by Mike Shea on 12 June 2007
Like the thousands of other sickening Mac fanboys, I sat and watched Macrumor's streaming lifeblogging of Steve Jobs's keynote at the WWDC this week. What would he announce? Surely we'll hear about the new brushed aluminium iMacs. Maybe we'll hear about that long awaited Macbook ultraportable laptop. Maybe, just maybe, if we all wish for it very much, we'll hear about a new touchscreen iPod.
How about none of the above.
We heard about ten new features of OSX Leopard, most of which we had heard before. The deltas in our previous information mainly revolved around new UI features. Apple is the king of UI, but that alone isn't thick enough for a full keynote.
I'm particularly curious in Apple's insistence at putting the iTunes album shuffle into everything. With Leopard you can flip through files, movies, pictures, whatever; all as though you were flipping through a pile of flat objects. I don't know about everyone but I tended to turn off the album flipping thing and just search and sort in a big list. It was a lot faster for me to find my Nouvelle Vague albums in a big list than it is flipping through 200 pictures. The flip thing is pretty but not entirely usable.
Then comes "one more thing". How sad is it that people cheer even before he announces anything. It isn't "one more thing" if we're all sitting here waiting for it. Yet here we are, drooling over whatever it is he's going to announce. And he announces...
Safari for Windows.
You gotta be F-ing kidding me. It is arrogant enough to refer to iTunes on Windows as "giving a glass of water to someone in hell". But Safari isn't that much better or worse than any other browser on earth. It has a back button, it has book marks, it has tabs, so does IE and Firefox and Opera. Is it faster? If so, I'm not seeing it.
I can't think of any reason to put Safari out on Windows. It doesn't make any sense. iTunes was, at least, a decent music manager, but that isn't why people use it. They use it because you HAVE to use it in order to use an iPod. You HAVE to use it to download music or TV shows from the iTunes store. It's proprietary software. We need it.
Safari? If I'm going to bother downloading a browser, it's going to be Firefox. I can't think of a single reason to use Safari other than it coming included on a Mac. I can't think of any reason at all to use it on Windows.
Apple should worry a lot more about improving iTunes than it should about Safari. iTunes and the services it offers is a window into new media. It isn't a browser, its a doorway, a tube if you will, between consumers and new media. It can crush cable TV. It can crush radio. It can crush CD sales. It can crush movie rentals if they let it. iTunes is the Apple killerapp, not Safari. Apple already has five hundred million copies of iTunes installed out there.
Apple is putting way too much energy into the iPhone. It isn't just the initial high price tag that hurts it, its the extra $50 a month that Cingular is likely to inflict upon us to use it. It's the low memory capacity. It's the crappy battery life.
I want a new iPod. I'm ready for a new iPod. The iPod is what got them back into the consumer electronics market and they've all but abandoned it. They need to come out with a new iPod this year or they're going to get creamed. They need a new iPod, they need a new iMac, and they need an ultraportable Macbook. If they do those things this year, they can come out on top. If they keep dumping cash into the iPhone, they're going to get squashed...again.