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Journler - Blog - Blog Archive - » WWDC 2007 Keynote

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WWDC 2007 Keynote

The Keynote is a few hours past and my first impression is not a good one. “Weird” as one developer friend put it. “WTF are the secret features?” asked another. The Keynote felt like it was missing something. Simply put there was nothing spectacular. No hardware announcements, features mostly covered last year, very little for the developers in the crowd, and no iPhone SDK but rather a “compromise” billed as a great idea. You know it’s a bummer when the WWDC headlines run “Apple launches Windows browser” (BBC) and “Apple: Safari available to Windows users” (CNN). Is a Windows product the most exciting thing to come out of it?

The bulk of the keynote focused on Leopard, but Jobs announced very little that the Mac community didn’t already know about. New desktop? Hardly. Some changes and a few features. Improved Finder? Granted there are some neat additions here, Cover Flow for your files, Quick look and better network connectivity with other Macs, but basically it’s the same old Finder, not an “all-new” one advertised at the new Apple website.

Kudos to the subtle design changes though. The Finder *does* look better. Love the unified window look. Folder icons have been redesigned as well as icons for common file types. The side bar looks great and seems a bit more functional, with quick access to smart folders, network devices, shared computers and so on.

The most surprising announcement was Safari for Windows. I get the feeling this is part of a long term plan that isn’t immediately apparent. I’m really curious what’s happening behind the scenes for this to work. Did Apple port WebKit to Windows? If so, they may have needed to re-code a decent bit of Cocoa as well. Is Cocoa for Windows a long term goal?

Surely all of this is related to the iPhone announcement. Developers have been waiting for an iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) since the device was first mentioned. Such a kit would allow programmers to write their own applications for the phone. In a post back in April I mentioned the lack of this possibility as a reason for my displeasure with the device.

Instead of announcing an SDK Jobs announced that developers would be able to write AJAX Web 2.0 applications that could be run directly in Safari on the iPhone. This was even billed as an advantage — developers wouldn’t need an SDK, how great is that? But the phone has a standards compliant browser. Of course it can run web apps based on dhtml, css and javascript. Nothing new here.

Seen in this light Safari on Windows makes sense. It looks like Apple is moving to position itself as an internet leader, in terms of content distribution as well as consumption. With a Safari offering on Windows, web developers will be more inclined to create sites that display correctly and work completely in WebKit, Apple’s html rendering technology. This guarantees an easy transition to an iPhone targeted app. If it works in Safari, it’ll work on your iPhone.

Although there’s some neat stuff going on, and I’ll be writing about it later, all in all it was a keynote that didn’t leave me very excited. From my conversations with other developers it seems I’m not the only one feeling this way.

5 Responses to “WWDC 2007 Keynote”

  1. EvanAgee Says:

    You’d think I’d be happy to find out that I’m not the only one scratching my head after today’s keynote. When Steve jumped right into the Leopard tour I thought for sure that we were in for an exciting ride that would take much time. Desktop improvements, great. New finder, great. Time Machine, iChat fancy backgrounds, Spaces…. umm, didn’t we already see this? Okay, the master salesman is saving the best for last, the major secret features are coming up last. Nope, more of the same.

    At the end I ended up feeling about as excited as I feel when I hear about a new project that Microsoft is working on. Yeah, it was that bad. Sure, we got some MacBook Pro updates a week or so ago and the MacBook was improved some as well. But these events are supposed to be the launchpad for Apple’s latest and greatest, not the rehashing of the previewed 5 months ago and the not that exciting to begin with.

    Come on Apple, we’ve come to expect much from you and today you’ve let me down.

  2. Michael Tsai - Blog - WWDC 2007 Keynote Says:

    […] believes what Jobs says. And, more importantly, it’s insulting to portray some browser hooks as an SDK for writing true iPhone applications. The iPhone Web applications aren’t even at the level of […]

  3. Phil Says:

    But these events are supposed to be the launchpad for Apple’s latest and greatest, not the rehashing of the previewed 5 months ago and the not that exciting to begin with.

    I guess that’s it. The Leopard beta has been around a year so there isn’t much new to say. Unfortunately today’s developer preview was hyped in a big way — those super secret features which turned out to be cool but not incredible. Everyone had high expectations.

    I was really hoping for a product announcement. I’m in the market for a new Mac and I’d love to get an iMac. It’s been 280 days since the line was updated, and I thought the conference would be a good chance to announce it. After all, like you said the MacBooks were updated just a week ago or so. But I suppose that would take away some of the spotlight from the iPhone.

    Thankfully one of the sessions later in the day was excellent. I can’t say too much about it — NDA and all that — but the presenters made an excellent case for web based technologies and web based media. It really does look like Apple is repositioning itself.

    We all thought Apple was branching and headed in a more consumer devices oriented direction, iPhone, iPod, iTV, all that jazz. What I’m seeing instead is a company looking to make itself a major player in the new internet culture, not only as a distributor and consumer platform but also as a producer of web content. By that last one I don’t mean Apple creating web content but rather providing the platform which individuals use to create it. I think Apple envisions a future in which the premier web content is created, distributed and consumed through its products and systems.

  4. Steven Jay Cohen Says:

    Cocoa for Windows existed before OSX did :)

    Showing my age here, but OpenStep was crossplatfom back in the day. I think Steve will eventually fullfill the Yellow Box promise: Develop on a mac, deploy everywhere. Apple does not need the corporate customers, but if developers see that they can build stuff on a Mac and deploy on OSX, Windows, and *Nix (using GNUstep+), then personal computer choice of developers can tilt the scales. This is true at my office. We develop on Windows and most of the office has macs at home.

  5. Journler - Blog - Blog Archive - » Apple to Developers: Write Web Apps. -- Is It Really That Bad? Says:

    […] It’s not an area I am well versed in, so I missed it the first time around when I said in my keynote post: “Instead of announcing an SDK Jobs announced that developers would be able to write AJAX Web […]

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