Archive for the 'Mac OS X' Category

WWDC Keynote: A Late Bloomer

June 10, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

The WWDC keynote speech started pretty slowly. Most of the first hour was devoted to things that:

  1. Only a developer would care about (which makes sense consider the venue, but still); and
  2. We already knew

To be more precise, the first hour of the keynote was spent on iPhone 2.0, the upgrade to the software of the iPhone and iPod Touch. Some interesting third-party applications were previewed, but nothing show-stopping. We did learn that the iPhone will support the viewing of Microsoft Office documents. That’s about all I took away from the first hour as a business user.

The new product announcements arrived about an hour into the keynote. They went pretty much according to the script too. Let’s take a look:

3G iPhone

There were plenty of (often contradictory) rumors swirling about the 3G iPhone. So what does the new iPhone have?

  • 3G for faster downloads
  • GPS
  • More battery life
  • A thinner body
  • A lower price (16GB for $299, 8 GB for $199)

Apple has posted the full specifications for the new iPhone on its website. If you took all of the rumored improvements and new features (with one exception), you would basically have the 3G iPhone. The one thing missing was a video camera for video iChat, but that rumor didn’t have a lot of credibility behind it. The new iPhones are nice, but I am not overcome with jealousy and feelings of obsoleteness yet.


MobileMe replaces the venerable and much-maligned .Mac service. MobileMe brings with it new web applications called Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Gallery, and iDisk. Each does pretty much what you would expect based on the name. MobileMe also brings with it push email, contacts, and calendar to the iPhone. Apart from MobileMe, the only way to get the push experience on your iPhone is to use Microsoft Exchange. MobileMe brings push down into the realm of home users. I am hopeful that a future release of Mac OS X Server will allow for push service to iPhones without using either Microsoft Exchange or a email address.

A handful of resourceful people were able to figure out most of this last week. But it’s still nice to get the official word from Apple and see the demo. The announcement wasn’t all happiness though. With the transition to MobileMe, Apple will be removing its iCard service and web access to Safari bookmarks. I did not use the bookmark feature, but I often used the .Mac iCards because I found them much nicer (read: less tacky) than many of the other services out there. At least I get to keep my email address.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Rumors of a new version of Mac OS X surfaced in the last few days before the keynote. Snow Leopard would mark a departure from Apple’s stated intention to move to a longer release cycle (early versions of Mac OS X were released on almost a yearly basis). Leopard was released last, suggesting that 10.6 would not arrive until late-2009 or early-2010. To my dismay, the keynote came and went without any mention of Snow Leopard. But my disappointment was short-lived. Soon after the keynote Apple confirmed Snow Leopard and released some basic information about this new version of Mac OS X. The press release was followed up with a full-blown preview page with, well, just about the same information (but prettier!).

The press release mentions two new features worth talking about. First, Snow Leopard will include Microsoft Exchange 2007 support in Mail, Address Book, and iCal. This probably shouldn’t be a surprise considering the forthcoming Exchange support in iPhone. But I was still surprised. Second, Safari will include the “fastest implementation of Javascript ever.” Apple may be referring to the recently-announced Squirrelfish Javascript engine for Safari. Javascript speed seems to be one of the new benchmarks by which browsers are judged (with good reason in the age of Web 2.0 applications). But the real reason to check is Squirrelfish is its really cool logo (which longtime readers should know is of major concern here at Apple Briefs).

Apple plans to release Snow Leopard in about a year (suggesting a later release date than the rumors had predicted).

WWDC Rumor Roundup

June 5, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference is next week, and the rumors are flying! Rumored upgrades to three products have Mac and iPhone users on the edge of their seats.


The next version of the iPhone should be arriving soon. Everyone agrees that the new iPhone will be 3G (meaning faster internet access), but that’s about all they can agree on. If you pay attention to all the rumors, the new iPhone is supposed to have a larger screen and a smaller screen, be thicker and thinner, have better battery life and worse battery life, have GPS (or not), and have a video camera (or not). Is Apple coming out with more than one model or are most of the rumors wildly off base? The latter is almost always true with Apple rumors, but we expect to find out for sure very soon.

We’re also anxiously waiting for the software upgrade that will allow third-party applications to run on iPhones. This is no rumor, but we don’t know yet when the new software will be available. The latest word is that we should expect it sometime late June or early July.


An upgrade to .Mac has been talked about for quite some time. It’s easy to see why. The main thing that .Mac has going for it is iLife integration. But that appeals to only a small portion of Mac users, and it’s certainly of little use to business users. With the release of the 10.5.3 update, the prospect of a .Mac upgrade became more likely. Current rumors suggest that .Mac will be renamed to Me (with at least some parts of the service called Mobile Me) and sport many new features, including better online mail, calendar, and address book management. The new service may also have “push” email to iPhones much like the previously-announced Microsoft Exchange functionality that should arrive in the iPhone software upgrade. If the rumors are true, it would make .Mac a much more attractive service for small business owners.

OS X version 10.6

Catching many by surprise are the rumors that a preview version of Mac OS X 10.6 being distributed to developers at WWDC. If the rumors are true, the new version will be called Snow Leopard and will focus on performance and stability rather than features. It sounds more like a Service Pack in Windows-land, but there are technical reasons why Apple would need a major release (10.x) to pull off all the changes the new version is rumored to include. It’s all speculation at this point, but you can read more about it over at Ars.

The Mac in Business

April 26, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

InfoWorld has a good article on Macs in business (printer-friendly – and easier to read – version here). The article goes into some detail about why Macs are increasingly becoming an option to replace PCs in businesses. The article is from earlier in the week. But I figure that if I missed it some of you might not have seen it yet either.

Mac OS X Leopard Server

April 23, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

I recently bought a copy of Mac OS X Leopard Server. I bought it without a specific purpose in mind, but I do have a few ideas on how we can use it. I am interested to see how many lawyers (and other small businesses) are using Leopard Server. What are you running it on? Mine is installed on a Mac Mini. What are you using it for, and how well is it working out for you? I have included a poll to collect general feedback. Please feel free to leave comments also. Don’t be shy!

Which Mac OS X Leopard Server features do you use?

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Mac OS X Turns 45!

March 24, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

KittehMac OS X celebrated a birthday over the weekend, turning 45 years old (in cat years, that’s 7 in human years). Has it really been 7 years? Well, no, actually because I only got my first Mac in 2003 (a little while before Panther came out). The Unofficial Apple Weblog posted a nice history of Mac OS X, complete with screenshots. Enjoy your trip down memory lane. I sure did!