updated 01:30 pm EDT, Mon June 28, 2004
Steve Jobs WWDC keynote
Steve Jobs this morning kicked off Apple's annual WWDC Conference by noting that more than 3,500 developers were attending the San Francisco event, an increase of 17 percent over last year. After reviewing recent announements--iTunes, iTunes Music Store Europe, the iPod and BMW partnership, new Power Mac G5s, and AirPort Express--Jobs introduced new displays and demonstrated Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger with over 150 new features, due to ship in the first half of 2005.
Jobs spoke briefly about the issues with IBM's transition from 130nm to the 90nm process and slower-than-expected processor speed increases, but noted that IBM has had 25% compared to a 12% gain by Intel during the same period.
Job then introduced 20-, 23- and 30-inch Apple Cinema displays that feature an aluminum finish and both FireWire0 (2) and USB 2.0 (2) connections, but no longer uses the Apple-standard ADC connection. The displays are $1299, $1999, and $3299, respectively. The 30-inch display, supporting resolutions of up to 2560x1600, requires a new $599 Nvidia graphics card with 2 DVI connections (running in parallel) and a Power Mac G5.
Jobs also reviewed Mac OS X Panther and the state of Mac OS X, noting that Apple has nearly 12 million installed base of Mac OS X users (all versions)--about half of the installed Mac base. Jobs noted that there are more than 12,000 applications, including recent partnerships with Sun, Peoplesoft, Oracle, Borland, Quark, Adobe, and Microsoft (at an "all-time best", accordin to Bill Gates). Alias also announced that it would bring Maya Unlimited, which bundles the Mac OS X-compatible Maya Complete with other modules for Fluid Effects, Cloth, Hair, Fur and Live.
Jobs then introduced Mac OS X Tiger, which is due in the first half of next year. He noted that Panther was ahead of the competition and that Tiger will put Apple even further ahead (Jobs quipped about the "Redmond" banners in the Moscone, noting that "other people" are trying to copy us.) Tiger will feature 150 new features, including 64-bit Unix, better SMB support, new searching technology using embedded metadata in file system. The new "Spotlight" search technology is a system-wide function available from a new magnifying glass button that displays a search field with the results listed in a pop-down listing of everything found, including PDFs, etc.
A new version QuickTime in Tiger will sport the next-generation MPEG4 H.264 code. (as demoed by Frank Cassanova), while the new version of Safari will feature full RSS support, including a built-in RSS reader in Safari, allowing users to quickly check, subscribe, and aggregate RSS feeds from different Websites as well as search field for RSS. Tiger will also feature new "Core Image" library for imaging and video. It utilizes the GPU (grahics processing unit in the video card) rather than the CPU, using FPU precision and featuring over 100 professional quality realtime filters (gaussian blurs, 3D effects, etc.) The API, much like Core Audio, will be available to any developer via a standard API to allow manipulation of imaging and video.
Apple will also continue to integrated .Mac into the next version of Mac OS X Tiger. Apple says it has more than 1/2 million subscribers. It will build a sync engine for multiple Macs right into Mac OS X Tiger (for those with .Mac subscriptions) as well as a new .Mac preference panel to turn things on/off in one place, including addresses, screensavers. Jobs also demonstrated "DashBoard" which is built as "Exposé for Widgets (much like Konfabulator's new features). Dashboard allows you control widgets that can perform system actions, control applications (e.g. iTunes), find internet info, etc. The system is extensible.
Automater is a new app for visual scripting. The easy-to-use application features a hierarchical list of categories of actions on the left side. The actions can be linked sequentially and can each can pass the results to antoher (i.e., getting images from the web, adding to iPhoto library and then creating an iDVD slideshow.) Apple said it would release a .Mac to allow 3rd party integration with programs such as iSync as well as released an SDK for Automater (available today).
A new version of iChat will feature the QuickTime H.264 codec for video chats, which will bring significant improvements to video quality. Jobs said that the new version of iChat will support audio conferences with up 10 people and video conferences with up to 3 people.