June 29, 2004

Apple announces Tiger and more

It is still almost a year before Apple will release (unleash?) Mac OS X Tiger, but I request Steve Jobs give me a copy now. This just looks fantastic. Spotlight is Quicksilver on speed, Dashboard gathers up all the mini-apps you use throughout the day in one place under one hot key ala Expose (hopefully they will throw together some better skins by next year), and Automator serves as your own personal robotic slave to execute even the most menial repetitive tasks. Safari will finally have a RSS reader, but big whoop, it takes you to a page where you RSS feeds are stored. Why the hell can’t they integrate it into a side bar?

Apple also rolled out some more huge luscious displays I can’t afford. 30in displays! Well damn, I think I would need a bigger desk anyway. Apple still manages to make me resent my big beige paper weight at work more and more each day.



Yes, I am a bit impetuous when it comes to Apple, and often it is hard to be objective when you are already so full of rage using a PC all day. Upon reflection, a somewhat more balanced opinion emerges. It is pretty shitty of Apple to be so overt about their new software enhancements. Often in the past they may have been inspired by software (DragThing looked even more innovative in the pre-dock days), but they made things their own, they made enhancements. They made things work better with OS in a way that only people with an intimate knowledge could. Dashboard, while hardly a perfectly original idea, does feel an awful lot like Konfabulator (one of the creators actually has a few words to say about that). Arlo denies its relation to Apple’s old Desk Ornaments, but the argument can surely still be made. What happened to those anyway? They all just broke off into different utilities and mini-apps.

Quicksilver already made Sherlock look about 60 years old, making searching a quick seamless experience, but Spotlight does seem to be little more than a direct port. I am very torn. I love Apple for idea pioneering, but not for idea piracy. At the very least Apple could purchase the idea/software, or try to work with the third-parties, rather than just seamingly recreating them outright. It is even more unfortunate that this is the WWDC when Apple chooses to start poking fun at Redmond and Windows for stealing their stuff. Man, the ad guy who came up with them must feel pretty silly right now.


Okay, Gruber lays it down clown. Sorry Konfabulator.

Commentary (13):

1. Kyle Jones says… jun 28, 2004 | 4:56 pm

Apple never ceases to amaze me. Since they decided not to stream coverage of the keynote, I read the live irc channel as it went, and then read all about the stuff at apple.com. Those 30” are really amazing, we got a 23” at my house and the 30 just dwarfs it, I can’t wait to see this thing at the local CompUSA

2. Michael Bester says… jun 28, 2004 | 5:52 pm

Am I the only one who finds it a little disconcerting that Apple has gotten into the habit of taking certain shareware or freeware applications and incorporating into the OS as a new feature, passing them off as their own innovations? Panther incorporated Proteon’s LiteSwitch X, and now Tiger is basically lifting QuickSilver (or LaunchBar) AND Konfabulator. Sure, they may work these apps into the OS more seamlessly - and I would expect them to - but the functionality is almost verbatim to their shareware predecessors.

Don’t get me wrong, I think X is the greatest OS out there today, but perhaps Apple should acknowledge the roots of these new features.

On a positive note, Automator should prove to be VERY useful, and the 30” widescreen display is enough to inspire uncontrollable lust-fuelled drooling in even the most jaded gear-heads.

3. Todd says… jun 28, 2004 | 8:48 pm

Apple just keeps making me love that OS more and more. I spend my days shackled to a crappy black Dell running Windows XP and I can’t wait to get home to my G4.

Spotlight looks to be a great addition to OSX. I downloaded Quicksilver but never liked the way it integrated into my workflow. From reading about Spotlight, it just seems to be more handy.

And those displays? I swore I would never resort to bank robbing to get more money but this might seal my fate.

Aaargh…I’m scratching the D off my computer at work and replacing it with an H.

4. T. N. says… jun 28, 2004 | 11:30 pm

dorks! =)

5. Joshua says… jun 29, 2004 | 6:03 am

I’m with Micheal on this one…

Bad, bad form.

6. Chris K. says… jun 29, 2004 | 10:50 am

Mac zealots have been berating Microsoft for years for “stealing” third-party software and incorporating it into their OSes. Now, Apple has done it.

At some time or another a major vendor recognizes that they can’t do it any better than the “little” guys so they either steal it or buy them out (as Microsoft has done in the past - as has Apple).

Tiger does look intriguing though. Perhaps I’ll have to try it out when they release the G5 Powerbook (when will that be again?).

7. France says… jun 29, 2004 | 10:51 am

I agree that Apple should have exercised more tact with the Konfabulator developers, but I can’t say it’s a complete ripoff. The fundamental idea has been out there - arguably by Apple in many forms - but I do take issue with the UI. Since Apple always touts themselves as the ease-of-use-UI-gurus, they could have tipped their hats to Konfabulator in some way.

As a religious user of LaunchBar and (somewhat reluctantly) AppRocket, seems like there should be more fuss over Apple’s relative ripoff in the form of Spotlight. But again, this could be the same issue - did they steal the idea or the UI? Apple seems really good lately in laying the foundation for great ideas, but not always in creating the best presentation for them.

8. Mike D. says… jun 29, 2004 | 1:22 pm

I agree that it remains to be seen exactly how much of a copy of Konfabulator Dashboard really is. And let’s also not forget that Konfabulator itself is a bit of a rip off of Desktop X as well. I’m not totally positive which came first, but from the posts I’ve read, it appears to be Desktop X. That said, if someone corrects me, I’ll believe them.

One key difference in Dashboard appears to be that it sits on its own semi-transparent layer… something I have been telling Macromedia to do with Central for about a year now. If Apple can turn this layer into something more than just a collection of widgets (like an active screensaver… again, HELLO Macromedia), then they could really claim legitimate originality.

Also, a major part of Konfabulator’s genius is its heavy use of javascript. I don’t think Apple’s implementation will use javascript at all, but I could be wrong.

I definitely agree with you though that Apple, like Microsoft, seems to have developed a habit of baking third-party stuff into their OS. It’s a disconcerting concept, but probably one they have the right to act on if they please. I guess in the end it all goes towards developer goodwill. Will companies continue to develop cutting-edge technologies for Apple if they gain a reputation for embracing and destroying?

9. Michael Bester says… jun 29, 2004 | 2:13 pm

Mike D. - here’s a quote from apple.com:

One Dashboard, Many Widgets
The Dashboard is home to a new kind of application called Widgets. Widgets are mini-applications written in JavaScript that are designed for fun as well as function.

New kind of application? I don’t think so.

10. Tomas says… jun 29, 2004 | 3:55 pm

“Man, the ad guy who came up with [the ads] must feel pretty silly right now.”

Sadly, I think not. These people are so full of themselves they don’t even realize what they’ve done.

11. Mike D. says… jun 29, 2004 | 4:01 pm

Sheeeeesh… javascript it is! Pretty brash of them to continue using the “Widget” nomenclature as well. They could have at least created their own name like “Apple Seeds”.

12. RJ Hampden says… jun 30, 2004 | 8:44 pm

I bet that they could take the static background of a iChatAV feed and change it into a jungle or a nude beach. Technology never moves fast enough for my tastes.

13. Aleksandar says… jul 1, 2004 | 11:42 am

I think you should all read Daring Fireball`s article about Dashboard thingie.

Neither LiteSwitch, neither Konfabulator holds the right on respective ideas. First one existed on Windows long time ago, second on first-ever Mac.

And about the QuickSilver…I use it everytime I use office iBook, but I don’t think that Spotlight is a rip-off. It’s basically Unix-based file indexing with great GUI. Something (I think) Joel Spolsky wrote Microsoft should do, instead of incorporating SQL server into the OS - write a better indexing service (present one is horribly bloated).

Maybe that is why Apple placed those “Introducing Longhorn” bildboards.