Jon Gruber’s Daring Fireball is an excellent site, and highly recommended. However, in an article yesterday he posted some thoughts on Steve Jobs’ WWDC Keynote, and I must say I do not agree with many of his comments.
Jon outlines three main points from the keynote:
Leopard’s Feature set
“Apparently, these secret features consist of the new unified window theme and the Cover Flow view in Finder. This is sort of like saying you’re adding a secret new player to your baseball team and then revealing that it’s one of the existing players wearing a new jersey.”
The rumor mill had nearly a year to claim everything and then some for Leopard. Still, wasn’t a revision of the Finder big on everyone’s list? Wasn’t the mix of dark gray and brushed metal themes a thorn in everyone’s side? I sure saw a lot of complaining, yet now that Apple’s done something about it, it’s yawn city? I like the iTunes interface, and think it will work well for the Finder. I like Cover Flow, and see no reason why it won’t be of use to many people.
Jon also says the new dock will be ugly on the side of the screen. OK. Personally, I think the current dock is ugly on the side of the screen. So what? The new dock will still be 3-D, and still mirror what’s next to it; what do you want?
Web Apps as the route for iPhone deployment
Anyone who thought there’d be an SDK for the iPhone was being unrealistic. As far as we know (and it’s likely), Apple is still tying loose ends and busting their asses to get the iPhone out on 6/29 (at 6pm!). There’s no way at the same time they could document an SDK worth its salt they could adequately support. Apple announcing any approved method of putting custom software on the iPhone should have been received as big news. Sure, they’re web apps, but it opens up possibilities where there were none before.
One of Jon’s gripes seems to be that Apple was trying to “fool” them:
“It’s insulting, because it’s not a way to write iPhone apps, and you can’t bullshit developers.”
Actually, you can bullshit developers. They’re not a special class of people who cannot be fooled while the rest of us are gullible morons. Microsoft has proven time and again that developers can be lead and made to believe just about anything if the apparent “prize” is good enough. For that matter, Apple had developers dancing around in the 90’s between Rhapsody, Copland, etc. Anyone can be bullshitted. Sometimes frequently so.
Having said the above, I don’t think Apple tried to bullshit anybody. Jobs was offering something where something had no business being expected. Maybe Apple could have presented the message in the way Jon suggests, but that sounds apologetic, and what is there for Apple to apologize for? What Apple could also have done was offer no method for custom software on the iPhone at all! Which would you prefer? I think that for all those developers “insulted”, there are web developers ready to jump at the opportunity. Perhaps they’ll do so while the rest of the development community is whining.
Finally, what makes you think there’s no SDK on the horizon? Apple didn’t say this was it.
Safari for Windows
Jon believes this is primarily about money:
“But the primary reason is simply money. Safari is a free download, but it’s already one of Apple’s most profitable software products.”
I wrote about Safari for Windows yesterday. Sure, the extra money is fine, but if that’s all they were after they could have ported it to Linux as well. For that matter, they could have ported it a year or two ago. The money will not be significant to their bottom line; I believe there was a bigger motivation.
This could be about preempting new IE-preferred sites. Yes, in the last few years these have become less of an issue, but there are still sites primarily IE-driven even as the popularity of Firefox has more developers testing multiple browsers. Putting Safari on Windows will help ensure an IE-preferred site doesn’t see the light of day. This is especially important since the iPhone runs Safari, and Microsoft could write a “tweak” for IE that would hobble Safari compatibility. With Safari on Windows this will be less likely to occur.
Much like the original intent of the iTunes store was to ensure content for the iPod without relying on Microsoft DRM files from all other providers, Safari on Windows is intended to ensure Safari mind share and compatibility when web 2.0 sites are designed. Out of sight, out of mind; Apple does not intend to remain out of sight in the Windows browser space any longer.