Apple lulls developers to sleep at hardware-less WWDC

Summary:Unless you're particularly into games or operating system software, today's WWDC announcements were probably a bit of a snooze-fest. I don't know about you, but I'm a hardware guy.

Unless you're particularly into games or operating system software, today's WWDC announcements were probably a bit of a snooze-fest. I don't know about you, but I'm a hardware guy. Hardware is tangible, tactile and there's an emotional component to hardware that I don't get from software – but that's me.

Today's WWDC keynote was completely hardware-free, a first in six years. WWDC used to be the show where no hardware was announced but that changed in 2002. Let's review what hardware Apple has announced at previous WWDCs:

  • 2002 - Xserve (*first hardware announcement)
  • 2003 - Power Macintosh G5, iSight camera
  • 2004 - Redesigned Apple Cinema Displays (flat-panel, aluminum)
  • 2005 - PPC to Intel Migration
  • 2006 - Mac Pro (Intel Zeon) and Intel Xserve

WWDC 2007 will probably go down in history as the year of Leopard but there a few other things that Apple glossed over in today's keynote address (hardware notwithstanding).

After watching the video stream, the WWDC keynote address sounded overly quiet to me. There was an awkward silence the entire time that Jobs discussed that Leopard was 64-bit "top to bottom." (Yawn.) The obvious exceptions were loud applause for a couple Steve's very well-scripted jokes, and polite applause for some of the more eye-catching visual features of the OS.

I've got to agree with Mary Jo Foley on this one - Leopard looks like Vista!

Developers were obviously perturbed at the lack of details on the iPhone at WWDC. The absence of an SDK or API for them to sink their teeth into is a glaring omission and it may cost Apple dearly. Apple attempted to address the development issue by announcing that iPhone would support Web 2.0 applications. Seriously. They even released a press release touting that "applications created using Web 2.0 standards can extend iPhone’s capabilities without compromising its reliability or security." What?!

And where was the talk about the new ZFS file system? Sun Microsystems chief executive Jonathan Schwartz told us more about ZFS in a slip up last week than Jobs told his top developers. Developers don't care about Spaces, the dock or movie time widgets. Same thing during the iChat demo. Crickets could be heard chirping in Moscone West. Eye candy like that should be shown to the more consumer-oriented audience at Macworld Expo.

Attendees even laughed at Steve when he tried to say that Boot Camp was better than Parallels because it is "more compatible." It happens at about 42:59 into the stream.

Once the reality distortion field fades, I think that most people will agree that the WWDC 2007 keynote wasn't one of the best. In fact it may have been one of the worst in recent memory.

Rather than re-watch the WWDC 2007 keynote stream again I opted to watch The Sopranos series finale over again. And that speaks volumes.

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Topics: Apple, Hardware, Software Development

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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