TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Conference Report

Volume Number: 20 (2004)
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Programming

Conference Report

WWDC, Steve, and Tiger

by Dave Mark

The date: June 28th-July 2nd, 2004. The place: The fabulous Moscone Center in San Francisco. Of course, I'm talking about the yearly World Wide Developer's Conference. More than 200 sessions, a tremendous keynote and, most importantly, the moment we've been waiting for - the sneak peak at Tiger as only Steve Jobs can give it.

The Keynote

Before he opened the kimono on Tiger, Steve gave his traditional product overview. He showed some nice pictures of some of the newest Apple stores (80 stores worldwide, a cool new 6 story store in the midst of Tokyo's Ginza district, more than 20 million visitors a year, $250M in third party product sales).

Next came a discussion of Apple's music story, including the iTunes Music Store (more than 100M songs sold), Airport Express, and AirTunes. One nice thing was the deal Apple made with BMW, integrating the iPod into the glove compartment and steering wheel of BMW's 3 Series, X5, X3, Z4, and mini-Cooper. The adapter cable dangles from the middle of the glove compartment and plugs into the bottom of the iPod, providing power, and the ability to control the iPod directly from the steering wheel. Jobs even brought some of BMW's finest into the Moscone lobby so the WWDC crowd could play. Not sure I've got a BMW in my future, but it is nice to see this level of integration between iPod and auto. I'm guessing we'll see more of these partnerships in the near future.

Next up was the announcement that all new Power Macs will ship with dual processors. The new G5 machines top out at 2.5 GHz with a 1.25 GHz front-side bus and an 8X SuperDrive, all starting at $1999. Sweet.

If you were at last year's keynote, you might remember Steve promising a 3 GHz processor by this year's WWDC. He did a nice job explaining why this didn't happen and also showed an interesting statistic to compare the G5's processor speed growth to that of Intel's fastest. According to Steve, Intel's fastest processor this time last year clocked in at 3.2 GHz and their fastest processor right now runs at 3.6 GHz. That's a real increase of .4 GHz and a percentage increase of 12.5%.

The G5 has increased from 2.0 GHz to 2.5GHz. That's a real increase of .5 GHz and a percentage gain of 25%. Either way you slice it, Apple has done well when compared with the rest of the industry.

Steve also introduced a slick new series of Cinema Displays. 20", 23" and (get ready for it!) 30" models. Unbelievable. 30 inches. Terrific aluminum enclosure with a single base stand (compare to the 3 points of contact with the current model). Two FireWire ports, two USB-2 ports. The bezel is much trimmer and there's a single cable coming out of the display, splitting into 4 cables on the computer end (DVI, USB, FireWire, Power). Nice.

The 30" story is pretty interesting. Apple worked with nVidia to develop a custom graphics card to drive the displays (the G-force 6800 Ultra). Requires 2 DVI connectors. The card will drive 8 Megapixels, which means it will drive two 30" displays with a single card, though the card is currently only supported by the Power Macs.

Software Transitions

Before he introduced Tiger, Steve spoke a bit about the adoption of OS X. There are currently 12 million OS X users, which represents about half the installed base of Mac users. There are more than 12,000 native Mac OS X applications. He made an interesting point, comparing the transition from the Apple II to the original Mac OS to the transition from DOS to Win 95. That was the first wave of OS transitions. The second wave was Mac OS to Mac OS X and the eventual transition from Win 95, et al, to Longhorn.

He spoke about software transitions to OS X, going out of his way to mention a dinner he had with Bill Gates and the great love the two companies have for each other. Hmm. Borland has announced a port of their Java dev tools to Mac OS X. That's interesting. Quark released QPS (the Quark Publishing System). Oracle announced Mac OS X support for 10g, their grid computing DBMS. PeopleSoft is certifying all their apps for Mac OS X. Sun announced OS X support for their Java tools as well. Bob Bennet, the GM of SGI spinoff Alias announced the release of Maya Unlimited for Mac OS X. Maya is a darling of the film industry, rendering special effects in films such as the Lord of the Rings. Very cool stuff.

The demo part of the program started off with Karen Conroe from Ubisoft demoing Myst IV, Revelation, which is being simultaneously released this fall on the Mac and Windows. This new Myst was written using OpenGL.

Guitar Rig is an Audio Units plugin from Native Instruments in Berlin. GarageBand is compatible with Audio Units plugins and Guitar Rig was developed specifically with GarageBand in mind. Daniel Haver, CEO of Native Instruments, and Joe Gore (formerly of Guitar Player magazine and a heckuva guitarist) showed off a wide range of guitar synthesis, though there is way more to Guitar Rig than the small amount of stage time they had allowed them to show. If you are a guitarist, Guitar Rig is as big a leap forward as GarageBand was when it first came out.

Aran Anderson, President of Advanced Analytic Systems Design, gave a quick demo of Orbit, a very cool satellite simulator. Written in OpenGL, Java, and Cocoa, Orbit has to be seen to be believed. In a nutshell, Orbit renders the predicted position of about 650 satellites using data publicly available from Norad, Nasa, and the UN. The satellite paths are rendered at about 200 times real time, so this thing really moves. Orbit was written using Xcode in about 3 months. Aran, if you are reading this, brilliant job!

Tiger

As you all undoubtedly know, the real highlight of the show was the official announcement of Tiger, the next version of Mac OS X. It is scheduled for release in the first half of 2005.

Tiger is a 64-bit operating system, with a full 64-bit system library. It'll run 32-bit processes right alongside 64-bit processes. Tiger offers LP64 support in GCC, which means that longs and pointers are both 64-bit. Another feature of a 64-bit architecture is a vastly larger address space. A 32-bit pointer can point to 232 possible addresses. A 64-bit pointer can point to 264 possible addresses. This really comes in handy if you are dealing with massive imagery.

Tiger added better fine grain locking for better SMP performance. SMP is symmetric multi-processing which basically means multi-processing where all processors are equal in capability. For example, you might have two processors, each of which can run kernel code. Locking is pretty standard in the database world where you have to guard against two different processes trying to write to the same data object at the same time. Fine grain locking, as its name implies, gives programmers the ability to lock at a more granular level. Fine grain locking is good.

Tiger also added access control lists so you can assign file/folder/network services access permissions in a much more sophisticated way.

Tiger also features a new version of Xgrid technology. The first version of Xgrid is what allowed Virginia Tech to tie together 1,100 Power Mac G5s into the second largest supercomputer in the world. Here's a link to the Virginia Tech Terascale Cluster:

http://www.computing.vt.edu/ research_computing/terascale/

Apple has also invested in making Tiger a much better citizen in the Windows universe. Better SMB performance (something that will surely help Mac OS X adoptions in the defense community), SMB home directories, incorporation of MIT's Kerberos network authentication protocol, support for NTLMv2 (the NT LAN Manager), HTML email composition and Word table support in TextEdit.

Spotlight Search Technology

OK, now things really start to get interesting. Tiger's Spotlight search technology is really something new. And it's something every single Mac user will make use of. Basically, Spotlight is a metadata search engine, but one where all of the tagging work is done for you. Spotlight is an API, so you can use it in your own apps, and most of the apps that ship with Tiger, including the Finder, Address Book, Mail, and System Preferences will have Spotlight searching built in. Spotlight will search all your existing documents. You don't need new versions of your apps, though you'll definitely want to add Spotlight searching to your apps. Spotlight supports all current file extensions and all metadata formats and it is extensible. It's powerful stuff.

It is hard to really grok Spotlight until you've actually seen it demoed. As you might expect, Steve did a great job. He sat down at a machine that had more than 100,000 files loaded on it. He opened a Finder window, then typed the word pixar in the search field. Boom. Instantly, a list of 48 items appeared. So far, this is pretty similar to the way the Finder works now, but the results retrieved by Spotlight are far more comprehensive because the search methodology is much more sophisticated. As an example, Steve did a search on half dome and one of the items returned was a PDF document of a Yosemite map with the words half dome embedded in the map. I mean, think about that. Spotlight found a text label on an image embedded in a PDF document. This is not your father's search technology.

In Steve's demo search for pixar, most of the items the Finder returned did not have pixar anywhere in the title. Instead, Spotlight picked up the term in places like a file's copyright notice. Since the files are reverse indexed, you can search a large domain instantly. When Steve changed pixar to pixar 2002 the results appeared as soon as he hit the last 2.

The interface implementation is elegant. To refine a search, click on a + button and a series of popup menus appear that let you refine your search. For example, you could select Kind from a popup, then a second popup appears so you can select for a canned list of file kinds (like Movies, for example).

Once you have the search just the way you like it, you can click the Save button and a smart folder is created in the Finder window's sidebar. This is an important feature. Suppose you were preparing a comprehensive report on the mating habits of the 17-year cicada and you were constantly accumulating cicada imagery from around the world. You could do a search for cicada images where color space is CMYK, then save the search to the sidebar. Anytime you wanted to review your current collection, just press the saved search in the sidebar and the images appear instantly. You get the idea. Steve also showed off smart mailboxes in Mail and smart groups in Address Book, as well as a Spotlight in System Preferences and a Spotlight menu icon in the right corner of the menu bar. Right on!

H.264

The H.264 AVC (Advanced Video Codec) has been ratified to be included in the next generation hi-def DVD format and Apple has adopted it for Tiger QuickTime. One of the most important features of H.264 is its scalability. It scales from HD DVD down to 3G cell phones. This is one of those technologies that really needs to be experienced firsthand to truly appreciate it. But the quality truly is amazing.

Safari RSS

The big addition to Safari is the integration of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) right in the browser. Tiger Safari will support RSS and Atom protocols and will automatically detect RSS feeds. Safari's new Personal Clipping Service allows you to automatically accumulate articles culled from a variety of RSS feeds into a single page. Safari also adds the ability to store RSS queries as bookmarks.

During this part of the demo, Steve stepped through a variety of web sites with RSS feeds, including Apple's site and the New York Times. There's an RSS button to the right of the address bar. When you want to view a site's RSS feed, navigate to the site, then push the RSS button. The RSS feed appears as a scrolling list of article links, similar to a Google results page.

There's an RSS control panel built into the Safari RSS display page that allows you to customize the feed display. There's a slider to set the length of each article displayed in each summary, you can sort by date, title or article source, or select the length of time to go back to retrieve articles.

Since RSS feeds tend to be behind-the-scenes, they can show up in some surprising places. Like in iTunes, for example. Yes, there is an iTunes RSS feed, showing the top 10 for that particular moment. Not sure how particularly useful this is, but it is interesting!

There's also an RSS search field so you can do a search across all your current RSS feeds. Far more focused results than Google and very fast. More timely, too, as RSS feeds tend to be updated more quickly than Google.

Core Image and Core Video

This is like Code Audio for the image processing and video crowd. In a nutshell, image and video processing is now offloaded to the GPU (graphics processing unit), which is designed for that. This adds floating point precision and eases the load on the main processor. Core Image adds in more than a hundred high-quality real time image filters. Image Units and Video Units are extensible plugins, along the lines of Audio Units. Developers can combine filters and effects and apply them in real time, with all the work being done by the GPU. Core Video provides a bridge between QuickTime and the GPU.

Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior VP, gave a demo of both Core Image and Core Video. He brought up an app that displayed a picture of a tiger as well as a control panel that gave him access to some of the Core Image filters and effects. The app was simple, but the power was very clear. There are focus filters (like Gaussian, motion, and zoom blur), color adjustment filters, color, compositing, distortion and geometry filters, to name a few. There's even a set of awesome transition filters. The point is, you can now easily add all this power to your own apps.

These same filters and effects work on video as well, also in real time. Truly amazing.

Dashboard

Remember the fun of building Control Panels? Not the hassle part, but the coolness of creating a little app that was available anywhere, no matter what app the user was using. Combine that concept with Expose, and you have the essence of Dashboard. Dashboard was built with WebKit, primarily with JavaScript. Like Expose, it provides a layer that appears and disappears instantly. Instead of a set of your app's windows, Dashboard reveals a customizable set of tiny applications, called widgets. Examples of widgets might be a calculator, a sticky note organizer, a stock ticker, or weather tracker.

Apple will ship a set of widgets with Tiger, but I have no doubt this is going to create a brand new market, much like the market for tiny control panels back in the day. This one looks like a lot of fun.

Automator

Automator is a visual scripting tool. Sal Soghoian, the AppleScript Product Manager, gave a demo. Basically, Automator is a visual front end for your apps that allows you to create a workflow based on the capabilities of the app you are scripting. Sal's demo took a series of web sites from .Mac, sucked in all the images, imported the images to iPhoto, then created a slide show for iDVD. He then made the workflow a bit more generic and showed how he could use the same script across applications. This is a nice solution for folks who do not want to tackle the prose of AppleScript.

iChat AV

With the addition of H.264, iChat AV just got much, much cooler. The image resolution is cleaner. But more importantly, you can now iChat with multiple people at the same time. An audio iChat can contain up to ten people. Ten! And a video iChat can contain four people. That is awesome, baby!!!

Till We Meet Again...

The only downside of Tiger is that it is not out yet. There are a lot of fun things to play with, and I am really looking forward to playing with this some more. I think the first thing I'm going to write about is Dashboard. A great idea.

Oh, if you haven't done so already, be sure to head over to http://www.spiderworks.com and sign up. By the time you read this, we should be pretty close to opening the doors!


Dave Mark is a long-time Mac developer and author and has written a number of books on Macintosh development. Dave has been writing for MacTech since its birth! Be sure to check out the new Learn C on the Macintosh, Mac OS X Edition at http://www.spiderworks.com.

 
AAPL
$103.30
Apple Inc.
+0.80
MSFT
$45.09
Microsoft Corpora
-0.34
GOOG
$577.33
Google Inc.
+5.73

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

TextSoap 7.4.0 - Flexible text editing u...
TextSoap is for people who work with text. TextSoap effortlessly cleans up text from endlessly different formats. Wash away unwanted characters, spaces, tabs. Fix paragraphs with hard returns at the... Read more
NetShade 6.0.2 - Browse privately using...
NetShade is an Internet security tool that conceals your IP address on the web. NetShade routes your Web connection through either a public anonymous proxy server, or one of NetShade's own dedicated... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 5.0 - Copy, backup, an...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more
pwSafe 3.1 - Secure password management...
pwSafe provides simple and secure password management across devices and computers. pwSafe uses iCloud to keep your password databases backed-up and synced between Macs and iOS devices. It is... Read more
StatsBar 1.8 - Monitor system processes...
StatsBar gives you a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the following areas of your Mac: CPU usage Memory usage Disk usage Network and bandwidth usage Battery power and health (MacBooks only)... Read more
Path Finder 6.5.5 - Powerful, award-winn...
Path Finder is a file browser that combines the familiar Finder interface with the powerful utilities and innovative features. Just a small selection of the Path Finder 6 feature set: Dual pane... Read more
QuarkXPress 10.2.1 - Desktop publishing...
With QuarkXPress, you can communicate in all the ways you need to -- and always look professional -- in print and digital media, all in a single tool. Features include: Easy to Use -- QuarkXPress is... Read more
Skype 6.19.0.450 - Voice-over-internet p...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
VueScan 9.4.41 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Cloud 3.0.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Modern Combat 5 Gets a Major Multiplayer...
Modern Combat 5 Gets a Major Multiplayer Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 2nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Alien Creeps TD Review
Alien Creeps TD Review By Jennifer Allen on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: EXPENSIVE DEFENSESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Alien Creeps TD would be a fun if unremarkable Tower Defense game, but its heavy focus on... | Read more »
The Journey Down: Chapter Two Review
The Journey Down: Chapter Two Review By Jennifer Allen on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: DARK YET ENTICINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It’s a little dark, in every sense of the word, but The Journey Down:... | Read more »
Function Space, a Social Network App for...
Function Space, a Social Network App for Science, Launches on iOS Posted by Ellis Spice on September 2nd, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Stupidfast – How Taylor Martinez Switche...
How do you make an Endless Running game more than just another Endless Running game? By adding real life prizes to it, of course! That’s the thinking behind StupidFast: a game designed for football enthusiasts, and the brainchild of former college... | Read more »
Little Raiders: Robin’s Revenge Review
Little Raiders: Robin’s Revenge Review By Jennifer Allen on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: CASUAL RAIDINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Combining simple combat with village building is a potent combination for... | Read more »
Treasure Tombs: Ra Deal Coming from Bulk...
Treasure Tombs: Ra Deal Coming from Bulkypix and Dark Tonic This Fall Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 2nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Dark Tonic and | Read more »
Pirate Bash Review
Pirate Bash Review By Nadia Oxford on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: BAD PIRATES, GOOD TIMESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Pirate Bash’s turn-based battles add an intriguing twist to a typical physics game.   | Read more »
Tiny Tower Vegas Review
Tiny Tower Vegas Review By Jennifer Allen on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: STEADY DEVELOPMENTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Build a huge tower again but Vegas-style in Tiny Tower Vegas.   | Read more »
The Manhattan Project Review
The Manhattan Project Review By Andrew Fisher on September 2nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: ROCKET SCIENCEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The Manhattan Project offers a great Euro-style gameplay experience, but it is totally... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished iPads available for up to $...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
Are We Now In The Post-Post-PC Era?
A longtime and thoroughgoing laptop aficionado, I was more than a little dismayed by Steve Jobs’s declaration back in 2010 when he sprang the iPad on an unsuspecting world. that we’d entered a “post-... Read more
PC Outlook Improves, But 2014 Shipments Still...
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by -3.7 percent in 2014. To hat’s actually an improvement from the... Read more
IDC Lowers Tablet Sales Projections for 2014...
Following a second consecutive quarter of softer than expected demand, International Data Corporation (IDC) has lowered its worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 forecast for 2014 to 233.1 million units. The... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 21-inch 1.4GHz...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 21″ 1.4GHz iMacs for $929 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is $170 off the cost of new models,... Read more
Save $50 on the 2.5GHz Mac mini, on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Save up to $300 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $300 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more
The Rise of Phablets
Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, a businesses and technology consulting firm focused solely on the financial services industry, has released an infographic depicting the convergence of... Read more
Bad Driver Database App Allows Good Drivers t...
Bad Driver Database 1.4 by Facile Group is a new iOS and Android app that lets users instantly input and see how many times a careless, reckless or just plain stupid driver has been added to the... Read more
Eddy – Cloud Music Player for iPhone/iPad Fre...
Ukraine based CapableBits announces the release of Eddy, its tiny, but smart and powerful cloud music player for iPhone and iPad that allows users to stream or download music directly from cloud... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.