Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is described as “The most important annual event for Apple hardware and software developers and is the definitive event for anyone developing for Mac OS X”. Attending WWDC provides the opportunity to receive strategic information from Apple executives and attend more than a hundred in-depth technical and hands-on sessions given by Apple’s technical architects and engineers.
Attendance to WWDC is strictly limited to Apple Developer Connection members and the majority of sessions are covered by a Non-Disclosure Agreement. The information released in these sessions are of a technical nature and the average Macintosh user wouldn’t be interested in it, except in the form of the new software and hardware that developers release later.
Some of the announcements are made public and if you are really interested in the technical aspects, you can see them at the WWDC web site.
This year the Keynote speech at WWDC was open to the media and saw Apple CEO, Steve Jobs present an eulogy for Mac OS 9, preview the next major revision of Mac OS X, code named Jaguar, and announced the announcement of new rack-mountable servers.
Mac OS 9 laid to rest
The opening scene to the keynote sees projected image of a cathedral, and a coffin rising from a fog encased stage with pipe organ music playing. Jobs walks in from the left of the stage straight to the coffin, opens it and lefts a copy of Mac OS 9 and commences to give an eulogy which starts with “Mac OS 9 was a friend to us all.”
News.Com have a video clip of the eulogy that runs for about 6 minutes. You’ll need either RealyPlayer or Microsoft Media Player installed but you should still go and see it for yourself.
Jobs announced that while Mac OS 9 is still alive for consumers, Apple have now stopped all development for Mac OS 9 with everything they now develop been for Mac OS X only and are encouraging developers to follow suit.
While Mac OS 9 is still alive for consumers, Apple have now stopped all further development for Mac OS 9
Apple Previews Jaguar
The next major release of Mac OS X is code named “Jaguar” and this is expected to be released as Mac OS X 10.2 in “late summer 2002”, which probably means we’ll see it about late August.
“Jaguar is packed with incredible new features that Mac OS X users are going to love, including our iChat instant messaging software,” Jobs said. “Jaguar takes the world’s highest-volume UNIX-based operating system to the next level, adding amazing new technologies never before seen in any operating system.”
Both QuickTime 6 Movie Player and QuickTime Broadcaster will be included in Jaguar, providing the world’s first complete media solution for creating, streaming and viewing MPEG-4 content.
Apple’s latest iApplication, iChat, allows Mac OS X users to exchange instant messages with over 150 million people, including users of the AOL Instant Messager and AOL Buddy List.
iChat uses iTools mac.com accounts for identification. It uses “dialogue bubbles” and buddy photos to present the messages on screen and invitations pop on screen using transparency and animation effects. iChat users will be able to automatically discover and chat with users on their own internal networks as well.
iChat utilises the new integrated Address Book and updated Mail application for some of its’ functions.
A new Address Book that can be accessed by any application will be included in Jaguar.
iChat will use the Address Book to manage “buddy information” including name, “handle” and photograph, as well as the traditional information like postal address and phone numbers.
Support for the industry standard “vCards” includes, as is the ability to share this information with Bluetooth equipped devices such as mobile phones to dial numbers or send an SMS.
The Mac OS X Mail application has been updated to include features requested by users including the saving of draft messages when you quit Mail and the filters/rules options have been greatly expanded making it easier to sort and file your messages.
Mail also now includes an advance anti-spam filtering system that can apparently learn what you consider spam and update its’ filters accordingly.
For iChat users, you’ll be tell when friends are online as an icon will appear next to any emails they may have sent you and you can easily start a chat going by clicking on that icon.
Apple has adopted an emerging industry standard called ZeroConf, which allows for the automatic discovery of resources like computers and printers on IP enabled networks, which includes the Internet. This service is much like the way AppleTalk works to display computers and printers on a network.
In Jaguar, Apple are referring to this feature set as “Rendezvous” and no doubt will begin to play a core role in future Apple Digital Hub strategies and products, particularly when you consider the demonstration during the keynote of iTunes becoming a “jukebox for the entire house”.
For more detailed information on how ZeroConf and thus Rendezvous works, visit the ZeroConf web site at http://www.zeroconf.org.
Using a graphics tablet, you can now write directly into a application like Mail or TextEdit and have it automatically recognise your handwriting aka the old Netwon. In fact, commented on the fact they finally got a return on the millions of dollars they spent on the Newton.
Jaguar will see the return of Universal Access, which enables you to Zoom your entire screen and by using Quartz it provides a clear, fully anti-aliased and gorgeously rendered screen magnification making it much easier for people with impaired sight to read the screen. Universal Access also read back text from the screen.
Sherlock has advanced to v3.0 in Jaguar and now displays the results in its’ own windows rather than launching your web browser.
Spring-Loaded folders return to the Finder.
Improved browsing of Windows servers has been included and you can now connect to Windows based Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
A search option has been added to the Finder toolbar that shows you matching documents based on your entered criteria.
The next major release of Mac OS X is code named “Jaguar” and is expected to be released about late August
Announcement for Rack Mount Servers Announced
In an unusual move, Jobs announced that on May 14, Apple will make an announcement. “I don’t have any details,” he said, “but it will be our first dedicated server in a long time.”
Many of us expect this to be the long rumored “Rack Mountable Servers” and apparently the new servers will be able to run headless and will ship with a new version of Mac OS X Server that is also based on Jaguar.
Full details should be available here next week.
Screen shots and images courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc.
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