Monday, June 11, 2007

The WWDC'07 keynote

Well I'm typing this using the new Safari 3 Public Beta on my ageing 12-inch Powerbook, and I must admit to being moderately unimpressed. It looks like they've finally caught up with Firefox. Okay, so everybody and their dog have been able to rearrange their browser tabs, but being able to drag one out of the browser and make a new window is kind of cool, although not being able to drag another window into your browser to make it a tab definitely isn't.

Inline search in the Safari 3 Public Beta

The new inline search feature is definitely cool, and along with the new snapback feature for returning to my search results after I've navigated navigated away from the original page, look like a good solid user interfaces. It also look like they've been talking to Google as a good deal of the new Blogger interface has suddenly gone "live" with the new browser. I wonder how many more Google applications that were previously just non-functional with Safari (or had limited functionality) just also started working?

For a public beta, the new browser also seems reasonably stable, so I can't complain too much, but what's really new? It's a web browser, I'm no longer impressed by a web browser. Why doesn't do exposé for tabs in the same way as Shiira does? Why doesn't it apply some sort of default style sheet for HTML and XML source code, why do I have to hit View Source? For that matter why does View Source not do syntactic highlighting when it shows you the page source? Every other browser does...

That said the new beta looks good, but I'm still probably going to stick with Safari for the same reason I always have, that it integrates into the system spell checker when entering text.

Apart from the new Safari, Steve talked a lot about the new features upcoming in Leopard. We've seen some of this stuff last year at WWDC'06, but there was some new stuff...

Although I guess someone has been looking at the BumTop interface, because you know what, Stacks look a bit familiar and to be honest, I've never really liked the iTunes interface. I don't have enough screen real estate for it on my 12-inch Powerbook, so the new Finder doesn't really impress me that much. Quick Look is okay, but not an amazing step forward.

I think it's quite telling that Apple stock fell 3% following the keynote. None of the announcements here are particilarly amazing, and when it comes down to it where were all the cool hardware the rumour sites were promising. Where are the new ultra-portables to replace my 12-inch Powerbook ?

I'm not even going to mention the weak excuse for developer support for the iPhone. If it doesn't appear as an icon on the main phone interface, it's a web application, not an phone application. No matter what the integration with the local hardware turns out to be...

Update: Apple has just posted the keynote address on to their website.

Update: I'm not alone thinking that the third party developer option we're being offered isn't exactly great, although I agree that Steve didn't really do a good job of selling what they are offering to the assembled developers.

Update: I should have thought of this (via iPhone Matters). Because it all makes sense, the reason why Apple has ported Safari to Windows is fairly obvious, order for developers to write and test “applications” for the iPhone, they must have access Safari. As of yesterday, that would limit iPhone developers to Mac developers only, since Safari did not exist on Windows. - The Apple Press
Update: For those of you who missed it, "Hello I'm Steve Jobs"...

Update: David Cann has created an iPhone interface mock-up (via TUAW) to try and get a feel for how these web applications will look on the iPhone. I'm still not convinced, if it doesn't show up as an icon on the main interface, will users really think of it as an application, or just another web site?