WWDC Keynote Posted

by Bruce Stewart

Apple has just posted today's WWDC keynote address on the newly designed apple.com. If you couldn't make it out to San Francisco this year for WWDC, here's your chance to watch Steve go over 10 of the coolest new features in Leopard. There wasn't a lot of new ground covered in today's keynote, and I heard more than one developer grumble in disappointment at the lack of new announcements or information. We did a get a glimpse at the new Leopard finder and desktop, which while not earth-shattering are certainly improvements. And Safari for Windows is at least interesting.

But was it just me, or can you sense the awkward dissatisfied silence from the whole audience when Steve said that they were going to allow third party development on the iPhone after all, but by this he means only browser-based web apps. I think for once in his life Steve didn't do a great job of presenting his material to this audience. It is after all a very good thing that Apple has decided to provide URL-based access to the iPhone's telephony, email, and other services, but that point really got lost on the crowd I think, who were expecting an SDK to access these things. We've known all along that web apps would be one possibility for third-party iPhone development, and Steve's "there's no SDK, just use Safari and standard Web 2.0 technologies like Ajax to develop iPhone apps" message didn't highlight the power of what they are actually allowing here. (As one colleague commented, "just try getting your web app to make an actual phone call on a J2ME-based phone.") Personally, I think that there are a lot of interesting possibilities for third-party development with this kind of access to the iPhone's main features, and I'm not surprised that Apple isn't letting us get at the OS or place buttons on the home screen, but his message clearly didn't go over well with the developer audience here in San Francisco.

Let us know in the comments section if you were satisfied or disappointed with what Steve revealed about Leopard, Safari for Windows, and iPhone development opportunities.


2007-06-11 19:49:13
Personally, I think that supporting only web apps for now is entirely reasonable. Javascript is certainly a reasonable language for serious programming (see Google) and there's a large base of programmers who are competent in it. So, I expect to see compelling apps appear.

The one thing that web apps typically don't provide for, of course, is client-side storage of significant amounts of data. While developers would surely consider that an obstacle, I'll bet that Apple considers that to be a blessing - the last thing they want is for third-party apps to start filling the flash drive with data.

Martin McDonald
2007-06-12 03:28:03
The impending iPhone means that the real focus isn't on Mac or OS X, and that gave the Keynote a distracted, unfocused quality.

For instance, Apple will have a portfolio of products all running OS X, all designed to communicate via wifi and yet there doesn't seem to be a coherent strategy around network storage or synchronisation (there are some attractive bits and pieces in this area 'Back to Home' etc, iTunes doing far more than managing tunes). With ubiquitous networks this is going to be vital, but there is no real vision coming from Apple.

Another example is iLife, which has been a key element of the OS X and digital hub (remember that?) strategy. For 18 months this has just not been mentioned.

Apple is probably putting everything into iPhone at the moment, and I'm sure they'll get it right, at least in a 1.0 kind of way.

While this happens the Mac OS X space loses some of its vitality.

2007-06-12 07:02:23
I think a missing point on the iPhone dev and Safari for Windows front is the unspoken possibility that this is a move to create a cross-platform API for apps that run on Mac/iPhone/Windows through a Safari compatibility layer -- note that the new Safari beta requires an installer for the first time -- I suspect some libraries are being installed, though it may just be installing some Leopard libraries for pre-Leopard applicability. Time will tell....