So Apple has posted a Sneak Peek section giving us much more information about all the cool stuff announced at WWDC today. What does it tell us, exactly?
(Warning to dial-up users: this is a screenshot-heavy post.)
Let’s start with Dashcode. Here’s the basic working environment:
And here’s what happens when you use the new Safari control to turn a web page into a widget. A draggable box appears, which you can resize to suit the content you want to include in the widget:
Moving on to iChat, and there’s lots of eyecandy to drool over. Backdrops can be added behind you, using any image from your iPhoto library or any movie file on your hard disk.
Apply Photo Booth effects too, if you like.
With the new Screen Sharing feature, you and a colleague can share the same desktop. Who has control over what isn’t exactly clear; Apple’s blurb says: “You both have complete control at all times,” which seems odd (if both parties claim control at the same time, which one wins?) but the concept is an excellent one.
The tabs in iChat appear in a Mail-style pale blue sidebar. As well as sharing screens, you can also share photos or presentations with iChat Theatre.
The new virtual desktop, Spaces, does what you might expect it to. It’s a surprise addition (in my view), since this was the kind of functionality we were supposed to use Expose for; how will Spaces and Expose work together, I wonder?
When you’re browsing between each Spaces space, you get this neat little feedback bezel:
You can also re-arrange your Spaces spaces just by dragging them around, or by dragging windows from one to another:
Mail’s makeover means turning it into a productivity app. There’s todos, notes and more; personally, I’m left wondering how it will all integrate with iCal. Is there scope for confusion, with todos seemingly drifting between Mail and iCal? Does it all get synced? Today’s keynote would suggest so, but I’m keen to see the practicalities of it in action.
Here’s a sample note in Mail, with a todo item inside it. (Ugh, I hate that default notes font used here and in the Dashboard stickies widget.)
Mail gets stationery too; not something I expect to be using much, but Steve says it’s all done in standard (does he mean “Standards-compliant”?) HTML, so it should Just Work:
To be honest, I’d be much more excited if Apple said Mail was going to get a speed boost, especially when dealing with IMAP accounts. That’s why I left it behind, I simply couldn’t cope with all the waiting. Maybe it will be faster anyway, and that’s just not one of the features they’re telling us about. Let’s hope so.
Finally, Time Machine. Just like the first time we saw Dashboard in action, this provokes a certain amount of “Wow” when you see the Demo in action. But I’m curious about it working in practice; sure you can see the changes in a directory with only a half-dozen items in, but when there are dozens or hundreds of files to watch, is Time Machine going to be so effortless as the demo implies?
Here’s the sci-fi Time Machine in action:
The concept of an invisible, effortless, background backup system is an ingenious one, and I really hope Time Machine works as advertised. The interface (as shown today) is inspired, and I love the way it’s open to other apps. Will it work in document windows too? Could I have a text file open, then zoom through previous iterations of the same document? That would be amazing.
The Spotlight preview page lacks a screencast. Perhaps that suggests some updates for the UI; let’s hope so.
Finally, it’s worth noting that today’s previews are just a subsection of what Apple has in store for us with Leopard. These are simply the things the company felt it could reveal now; there’s a lot more lurking in there that we didn’t see.
No sign of a new Finder. Not yet.