I watched Steve Jobs’ keynote presentation again. Then I checked the Apple web site details. Again.
Then I checked Leopard first hand. It wasn’t much of a check but it was live, with live conversation with a friend in a company where I once worked.
He’s a Mac developer fresh out of the WWDC conference in San Francisco. Wednesday night he stopped at Las Vegas McCarran Airport on his way back home.
Why? So he could show off a little Leopard. I scurried over to the airport and we met outside. There wasn’t much time before his next flight and even late night outside at McCarran is no fun. It’s noisy. Dirty. And hot.
Sitting on a bench near his gate he fired up a new MacBook Pro and booted into OS X Leopard.
You can imagine my excitement. I felt like a high school girl dreaming of some near action in the front seat. I’m not a back seat kinda girl, despite the Forum headings.
The first impression created by Leopard was disappointment. The Finder, long in need of something new, is still the Finder. Mail is a big hit, and only over shadowed in cool by Time Machine.
If you’ve been reading the online Mac sites and news, you’ll know that Steve Jobs showed off 10 different aspects of OS X Leopard. That’s all.
He also pointed out that there’s more—much more—but it would have to wait because they don’t want Microsoft to know what else is going into Leopard that’ll end up in Vista, too.
Outside of Mail, finally good enough for the eye candy crew, and Time Machine, Leopard’s new back up system, there’s not much else that’s exciting, hence the disappointment.
Yes, there’s iChat on sterioids, but that kind of eye candy is to be expected. We didn’t have time to check out iChat and couldn’t find a wireless connection anyway.
Yes, there’s Spaces, which is merely Apple’s version of virtual desktops, though clearly done in an Apple way—simple, elegant, and it works.
These things are eye candy and won’t blow anyone away. I like eye candy. They can be useful and will help sell plenty of Macs. So I like that.
The disappointment is that there’s not much of it to show beyond what you saw on the Apple QuickTime movie of Steve’s keynote presentation.
Where’s the beef? I asked my friend what he thought of WWDC, Leopard, and the new Mac Pros. Let me call him Mister Ed. There’s reasons for that.
Mister Ed said the excitement for the conference was huge. It was and is the largest developer’s conference Apple has ever hosted.
So, the focus was for developers and not so much for those of us who really want more of what the developers actually develop. Mac applications.
Include Apple in that group of developers because OS X, Tiger and Leopard, are loaded with first class applications. It’s just that we’re ready for something new.
“Mister Ed, what’s new with Leopard—besides the obvious small plate of expected eye candy?”
What got Ed excited was what’s under the hood and has to do with the stuff most of us will never see but will make all the difference in the world.
Ed said, “Bambi, it’s 64-bit. And 32 bit. You don’t know what that means for developers. It’s awesome.”
OK, where’s Tera when I need her most? Mac OS X Leopard will be, is, a 64-bit operating system, and sets the stage for a massive difference between OS X and Windows Vista.
Leopard allows both 32-bit code, that which Ed says is on Tiger and most Mac applications now, and runs on older PPC Macs and Intel Macs, and 64-bit code—both of which run at the executable, device driver, and object code levels.
My head was swooning. I was dizzy. Not because I know what that means, but because Ed was right. I don’t know what that means.
Ed also explained that Microsoft’s 64-bit versions of Windows XP require drivers to be rewritten for 64-bit use, which may orphan some applications that are 32-bit.
Leopard’s 64-bit architecture runs from the Mac OS X kernel all the way up to the user interface. Think stunning visuals. Think Time Machine 3D-type Mac applications.
Think Windows Vista’s makers may delay Vista again? And again?
Apple pulled off this remarkable transition from IBM PPC chips to Intel chips in part because of Xcode and Cocoa, OS X’s major development tools.
Mister Ed says Xcode 3.0, Cocoa, and Intel’s top of the line chips means Macs will have applications that will make even Vista’s applications look more tired and stale than XP does now when compared to Tigeer.
In a nutshell, OS X Leopard has plenty to like, but not enough for folks like me. There is something to like, especially for the developer crowd.
What I like about Leopard is that it sets the stage for a whole bunch of awesome applications from Mac developers by this time next year.
What I hate about Leopard is that Steve’s holding his cards close to the vest and not letting out all of Leopard’s secrets. Yet. Why?
Because Microsoft steals ideas. It’s been said that Apple is merely a cheap and profitable version of Microsoft’s Windows Research and Development group.
With constant delays in Microsoft Vista, and Steve admitting that Leopard won’t ship in 2006 or early 2007, but may be delayed until Spring of 2007 (I know, that could be March, April, May, or even June), we have a new race. A different race.
It’s a race to see who blinks first—Apple or Microsoft. Who will release their new OS last and beat the other?
In summary, there’s plenty to like about Leopard but not enough. There’s new stuff under the hood that makes developers salivate, but there’s more we don’t know about and won’t for awhile.
Ed could only show off Leopard for about 20-minutes between flight. Was it worth the late night drive to McCarran? Well, yeah. I got to see something early that most didn’t and won’t. But it wasn’t much.
At least in Las Vegas I didn’t have to wear too many clothes. It’s easier to blend in.
If you saw a tall, leggy, scantily clad blonde sitting on a bench next to a geeky older guy with a laptop at McCarran Airport late Wednesday night, well, sorry I didn’t wave.
I was eating eye candy.