WWDC 2006 Decompression

Fellow sheep Matt Joss and I spent the last week at Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC. This year’s conference came with a preview of the next version of the Macintosh operating system, Mac OS X 10.5, code named Leopard. Although we can only publicly discuss what was revealed in the keynote speech, let me assure you there are many exciting things under the hood that look to make Leopard interesting. I am personally really excited by the new CoreAnimation framework and advances in CoreImage and other graphics technologies in Leopard. Updates to the development tools like Xcode 3.0 and technologies like iChat Theatre and Time Machine are also tantalizing to the extreme. I can’t wait to spend some quality time with our preview seed.

While I hope to be able to write some more in-depth analysis of the publicly revealed goodies in 10.5, I’ll leave my one observation for now centered around speculation of what was not revealed. If you watched the keynote you probably noticed that iChat and other applications that were brushed metal in 10.4 are now sporting something closer to the unified toolbar look found on applications like Mail in Tiger. I predict that Leopard will see the (long anticipated by many) death of brushed metal. If you couple this detail with the observation of what appeared to be a metal-skinned finder in the public demos, I think its not to much of a stretch to imagine that the infamous and much maligned Finder will see some changes for the final release of 10.5. Dare we dream of improved UI consistency and a better Finder all in one release? Perhaps a future sans beach-balling network shares with one UI to bind them all is more than just a dream…

In the end WWDC was just as exciting as ever for me this year. Beyond hanging with my local crew, Seattle Xcoders, I managed to chat with and meet an overwhelming number of the high profile members of the independent Macintosh developer scene. Its great to put faces to the names behind great Macintosh software including Cabel of Panic, Mike and Lucas of Delicious Monster, Dan of Karelia and Mike from our brethren Rogue Amoeba. It was also great meeting regulars from the #macsb IRC group including Jonathan of Toxic Software, Blake of Sniper fame and Luis of Happy Apps. Thanks to Gus and Brent for introducing me to so many excellent folk over the course of the week.

After this year, I’m willing to throw down a Wil Shipley-sized bet on Seattle having more indy Mac developers than any other city worldwide. The shear number of developers I met from our home turf at the conference was fairly astounding. Hell, if we did a little creative gerrymandering to reign in Portland to get the Panic posse I think we might out-rank Cupertino?

I posted a handful of the better snapshots I grabbed during the week for those interested.