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Pick of the Week - A non-standard selection Pick of the Week
WWDC 2003The macosxhints Rating:
8 of 10
[Score: 8 out of 10]
As it's already Thursday, this week's Pick of the Week won't get the usual seven days' of exposure given to prior PotW selections. However, I don't think a lack of publicity from will hurt the PotW selection in the least!

Yes, I've chosen this week's WWDC as the Pick of the Week. I had some software candidates at hand, but after watching the keynote and the press and user response this week, I felt it was only fitting to select WWDC as the PotW for its impact on the future of the platform -- as measured by announcements of Apple software, Apple hardware, and other related stuff.

I don't do a lot of (any?) editorializing on the site, but there are some things I'd like to say about the WWDC announcements. If you'd rather not read my editorial, don't read the rest of the article -- just stop now, knowing that I believe this week's WWDC is well deserving of its PotW status. But if you'd like to know why I feel that way, read on...

On the consumer software front, iChat AV is a truly breakthrough application on the Mac. With but a few button clicks, you can be having audio-only or full video conferences with users around the world. I've used it quite a bit this week, and if there are two broadband connections in place, the quality of both the audio and video is quite impressive. I can see iChat AV selling a few Macs on its own to non-Mac users, to people such as my father who might like it to keep in touch with a couple of the family members! The Safari web browser reached version 1.0, and the new Pixlet codec seems like a revolutionary piece of work as well.

On the system software front, Panther seems to be shaping up to be a top-notch evolution in the OS X product family. Though I'm not keen on the name, Exposť looks to be somewhat of a revolution in managing the multitude of windows we all handle every day, and the rewritten Finder is something I'm definitely looking forward to using! Add in the reworked networking features, fast user switching, a speedier Preview, and other enhancements, and Panther looks like a winner.

For developers (which I'm not, by any stretch!), Xcode looks to be a great time saver in the development process, with features like distributed builds and the ability to make changes in running code. I've got no idea how it compares to CodeWarrior, but it seems Apple is trying to make the OS X development cycle as easy as possible.

Finally, and by far (to me) the most significant, was the rollout of the G5 PowerMacs. I've been a Mac user for a very long time -- my first box was a Macintosh II -- and I don't think I can recall a performance improvement as dramatic as what we're (apparently) about to see with the G4 -> G5 migration in the high-end desktops. Although both 68K to PowerPC and G3 to G4 transitions had some speed bumps, they were mainly about making technical changes at the chip level (RISC vs. CISC, Altivec, etc.). The new G5 machines, even in the single CPU varieties, seem to offer an amazing increase in performance, and at relatively good price points.

As an example, my single-CPU G4/733 with a GeForce3 card in it sold for something around $3,750 just 2.5 years ago. The new dual 2.0ghz G5 with similar features is around $800 less expensive, despite having a faster Superdrive, faster hard drives, comparable video card, greatly increased RAM capabilities, and tremendously improved motherboards with lightning-fast bus speeds and other architecture improvements. The fact that it's quieter is almost the most amazing fact, given the presence of the dual CPUs! Yes, there's always a feeling Apple could do more on pricing, but I think they've priced the machines in a competitive manner for their customers.

The fact that PC users are now looking at the benchmark results and finding ways to make their machines come out on top tells me that Apple is actually finally close to having a machine that has no speed deficit against the competition -- and I'm not sure I've ever felt that way about the Mac product line. The G5s really do help level the playing field.

In the "related stuff" category, the most interesting announcement is that there are now over 300,000 registered OS X developers. As of March 2001, that figure was only "over 10,000," according to Apple themselves. Even discounting that there are a large number of free online-only developers who want the Dev Tools downloads, this is a substantial increase in the developer population in only two short years. To me, this is the single WWDC announcement that best indicates that the Mac platform is alive and well -- and we should see quite a lot of new software in the future as those developers start producing code!

In short, after this week's WWDC, I'm more excited about the future of the Mac than I have been at any point that I can recall. We may not be the majority, but I think our ranks are growing, and will continue to grow, thanks to OS X and Apple's incredible touch with physical design.

So why only 8 out of 10? I docked the WWDC two points -- I wanted immediate G5 availability, and I wanted Panther by September or so :-).

And now, back to your regularly scheduled hints :-).

  • Currently 2.25 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (8 votes cast)

Pick of the Week - A non-standard selection | 15 comments | Create New Account
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Pick of the Week - A non-standard selection
Authored by: conundrum on Jun 26, '03 12:19:20PM

Counldn't agree with you more. Nice write up.

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Pick of the Week - A non-standard selection
Authored by: rael9 on Jun 26, '03 12:30:14PM

Just FYI, it's Pixlet, not Pixlar.

"Beer, the casue of, and solution to, all of life's problems." - Homer J. Simpson

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Authored by: robg on Jun 26, '03 01:09:50PM

Doh, thanks -- corrected now.


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Pick of the Week - A non-standard selection
Authored by: 1e6 on Jun 27, '03 01:21:11AM

Just FYI, it's cause, not casue.


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Authored by: NateDavis on Jun 26, '03 03:31:49PM

I was so excited to finally get to see the G5 as well. Glad to see Apple moving forward at a wonderful pace. I have been using iChat AV for the past few days. I can say that it is one of my New Favorite Apps! I can't wait until I can buy an iSight. (Next Paycheck soon) I have loved being able to Video with Family and Friends. It really will change my work flow. I think your PotW is appropriate. Thanks for your comments. MAC OS X Hints ROCK!

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Pick of the Week - A non-standard selection
Authored by: jasongutierrez on Jun 26, '03 04:01:32PM

I had to give this an 8 on the OSX hints poll. I'm not thrilled about decision to release a 64bit machine with a 32 bit OS. It would be hard for me to buy this machine until the full version of 10.3 is released. The other point I took off was for the case design, it looks like the screen of a Braun electric shaver. Never-the-less I'm extremely excited about the future of Apple!

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Pick of the Week - A non-standard selection
Authored by: Mikey-San on Jun 27, '03 12:58:11AM

What would you prefer, waiting until 10.3 is finished to release the G5s? 10.3 is not ready for release; the G5s are going to be in a couple of months.

Apple needs this /now,/ not when Panther is ready to roll.

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Pick of the Week - A non-standard selection
Authored by: EatingPie on Jun 27, '03 05:54:14PM
Another note is the interim extensions in Jaguar specific to the G5. I'm not up on possible performance boost here, but the lag time between the G5 and Panther isn't that long... a few months, so I really think it's no big deal.

Yeah, not as good as here and now, but by far and away NOT a platform killer!


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Pick of the Week - A non-standard selection
Authored by: MattHaffner on Jun 28, '03 12:41:19PM
I'm not thrilled about decision to release a 64bit machine with a 32 bit OS. It would be hard for me to buy this machine until the full version of 10.3 is released.
You know I keep hearing this and I keep wondering: why? Would you prefer that they keep the G5 under wraps until 10.3 is ready?

Are you unaware that every single application will run and run likely 2x faster under 10.2 on a G5? With certain apps, a recompile might add some additional speed bumps, which is why Adobe is prepping their PS plugin for the G5 already. The major boost is coming from the system itself, along with the nearly zero hit the chip takes running 32 bit apps.

The changes in 10.3 to make it fully a 64-bit OS (or maybe 10.3.1, as some reports are saying now), will primarily add the breaking of the 4GB barrier. That's pretty much it. So what 10.3(.x) is going to give you out of the box over 10.2 (aside from all the visible changes discussed at WWDC) is the ability to run several very memory hungry apps at the same time. Even then, I'm fairly certain that apps will have to be at least recompiled to be able to allocate memory blocks that large themselves.

There isn't going to be a big speed change due to the 64-bit-ness of 10.3. Individual apps may get faster, but only as their developers tweak for the G5. Honestly, this part of 10.3(.x) is really only going to be affecting a small part of the market in the short-term. Unless you are squarely in this niche, I don't see why you need to wait to bundle 10.3 with the G5's.

Where you're really going to see more speed bumps is when developers take advantage of the fact that there are now machines out there that can hold massive datasets/images/history/etc. completely in memory with a massive bus to fully take advantage of that fact. That will require more forethought and those gradual changes probably will probably be rolled up in the normal upgrade cycles.

All in all, it's going to be one heck of a fun year to watch :)

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Authored by: Wheaty73 on Jun 29, '03 08:18:38AM

So I wonder how the G5 and 10.3 will affect Fink? Apple have said that 10.3 will come with a v1.0 X11, combine this with a 64bit processor, and will everything be broken?
On the other hand if it all works, I can't wait to see how fast things compile and install compared to my ageing G4/400 :-D

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Authored by: MattHaffner on Jul 02, '03 02:12:17AM

Under 10.2, I would be very surprised if the G5 did anything but make Fink source installs 2+ times faster :)

10.3 is a another story, perhaps. The new version of gcc included could require minor changes. And I haven't read enough about "zero-linking" to know if this is a xCode gimmick or something more fundamental that could impact the more 'simple' command line builds that Fink does.

But the included X11 is already being handled by Fink since it is available as a free, public beta download from Apple's site. There should be no problem there either.

In any case, the Fink folks have really been on top of changes to the OS lately. I have little doubt it will likely be a seemless transition for those of us that depend on such tools...

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Pick of the Week - A non-standard selection
Authored by: pascalpp on Jun 26, '03 08:19:10PM

Better bump that 8 of 10 up to a 9 out of 10 -- word is that Panther will be released by the end of September.

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Dont Agree
Authored by: Reaper Man on Jun 30, '03 06:59:39PM

Having attended last weeks WWDC, I cant agree with your assesment.

WWDC is meant for developers. We need to know the latest and greatest information for us to build those cutting edge applications.

WWDC was used as a marketing platform to make announcements more suited to MacWorld or some other Apple special event. None of the announcements made have allowed me to better take advantage of Mac OS X to do my work.

Sorry, sometimes being a developer gives you a different perspective.

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Dont Agree
Authored by: ckier on Jul 01, '03 10:25:31AM

I actually agree with you. I don't happen to be a developer, and I, like many others were excited to hear interesting news Apple brought to the WWDC, but on the other hand I agree that this news should not have been the main focus of the WWDC and that it probably should have been more focussed on helping developers build new apps.

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just the developer tools ....
Authored by: ankh on Jul 01, '03 02:10:48PM

If they're counting me in that 300,000 because I had to register on that web page in order to keep the "devtools" files updated, I wonder about their statistics. Surely they remember that everyone was given the CD with 9.1 and encouraged to install these in the beginning and that some apps don't work without them, so anyone who read the README likely is on the list.

Hmmmm ....

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