Monday, June 28, 2004

Apple Analysis

Today at WWDC, Apple announced one new hardware product line and unveiled the new MacOS 10.4 "Tiger" for the faithful developers.

The new hardware product line features 3 new flat-panel monitors - 20", 23", and 30" displays clad with the same aluminum look shared by the PowerBooks and PowerMac G5. The 30" display looks gorgeous - it only works with the PowerMac because it requires a special version of the nVidia GeForce 6800 card with two outputs and two GPUs. The card takes up two slots' worth of space and costs an additional $600. The new displays are pretty, but at $1299 for the lowest-end 20" display, I'm a little concerned about the lack of anything in the $500-$1000 range. The old 17" display has been discontinued (and is being cleared out for $700 while they last. The 23" display price remains unchanged at $1999, and the new 30" will set you back a whopping $3299 before the video card price is factored in. Apple also built in both USB and Firewire hubs into the new displays, and dumped the elegant but nonstandard ADC in favor of standard DVI for the interface.

As for Tiger, this is the first in the "we're going to slow down development" OS releases. They currently plan to ship in the Winter/Spring '05 timeframe instead of the usual October season. That'll make for about an 18-month life cycle for Panther.

Features-wise, it's mainly mo' betta' of the same stuff, plus RSS support in Safari, Konfabulator's (a program that lets you build simple "widget" apps out of JavaScript) capabilities built-in (hopefully they don't get screwed), better searching, more thorough .Mac synchronization support, improved video conferencing, a cool new assistant for AppleScript writing, newer Xcode with all sorts of 64-bit goodness, and still more GPU-accelerated stuff in the UI.

Really cool, but we'll see how compelling it'll turn out to be as we get closer to ship date. I'll probably get seeds of it from Apple as an ACN member.

In other news, Karelia Software announced that Watson, their marvelous program for easy access to web stuff, has been sold to a Really Big Company (I suspect Sun), and is going away in October. I use it mainly for programming my eyeTV, but I'm interested to see what the replacement turns out to be (and if they give us an upgrade path).

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