Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WWDC Keynote Thoughts

For immediate release:

First let me say that I really love a pseudo-press release. Don't hold back New York Times! You may include my words in your paper. What are the alternatives to "For immediate release"? Do you give people some kind of rules for when they can write about your press release if it isn't "immediate"? Can you rely a media organization to hold off on printing things by including magic words at the top of a document that YOU SENT TO THEM?

Yesterday was the keynote for Apple's World Wide Developer Conference. This has traditionally been Steve Job's duty, but fell to one of his droogs this time around.

While we at Gentlemen With Beards are Mac users and developers, I hope that we don't ever drift into the realm of fanboyism. While we may enjoy the occasional sip of Apple's Koolaide, we try taking big gulps. Another caveat worth mentioning is that Gentlemen With Beards are Mac/iPhone developers, so our bar for purchasing new Macs/iPhones is a lower than normal people.

This years WWDC keynote seemed to contain the typical amount of announcements. The executive summary: A new version of Mac OS/X coming soon, the Macbook laptops have been upgraded, the new version of the iPhone O/S is coming in June and there is a new version of the iPhone also coming out in June. The upgrades seem like steps in the right direction, but there isn't really anything that makes me want to throw my current Macbook/iPhone in the trash and run to the Apple store.

The first announcement regarded the next iteration of the Macbook laptops. As usual, the processors and ram have been upgraded. Apple is really touting their new laptop screen as having 60% more color gamut than the current screen. This sounds good, but I'll have to see it before I can let that influence a purchasing decision. They've added firewire back to the 13" Macbook (which is now called the 13" Macbook pro). Not having firewire on the current generation of Macbooks seemed like a tactical mistake (even though I don't use it myself), and Apple seems to agree. They've also added an SD card slot, which seems like a useful addon. Backlit keyboards are now standard on all Macbooks(shrug). If you have a unibody Macbook already, I can't imagine trading it in for the new models unless you can find someone willing to pay almost full price for your used laptop. People with older Macbooks or older Macbook Pros may see this as a good time to upgrade.

Apple also demoed the new version of the Mac OS/X, Snow Leopard. Snow Leopard seems to be largely a bug-fixing release, but many of the built-in apps have been reworked. What makes me excited about this new relase is that they've dropped the price from the old standard $129 (ouch), to a very palatable $29. At that price, I can't think of any reason to not upgrade to Snow Leopard in September when it's released.

Current iPhone owners will find the OS 3.0 update hitting their phones around June 17th. Apple has touted over 1000 new APIs in the new version. I don't want to be a downer or anything, but I have to mention that even big geeks like myself don't think of upgrades in terms of number of new APIs. Anyway, many of the painful missing features in the iPhone are going to appear in this update. Features like cut and paste, MMS (well, in late summer for us AT&T users), and push notification capability are all present in 3.0. Apple has also reworked mobile safari to improve its performance. Having tried out he release candidate, I can say that I have really appreciated the "whole phone" search capability.

The final big announcement was the new iPhone 3G S. That they've added an S to the end of the iPhone instead of calling it the iPhone 2 gives you a quick idea of the level of change to the iPhone. The 3G S has a faster processor than the current iPhone, a video/autofocus still camera, and voice control capability. They've also doubled the amount of storage on both models, while keeping the prices at the same point: $199 for 16GB and $299 for 32GB. The current 8GB iPhone 3G will have its price lowered to $99. Is it worth an upgrade? I don't know.

If you don't have an iPhone, $99 is a pretty good deal if your current cellphone contract is expired. Likewise, new features for the same price is good, but I don't think they're $400-500 good if you're in the midst of your current cellphone contract. Most iPhone 3G customers have at least 6-7 months before they hit AT&Ts 18month upgrade eligibility point. Unless you've got money to burn or someone else is paying for it, I would recommend waiting at least until you can upgrade your phone for $200.

There you have it. All of the upgraded lines have moved forward, but the only people who need to move quickly are people who bought their Macbooks or iPhones a few days ago.

1 comment:

  1. A few notes:

    1. I don't drink Kool-Aid. I drink Gamer Fuel.
    2. Apple still doesn't make a 15" with a matte screen, and this is a human rights issue.
    3. The S is for sucks
    4. AT&T recently announced that people who will be eligible for upgrade any time in the next 3 months will be eligible THIS WEEK! I don't know if this advances everybody else ahead by 3 months.