Snow Leopard, MobileMe play second fiddles to iPhone at Apple's WWDC
By Stephen WITHERS
The WWDC keynote concentrated on the iPhone 3G and related developments, but Apple also took the opportunity to provide a few hints about Mac OS X 10.6 and confirmed MobileMe as the successor to the .Mac online service.
Don't get too excited about Snow Leopard, as Mac OS X 10.6 is codenamed - it's not expected for "about a year", and I'm guessing it'll be late rather than early. And there's been no official public confirmation of rumours that 10.6 will be an Intel-only release.
Image: plattmunk @ stockxchng
There aren't going to be the hundreds of new features trumpeted in 10.5, but Exchange support in Mail, iCal and Address Book is a very significant new feature for practically anyone working in an organisation that uses Microsoft-based servers.
And the promised performance improvements aren't simply being achieved by tightening up the operating system's code. Instead, a pair of new features will provide developers with facilities that can make their applications run significantly faster.
One is 'Grand Central' - Apple's technology to make it easier to create software that takes full advantage of multi-core CPUs. The other is OpenCL, a C-based programming language for exploiting the power of modern graphics chips to perform certain types of calculations.
There's also a new version of QuickTime - QuickTime X - ahead. Little has been revealed other than that it will provide "extremely efficient" audio and video playback. I'd suspect there's much more to be said.
What about MobileMe?
.Mac's webmail service and associated Address Book are each getting a facelift, and are being augmented with a proper 'in the cloud' calendar application where .Mac was limited to publishing calendars created in iCal.
An important new feature is that contacts, calendar items and bookmarks are synchronised by being pushed to your computers and devices (iPhone, iPod touch) rather than being pulled by the previous synchronisation facility.
We'll also see a doubling of storage space from 10G to 20G, which is good for keeping all those emails on the server so they can be accessed via IMAP or webmail. It also helps with MobileMe hosted websites, transferring large files via the iDisk instead of attaching them to emails, online backups (no change to the existing Backup application, though) and for large online photo and video albums.
The arrival of MobileMe will mark the end of iCards greeting cards, .Mac slides, and synchronisation with Mac OS X 10.3. No great loss, I'd suggest.
But I will be sorry to see the end of the web interface to .Mac bookmarks. MobileMe will synchronise bookmarks between Safari 2 and Firefox 2 (Mac OS X and Windows) as well as Internet Explorer 7 (Windows only), but that's not much use when you're using a borrowed computer.
The .Mac to MobileMe transition will begin in early July, will come into being "soon" though it may take up to 10 days before all existing .Mac accounts see the benefit of the extra storage allocation.
MobileMe will cost $A119 per year for a normal subscription or $A179 for a family pack (one master account with 20G of storage and four family member accounts each with 5G of storage). As with .Mac, a free 60-day trial will be available.
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MAC is so good at promoting, and every one just falls on there tail.
But Apple/MAC needs to do better.
Yes the phone is great looking, but what?s new, faster internet ?, is the camera much better ? why is there no video call?s ? Actually the new things is still OLD. Can I change my battery ?, No the iPhone is the same old phone, wit a faster internet, still stone-age technology, in this business
No Apple, has done this again. People like my self got the first one, and was happy with the internet and mail, but in a business you need copy / Paste, but this are you still not getting. Apple's discussion forum, is no good, all you will hear is ? the iPhone does not do this or that? so get the new iPhone 3G and get ready to get disappointed
If it's not for you, don't buy one. I doubt that I will, as I don't want to go on contract and I'm unlikely to pay $600, $700, $800 or whatever the outright price turns out to be - assuming it can be purchased that way!
But a lot of technically oriented people concentrate too much on features and specifications, while many buyers are more interested in what the phone is like to use. Everyone I know with an iPhone rates it very highly in that respect.
Can someone explain why people are hung up on the copy and paste issue? I can't imagine needing to do that on a phone. (But then some people couldn't understand why anyone would want to use a mouse on a computer, so maybe it's just lack of imagination on my part.)
And I suspect that a healthy third-party software market will make it even more attractive to some segments.
As I said about the MacBook Air, it is what it is. If it's right for you, buy it; if it isn't, then don't.
Have you noticed that other manufacturers are still keen for their new handsets to be seen as 'iPhone killers'?
So what do you reckon about Snow Leopard or MobileMe?