
Two things regarding the FishPhone (I don’t want to call it “JesusPhone” and FishPhone is more fun):
First, would everyone please stop falling into the 80GB iPhone trap? If you look at the video, you’ll see that, when it zooms in, nothing is pixelated: radio buttons and such remain perfectly smooth. It could be that they’re using Leopard’s resolution independence and Ctrl-Scrollwheeling to zoom, but the way they always frame perfectly the exact area they want to show indicates that it’s been enlarged in post-production.
So it couldn’t have been done from a screencast (or interface elements would be pixelated by post zooming).
Meaning: it’s all CG.
Meaning: it’s all intentional.
They inserted the 74.40GB specifically in order to give us something to blog about.
Second, Leo Laporte is going to have to eat his repeated words that the iPhone Guided Tour was cheating by hiding delays between screens and application swtiches — just as I expected he would. The phone is just as zippy and fluid in David Pogue’s video (which doesn’t have a permalink). They couldn’t seriously have been lying about that, especially considering that’s the most important aspect of the iPhone.
Oh, and apparently they haven’t been lying about battery life either, which… boggles the mind.
And I forgot: Third, I expected the AT&T plans to be more advantageous. If they’re not subsidizing the phone, they could at least make it the cheapest smartphone to use.
But then, there’s actually no telling whether they’re already subsidizing the phone or not.
I’ve been wondering for a couple weeks now why my blog administration system was suddenly mangling my blog posts when they contained HTML, and what could I have done wrong?
I only realized yesterday I had also been using Safari 3 for a couple weeks. On to uninstalling the beta — I’ll miss inline find.
The iPhone video of the day demonstrates the soft keyboard further and I have a hard time imagining Apple not reworking it entirely within six months.
I particularly hate when there’s more cognitive work involved in rejecting an auto-correction than in accepting it (in order to reject the iPhone’s suggestion for a word it deems mistyped, you must press the word itself; pressing the spacebar or typing any punctuation accepts it). And that part is unlikely to get fixed, as Safari’s form auto-complete does the same (and it has bitten me more than once, particularly when defining table fields in phpMyAdmin, where the input fields are too short to notice that Safari auto-completed values to a longer name I had used in another instance.)
But the most puzzling aspect is: Why not let users switch to landscape mode in order to have a more extensive keyboard? By the way, we don’t know what happens when you type a Safari URL while in landscape mode.
I’m more and more curious about the process that led to recruiting — or choosing from the internal staff — their Mr. iPhone. This device is Steve Jobs’s baby, and deciding who would be presenting it in his stead must have been a difficult thing.
Kevin Rose’s top secret new project has been unveiled: Pownce. I love the domain name, but I’m not sure about the concept — Twitter plus MSN plus Flickr plus… well, BitTorrent? (I wonder how they’ll handle the RIAA’s inevitable complaints.)
If anyone can launch this kind of thing, though, which requires a large initial install base for it to catch on (because, unlike Twitter, there doesn’t seem a way to make stuff completely public, so you need to have your friends in there already), it’s definitely Kevin Rose.
But what I’m really unsure about is that it’s Twitter with more features. And Twitter’s strength is precisely that it doesn’t have more features. I just don’t see what I could be using Pownce for. (It should interesting as an entry-level groupware solution, though.)
Did Apple eat its own dog food and develop an Ajax feed reader that would sync with Safari’s RSS bookmarks? The reader.mac.com address is legit, but Apple apparently changed the screenshot (because “reader.mac.com” isn’t obvious as it is).
There’s no ichat.mac.com, alas. That would be much more useful (there are already far enough online RSS readers, and most of them are bound to offer iPhone versions very soon).
Skin contact is required to operate the buttons.” Damn, no circumventing the annoying keyboard with a stylus (unless there’s a way to make a special stylus that registers — I think there’s one such thing for the iPod wheel, isn’t there?).
Apple says that you should be able to replace [the SIM card] with any recent AT&T card, once you activate it in iTunes.” Uh? There is a SIM card inside? And it’s replaceable?!
Unlike the iPod, there’s no “do not disconnect” message during syncing. You can yank the iPhone out of the cradle whenever you like — to answer a call, for example; syncing resumes when you’re done.” Here’s hoping that revolutionary functionality comes to the iPod in a future upgrade. (I seem to recall they patented that?)
What does [Safari] lack? Java, Flash, stored passwords…” Stored passwords? But you can lock the phone with a code, so why wouldn’t you be allowed to save passwords? And how the fuck do you use the magical auto-correcting self-typing keyboard to input a non-trivial password every time you want to use a web app?
Does the keyboard rotate when you rotate the iPhone? Only in the Web browser.” And there’s a picture in the article’s sidebar. So I guess, basically, it works in landscape mode in apps that work in landscape mode (I suppose the Address Book, for instance, doesn’t auto-rotate at all) — that’s good, because Safari is the one place where you’ll need a larger keyboard most (well, there’s text messages, too, but if you’ve got an iPhone you’re better off using web-based chats), but I wish they added a couple punctuation keys to the layout in that case. Anyway, I imagine they’ll probably update all the apps, or the keyboard itself, to rotate in some future update — they’ll just have to.
For other [email] accounts, the iPhone checks either periodically (every 15, 30 or 60 minutes)…” 15 minutes minimum? Huh?
And only Apple could release in 2007 a smartphone you can’t copy custom ringtones to.
Heh. (To whoever entered “email@example.com” before I did in order to be allowed to
perform seppuku download RealPlayer: why the hell didn’t you type “blahblah” as a password?)
I’d have been tweeting from gay pride if my cellphone’s browser remembered passwords. But then, neither does the iPhone, they say.
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