WWDC Take-away

Apple held their WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) keynote today, offering up info on Snow Leopard, iPhone OS, and the new iPhone hardware.  There’s going to be plenty of in-depth coverage of this on the tech websites and blogs today, so I thought I’d give the quick “what you really need to know” overview.

First up, they announced new specs for the Mac Book Pros, and a 13” MBP, with more affordable pricing across the board, including a less expensive Mac Book Air.

Next, Snow Leopard (this is the part I was anxiously awaiting).  There’re not many new features in Snow Leopard, mostly just refinements to the existing OS.  To sum up:

  • Finder base code completely re-written.
  • Expose can now be initiated from the Dock.
  • Faster install, with a smaller footprint (taking up 6GB less space than Leopard).
  • Improved Asian character input.
  • Faster Mail.
  • Safari 4 – faster, crash resistance, faster javascript, etc.
  • Quicktime 10 – completely rebuilt from ground up: faster, new UI, editing built in, and export to Mac services.
  • Play movies and scroll PDFs directly from Finder icon thumbnail.
  • Better 64 bit support, multicore/multi-threads uses Grand Central Dispatch now.

The biggest news for Snow Leopard:  Exchange support built right into Mail, Address Book and iCal.  They said it’s as simple as putting in your Exchange email address and password, and you’re good to go (I know from experience that setup/configuration of Exchange support will not be that easy in every instance).  (Also, they made a point of saying that Exchange support is free, whereas Windows users have to pay for it as part of Office, which is not entirely true, as Exchange licenses include licenses for the Outlook client, which can be installed separately from Office.)

Snow Leopard will be a $29 upgrade from Leopard and will be available in September.

So, on to iPhone OS 3.0.  Not much new info here.  In fact, I can’t pinpoint anything that we didn’t already know.  Even still, they spent a lot of time (too much, if you ask me) demoing new apps that will utilize some of the new APIs and features.  Yes, there’s some cool stuff here, but nothing that wasn’t previously announced.

They did talk about the “Find My iPhone” feature.  With “Find My iPhone” you can view your iPhone on a map, play an alert (so you can locate it by sound when you’ve forgotten where you set it down), send a message to the phone (“If found please call…”), and remotely wipe it.  Sadly, “Find My iPhone” is only available to MobileMe subscribers.

The upgrade will be free to iPhone users, and cost $9.95 for the iPod Touch.  It will be available on June 16th.

That brings us to the new iPhone 3GS.  Again, no surprises.  Same design, but faster with more memory and increased storage.  Some features of the new iPhone:

  • Better camera (w/ video).
  • Voice control (why isn’t this just part of iPhone OS 3.0?).
  • Digital compass (meh).
  • Accessiblity options (again, why not a just part of the software?).
  • Hardware encryption with remote instant wipe.
  • Better battery life.

The current iPhone 3G (8GB model) will stay on the market for $99 (starting today), and the new iPhone 3GS will be available June 19th.

And, that’s it.  Over two hours summed up in a few paragraphs.  Again, there will be plenty of details out there on the web, but this is all you really need to know.