If hearing about the insanely great Apple iCEO Steve Jobs hasn't worn thin on you yet, then his keynote speech yesterday at the first Macworld Expo of 2000 probably hasn't either. Jobs, of course, heralded as the saviour of Apple since his return as interim CEO two and a half years ago has put together "the strongest Apple line-up ever." I guess when you're working with geniuses there's no room for modesty.
Although the audience was anticipating a big announcement regarding the latest in high-powered portable computing, Jobs and his brain-trust at Apple had other ideas. While the outset of the speech included a handy review of where Apple has been in the last six months it shifted quickly to the announcement of Apple's Internet strategy for the immediate future.
The first part of the 2 hour and 15 minute keynote was to outline how Apple's latest operating system (OS9) figured into an integrated Internet experience for its users. By using its "unfair advantage," as Jobs put it, of having both clients and servers running the Apple operating system, they were able to introduce a new set of tools accessible through the Web.
It's a wonder that Apple took so long to figure out that they could be a portal site for their own users, but it could have been because they were planning the integrated approach that so many other portals cannot offer. With over 9.5 million visitors per week Apple rolled out its first set of iPages: iReview, iCards and iTools, in addition to Quicktime and the Apple Store which were already online.
iReview offers "unbiased" reviews of Web sites courtesy of Apple. Supposedly first of its kind and seems to show promise with registered users allowed to add their own comments to each review giving it an evolt.org feel. Apple hopes to build community in this way but one wonders how long this benevolence will last before some punk sprays the graffiti "haX0z rUlz!"
iCards is a one-off of many of the online card "stores" that offer to send a personalised card to anyone with an email address. Who knows why Apple chose this as a selling point, but if you know women in their 50s, new to the Internet, like I do, then you know there is a use for iCards.
While iReview and iCards are meant for all audiences Wintel or Mac, it is iTools that spoils loyal Apple consumers with goodies. iTools includes four main categories:
The taste of the day, however, was seeing the newly revamped GUI. For a glance at it check out the following, http://www.apple.com/macosx/. Lickable "Aqua" proves to be a new direction for the old-standard GUI of the MacOS. But in terms of Web development, this may have been the cause of the delay in Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5 for the Mac.
In order for IE5 to work smoothly with OSX it had to have its code modified (or Carbonised) to incorporate the new GUI. IE5 for the MacOS is reportedly up to 50% faster using the Tasman rendering engine and supports PNG graphics among other features. For more information about IE5 check out http://www.microsoft.com/mac/.