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Apple Announcements at WWDC 2006

Technology
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Apple’s WWDC 2006 announcement went out. They used the time to announce the new Mac Pro and to preview some of Leopard’s features. I’m not going to go into too much detail, there’s a hundred better articles out there that already do that. Instead, I’ll give you a sampling and my impressions.

The new Mac Pro, replacing the G5 PowerMacs. I admit I’m disappointed the rumours that a new enclosure was coming out turned out to be false. Personally, I think the titanium look is nice, but I’m yearning for a new look from Apple. The white Macbooks are sweet!

The new Mac Pro’s are Apple’s top end machines, and unlessy ou have serious coin to drop and really need the extra horsepower, you’ll give this a pass. Let’s face it, I do not need 16Gb or RAM or four harddrive bays :)

The juicy bits I was waiting for came with the Leopard preview. I might have mentioned it before; I want to buy a Mac as my next machine, but I’m holding off until Leopard is released. Looks like that won’t be until spring 2007, but with what they showed today, it looks like it’s going to be worth the wait.

Mail got a bump, making it a little more like Apple’s answer to Outlook. Addition of Notes and a To-Do list, which integrates with other apps. I preferred Mail when it was fairly stand alone, and I worry about it starting to do too much. If the To-Do integration with iCal and other apps are solid, it’ll probably work out all well, but I’d have to hands-on it to be sure.

Time Machine is Leopard’s built in backup software. Don’t let the fancy name and graphics fool you, there’s some solid thinking behind it. I’ll have to read up in more depth to form a full opinion, but right now, three things spring to mind. One, great idea, love being able to retrieve past versions of documents I saved or deleted outright. Could be useful. Two, how much drive space and resources does this constant backup take? How much can it be configured. Or outright turned off? And three, the 3D effects are cute, but can they be turned off?

Another feature in Leopard is Spaces, virtual desktops. It’s like the tabs on your web browser; open a new blank desktop for apps, to reduce clutter on screen. You can tab between desktops, and easily drag apps to and from Spaces. For some people who work with a dozen apps open, this will help keep things easier to manage. Move iTunes and Mail in one Space, then open browsers, editors, etc in a workspace Space instead.

In my opinion, the coolest feature in the set was the Dashboard upgrades. Not only did they add Dashcode, allowing for faster and easier creation of widgets, but they also added Web Clips, through Safari. Basically, on any webpage you view in Safari, you can press a button, choose an area in that webpage, and make it a widget... instantly. For those of you like me who would love very specific widgets but never had the time to learn the nitty gritty, this is magic.

There were more announcements, of course. Core animations, to make slicker apps, iCal upgrade to match up with the Mail upgrade, Spotlight upgrade, better accessibility through text readers, and more. Also, there were some unannounced bonuses on the Apple Store, like the one-third price drop on Apple’s 20inch, 23inch, and 30inch Cinema Displays.

For full information, I recommend you check out this article at Engadget, who provided excellent coverage live from the keynote. Or, if you missed it completely, watch the entire keynote in Quicktime.