Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Keynotes getting worse?

Is it just me, or are the Apple Keynotes getting more and more disappointing? Today's WWDC keynote featured the following:

  • EA returning as a Mac game developer
  • Stacks, folders in the Dock
  • Translucent menu bar and a 3-D dock
  • "Back to my Mac" .mac feature, which is essentially iDisk
  • Cover Flow in the Finder, which is useless eye candy
  • Quick Look, a moderately useful enhancement of Preview
  • 64-bit Finder, which might be useful but I'm skeptical
  • Core Animation, which might be useful but is more likely to be useless eye candy
  • Boot Camp built-in, which is already out in Tiger and admittedly done better by Parallels or VMWare
  • Spaces, which is pretty cool
  • Movie Time Dashboard widget, which is okay but nothing new
  • WebClip technique for widget building, which we saw last year
  • iChat Theater, which will be useful
  • iChat Photo Booth effects, which totally won't
  • Time Machine, which is just a built-in backup system
  • Safari for PC, which will be great if it catches on
  • AJAX apps for the iPhone, which was a given

Seriously. No new hardware, no really jaw-dropping revelations for Leopard, a promise of 300 new features but nothing truly revolutionary demonstrated today, which suggests that the other 290 are all things like "changed the icon for the Canon printer driver".

Apple computers have gone to suck. The iPhone could be cool, but they're totally neglecting their original market. The writing was on the wall when they dropped 'Computer' from their name and just became 'Apple, Inc.' – where's the Blu-Ray drive or HD DVD drive? Where's the real increase in .mac value? Where's the new hardware? Where's, well, anything new for the Mac people?

It's tragic that of all of this, the thing I'm the most excited about is a translucent menu bar and some new desktop photos. This keynote sucked, and so does the outlook for Apple's computers. What a disappointment.


Now, a cynic would point out that Apple need not develop anything "new," since their current MO is to coast along on their inherent (ahem) "coolness." Why get all next-gen when you can just cook up another half-dozen ways to make John Hodgman look silly and bump your market share by another 0.005%.

Seriously, though, I'm a recent convert, and I loves my MacBook (well, it's SMU's, technically, but still). Microsoft now has to prove it to me, which they didn't with Vista (which I hope to avoid moving to for as long as possible). I mean really, MS set the bar pretty dang low for Leopard, so it's not like Apple had to introduce matter replication or a holographic user interface. A few more pretty-pretties is OK with me, as long as it's still fast and convenient.

Cover Flow in the Finder, which is useless eye candy

Yeah, really. How about "consistently behaving interface that actually remembers my folder view settings" instead?

Time Machine, which is just a built-in backup system

This, however, since it's evidently built into the filesystem itself and is thus totally opaque and requires no user intervention, is pretty awesome. Not new, since it's based off of Sun tech, but nice to finally see on a consumer platform.

I figured this would be an incremental thing at best. They're busy on those other platforms right now, and OS X (aside from Finder) does a pretty good job and is solid right now, and they've done so much so fast the past few years that some period of retrenchment and consolidation was probably due. I almost don't want them to try too hard to innovate for awhile, because it'll just be more shiny but ultimately useless crap like Dashboard. I'm not sure what of use they can really add under current conditions. Hardware-wise, things seem a little stagnant in general right now, and they can only advance on that front as quickly as their components do.

Post a Comment