Jaguar Preview Is Stunning
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The Fun Stuff
Jobs returned to the stage to present the features of Jaguar. Some of them had been mentioned earlier in the keynote, but Jobs did what he is best at: he explained why you will want to have these features on your computer.
He began with enhancements to the Finder. The long requested Spring-Loaded Folders are back. The Finder now has integrated search capabilities. In his demo of this feature, Ken Bereskin described this as "the Finder that can find."
Searches can be simple or fairly complex, built out of as many criteria as the user wants to add. Once you have a list of found items, you can click on it and see its path. In the past, you had to open up Sherlock to search for files.
Next Jobs introduced a demo of Sherlock III, explaining that much of the value comes from providing services over the Internet. The demo of the Internet tab of Sherlock III looked an awful like the popular, Cocoa shareware application Watson. You could search images, track packages, check your stocks. In News you could look for news and then view the story as perfectly rendered HTML within Sherlock.
The demonstration of QuickTime 6 was impressive. QuickTime 6 will be integrated into Jaguar. It features MPEG4 video and AAC audio compression. One of the most interesting parts of the demo was when Frank Casanova showed the Instant-on streaming. There was no waiting for a buffer. Casanova clicked through an Enya video. Where he clicked, it just played. As a final touch he scrubbed back and forth through the video and it was immediately responsive. Jobs next showed off the Universal Access features mentioned above.
Apple has also worked on improving Quartz. They've taken the compositing, transparency, shadows, and other features and hardware accelerated them. Now 2D, 3D, and video will all go through OpenGL and everything will be hardware accelerated.
Jobs cautioned that this will require at least AGP 2x and 32Mb, so some of the older machines won't be able to take advantage of this. But, he added, the recent eMac and iMacs support it. This is a clear answer to the requests for porting OS X to Intel. Apple is able to take advantage of their unique position of controlling the hardware and the software. For years this was perceived as a negative. More recently, Apple has shown the advantages of knowing exactly what hardware will be running their software.
Next, Jobs alluded to the hundreds of millions of dollars Apple had spent on Newton technology. The first thought that may come to your mind is that he's talking about introducing an Apple-branded PDA. No, Jobs was introducing a technology they call Inkwell.
This integrates handwriting recognition into text components. If you enable handwriting recognition, any application will recognize the input. A demo showed how graphics artists can enter text using their graphics tablet. They don't need to put down their pens. A second demo was just silly. Inkwell works with text entry into the Terminal as well. If you thought down and dirty coding meant using the Terminal window, you can now be outdone by programmers who write code in the Terminal by hand.
The coolest part of the new version of Mac OS X is Rendezvous. Apple is proposing the technology as a new standard. In many ways, it's the ideas that Sun was trying to create with JXTA. Sun was never able to get the message out in a clear enough way that people could see JXTA's potential.
Apple's demo communicated what Rendezvous could mean in about ten minutes. Jobs explained that the key to Rendezvous is to have computers discover each other and share stuff. Rendezvous is dynamic discovery for IP that requires no user configuration.
Jobs demonstrated an iTunes enhancement. He began using iTunes when his "son" came "home." His son opened up his TiBook and, after a short discovery process, Jobs was able to see and play the music from his son's computer. Jobs stressed that there is no copying of music; it is being streamed from his son's machine to his own.
In addition to working on how machines communicate with each other, Apple is working on improving how we communicate. Mail has been improved with intelligent spam filtering that can be taught, and more sophisticated rules for handling you email. Auto-merged mailboxes allow you to look at a single inbox and see the messages from all of your inboxes in one place. You can also choose to look in each mailbox separately.
Message threads are now highlighted so you can easily find related messages. Mail can playback QuickTime movies and the security in Mail has been improved. Address Book has also been improved so that it can serve as a single database for people. Searching has been dramatically improved, as has the editing of records.
The final feature highlighted in the keynote was the new i-application, iChat. Jaguar will have instant messaging (IM) built in. Apple's version is actually officially compatible with AOLís IM. You won't need to subscribe to AOL for the service. The interface is an Aqua bubble interface where the chatters appear to have comic strip like bubbles containing their conversation. There will be a presence indicator in Mail so that if you get email from someone on your buddy list you will know if they are using IM.After the demo Scott Forstall again addressed the developers. He mentioned that there had been many requests to allow non-Apple applications to sport the metal look and feel of the iApplications. He then showed how easy that is to do now in Interface Builder.
Usually there aren't any hardware announcements at WWDC. At this one there was a hardware pre-announcement. Jobs noted that to use a Mac as a server you just bought the fastest PowerMac available and used it as a server. He then announced that on May 14, Apple will introduce a rack-mounted server. Also, corresponding to the Jaguar release, there will be a Jaguar Server release with some server-oriented features on top of those to be released with Jaguar.
Daniel H. Steinberg is the editor for the new series of Mac Developer titles for the Pragmatic Programmers. He writes feature articles for Apple's ADC web site and is a regular contributor to Mac Devcenter. He has presented at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, MacWorld, MacHack and other Mac developer conferences.
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