WWDC 2006: Keynote Highlights

We now know that this is the biggest WWDC yet. The big announcements are the new Mac Pro, the new Xserve and Leopard. All attendees get a Leopard Preview DVD, and many of them are installing it right now. There's a lot of material here, and I don't have much time to proofread, so please forgive the grammar.

The keynote opened with a WWDC "commercial" produce in the same style as the current Mac TV ads. Steve spoke about some retail statistics, market share growth and the completion of the transition to Intel-based Macs.


The Leopard demo started with a disclaimer that there are some "Top Secret" features that weren't going to be discussed in the keynote. The demos focus on ten key areas.

64-bit Support: In Tiger, 64-bit addressing was supported at the unix level. That is, you'd have a server process that would communicate with 32-bit UI apps. In Leopard, 64-bit is brought all the way up to the application frameworks. The 32 and 64 bit apps coexist without any emulation or translation.

Time Machine: This feature sets out to solve a majority usability issue for consumer computing: backup and restore. The basic idea is you give Time Machine some space to work with (a hard drive, a server), and it will back up everything in the background.

If you change a file, it backs it up. this is useful not just for complete restores, but also for retrieving earlier versions of individual files or files that were deleted. The UI for Time Machine is a very dramatic space scene which "zooms" you through time to the version of the file that you want. This should solve accidentally overwriting files.

Is it a bit much? Some might say it is. Without trying it, though, it's hard to say. And once I've tried it, I can't say, though. This feature works not just with the Finder, but also with Address Book, iPhoto, and presumably other apps.

Complete Package: Simply put, Apple is going to unify a bunch of individual pieces of software that are distributed individual right now: Boot Camp, Front Row, Photo Booth and so on. Photo Booth is getting some upgrades and will support more cameras.

Spaces: Finally! A feature I was hoping for in Tiger will show up in Leopard: multiple desktops. As always, the presentation is subtle but very slick. Moving windows between spaces is straightforward.

Spotlight: Upgrades to this system include network searches, advanced searching syntax, recent items and more focus on quick app launching.

Core Animation: I think this could end up being the biggest net win for Leopard (sans Top Secret stuff). It could make all non-Leopard apps look positively ancient.

The basic idea is that you can create a scene with many layers, and tell the objects where they start and where they end up. Much of the rest is handled by the framework. The content can be text, images, video, OpenGL, and so on.

The UI for Time Machine is built using Core Animation. Maybe the biggest deal since Core Data, but we'll have to wait and see.

Accessibility: Big Accessibility upgrades throughout Leopard. VoiceOver upgrades, braille support, closed captioning for QuickTime, improved universal access navigation and some amazing text-to-speech improvements.

Mail: The big new features here are HTML-based stationary, a Notes feature and a Todo feature. The Todo feature is actually an interface to a system-level service designed to allow application to share Todo items. The items created in Mail can be access in iCal, for example.

Dashboard: The widget development tool, Dashcode, is now formally introduced. It mixes HTML and CSS design with templates, reusable parts, and a JavaScript editor and debugger.

A truly interesting addition is WebClip, which allows an end user to "capture" a portion of any web site in Safari and frame just the portion of the content they're interested in. That block of content is converted into a live widget in Dashboard. Pretty amazing little tool.

iChat: A major upgrade. Multiple logins, invisiblity, tabbed chats, animated buddy icons, Photo Booth effects (Core Video). The backdrops feature allows you to change your background for visitors.

The truly interesting additions, though, are support for photo slideshows and remote Keynote presentations. These allow you to walk viewers through a series of photos or an entire Keynote presentation right through iChat. Great production values on these features.

Other: Improved parental controls, multi-user iCal, and Xcode 3.x

Mac Pro

Not much to say that's not on Apple's site, but here's a quick look at the Mac Pro.

The Mac Pro is a quad (dual processor, dual core) 64-bit Xeon. It uses the Core 2 "Woodcrest" chip, running at 2.0, 2.66 and 3.0 GHz. 4MB shared L2 cache, 128-bit vector unit, and a tremendous performance jump over the quad G5.

The case is very similar to the G5 on the outside, though there are more plugs in the front and space for two optical drives. Inside, with smaller CPUs and reduced need for cooling systems, there's room for a lot more useful stuff.

Four snap-in drive bays which support a total of 2 terabytes of storage, four PCI express slots, a double-wide graphics slot, and easy access to the memory slots. The internals are much easier to get to.

It's available today, and a very reasonable 2.66GHz stock configuration can be had for $2499, which is less than a comparable model it replaces.


The Intel-based Xserve seems to use the same chip as the Mac Pros, though this is the first Xserve to support a quad (dual processor, dual core) configuration.

Tremendous peformance gains and $3000 for the stock configuration. Apple says it's roughly five times faster for $1000 less than the model it replaces. Available in October.


A few interesting statistics came up during the keynote. There about 19 million activate Mac OS X users, and that operating system they use is made up of 86 millions lines of code. Wow.

Remember that line in Jurassic Park?


Okay, on to installing Leopard, and playing with all the things I can't talk about.
Design Element
WWDC 2006: Keynote Highlights
Posted Aug 7, 2006 — 22 comments below


Daniel Chong — Aug 07, 06 1511

Please comment on Xcode 3.0 if it was included in the DVD. Truely look forward to the automatic garbage collection that java programmer enjoy. Cheers

Mr. Kool — Aug 07, 06 1512

How is the new Interface Builder? Does it do multiple selection? Can we rearrange the icons? Any new controls available?

Thanks anyway for the updates. I'm very curious what those "TOP SECRETS" are going to be. I doubt those are already included in the Leopard Preview you got.

Jussi — Aug 07, 06 1513

Daniel, I guess he can't say very much because he's under NDA. I'm sure he tries to tell us all he can.

Phil — Aug 07, 06 1514

I'm a little underwhelmed from what's been shown so far. Here's to hoping the top secret features will make up for it. I think it's interesting that there are no real visual changes in the preview.

Abhi Beckert — Aug 07, 06 1515

Something you missed in iChat is screen sharing (ie. remote desktop).

It's going to make a *huge* difference when demoing finished projects with clients, something I currently do over the phone. It'll also be pretty nice for helping the family with their continuous issues.

Justin — Aug 07, 06 1516

I hope Apple posts video of the Mac OS X State of the Union for all on ADC this year like they did for Tiger. While the keynote was nice for user oriented features, the State of the Union presentations are targeted at developers.

Keith Duncan — Aug 07, 06 1517

Hey, just a quick question on Xcode 3.0 (if you are allowed to answer). When will it be released to the masses? And since Im a new cocoa programmer: does the latest version work on OS X 10.4, or is it leopard only?

Ben — Aug 07, 06 1518

My biggest question is "Where's the new Finder?"

Here's to hoping that the Top Secret stuff is awesome GUI stuff, and not Top Secret APIs and developer oriented stuff.

Hume — Aug 07, 06 1519

Core Animation + ObjC 2.0 = New 3-D Finder?

Jarl Robert Kristiansen — Aug 07, 06 1520


Scott Stevenson — Aug 07, 06 1521 Scotty the Leopard

If it's not in the keynote and involves something Apple is working on, I can't talk about it.

Scott Stevenson — Aug 07, 06 1522 Scotty the Leopard

Here's to hoping the top secret features will make up for it

I don't know what they are, but it would be strange if the top secret stuff was less interesting than the private stuff.

In any case, I really think the big news (at least in term of public info) for developers is Core Animation. For users, Time Machine is a big leap forward, as are the advances in iChat. I think more casual users (my Mom) will really like the changes in Mail.

Mat — Aug 08, 06 1523

Is anyone able to explain the difference between CoreAnimation and QuartzComposer?

It looks from the information available as the same thing with a new name, and possibly some additional tweening thrown in?

Presumably/hopefully developer sessions will have more detail on why this isn't the case.

Grayfox — Aug 08, 06 1524

3D Finder si already here. Width/Height/Time ;-).
Apparently XCode 3.0 will be released only for Leopard, but you can already get 2.4 for Tiger.

Geoff — Aug 08, 06 1525

Xcode 3.0 looks sweet Can't wait.

ian — Aug 08, 06 1526

i hallucinated they announced that xcode 3.0 would be available as of yesterday. i really can't wait to check it out. garbage collection will be very welcome - any word on definable data stores in core data?

also, grayfox - where are you seeing xcode 2.4, i still only see 2.3 on connect?

Grayfox — Aug 08, 06 1527

From XCode mailing list:

Xcode 2.4, an update to the Xcode 2 IDE, is announced today and
available on connect.apple.com (Access will vary by developer type and
geography today as we push the content around the world). This is a
public release and it can be discussed freely on xcode-users.

Jan — Aug 08, 06 1528

...and what about the "RSS-Feeds" Folder
in Mail that Steve didn't talk about : -)

Sophia — Aug 08, 06 1529

Apple also announced Objective-C 2.0 on there website. Does anybody know what they changed exactly, there is talking about syntax enhancements?

sjk — Aug 08, 06 1530

where are you seeing xcode 2.4, i still only see 2.3 on connect?

2.4 shows up on the Tools - Download page but only 2.3 is available here after login. Apple EFI DDK and Java SE 6.0 Release 1 Developer Preview 5 are new since yesterday; not sure why 2.4 is still delayed.

Scott Stevenson — Aug 08, 06 1531 Scotty the Leopard

Is anyone able to explain the difference between CoreAnimation and QuartzComposer?

There are big differences, but can't go into the details now. One thing to keep in mind is that Core Animation is designed to be easy to use, as is described here.

George — Aug 09, 06 1536

Check out the new icon for First Responder! :)

Other tidbits there look very interesting. "Interface Builder 3.0 lets you drag and drop even more luscious behaviors into your application. Want to imitate the iChat sliding list view? Itís a matter of minutes, not days. Or add Keynote-like transitions to make your applications drag and stun."

My personal hope is a drop in iApp style Source pane since it currently can be a little troublesome (*cough* tree controller + core data + ordered outlineview *cough*).


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