nullstream weblog - Apple WWDC Discussion

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Apple WWDC Discussion


June 11, 2007 02:11 PM PST

Just a post to start a discussion on Job's keynote at the WWDC.

To seed the discussion:

1. Sweet iPhone development model. Use the Web??
2. Safari for Windows. - Why?

In related news, it looks like the Apple stock bubble burst (or just lost some air) shortly after the keynote, losing 4 bucks before the market closed. As a result my manually guided sell stop fired and I am no longer an Apple share holder. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing yet, but at least it was one of the few times I actually made money in the stock market.

Comments (19)
Paul, June 11, 2007 05:27 PM:

Reasons for Safari on Windows:
1. More Safari users means more site compatibility with Apple's rendering engine (WebKit). If webmasters perceive that "no one uses Safari", they won't go to the trouble of making all their Web 2.0 apps compatible (it takes a lot of Javascript hackery to get something like Google Maps to work in IE and Firefox). A poor web experience means less people wanting to use Macs.
2. Make it easy for webmasters to test their sites without having to buy a Mac.
3. Syndication cash from third parties (default search engine, etc).

John, June 11, 2007 05:46 PM:


1. Do you use Safari on your Mac?
2. Does the world need yet another Web browser (on Windows)?
3. Why would someone use it? It seems to have less features than even Opera.

Actually more important than #3 is 'how' are they planning on getting people to use it? I am having visions of Apple exclusive (DRM laden) content that only works with Safari - ala Netflix Watch Now, which only works with IE. *Raises feeble fist*

From your list I think #2 if most relevant. From what you said and other horror stories I have read, it sounds like Web 2.0's version of write once run anywhere is even worse than with Java. I feel sorry for those poor saps.

Paul, June 11, 2007 06:17 PM:

I don't like or use Safari on the Mac: it doesn't display fonts in Gmail very well. On my powerbook, I use Camino, and on the iMac I build my own version of Firefox from their latest trunk source.

I like it when there are multiple choices of software available. I think that their is plenty of space left for innovating in web browsers, especially now with all the ajax apps coming out, and things like Gears. The more non-IE users there are, the more likely it will be that web developers will follow web standards rather than IE quirks (like in CSS today).

I have no idea why someone would use Safari on Windows: it doesn't look nice, the fonts are crap, window resizing is insanely slow, and bookmark management is horrible. And that's from about 20 minutes of messing with it. No, I'm sticking with Firefox.

Paul, June 11, 2007 07:18 PM:

Joel On Safari: world's slowest browser... heh heh.

John, June 11, 2007 08:02 PM:

Ahh, that Joel. He is a funny guy. Nice to call Apple on the whole PowerPC rules / Intel rules thing. Is he kidding about that last part though? Each time he starts Safari on Vista it gets faster? Um either he is being ironic, or he hasn't heard about SuperFetch? I can't tell.

As for rendering performance, I didn't do a scientific survey, but for the sites I visted today, Safari was rendering them slower than IE7. I did a couple of quick control-F5 refresh tests and in some cases it was taking twice as long. Maybe something else was going on.

Back to the Web 2.0 app platform on the iphone. Maybe I'm the only one, but I find it ironic that the public 3rd party app model is strictly Web 2.0 based while the only apparent 3rd party client app allowed on the phone is Google Maps? The same google maps that helped pioneer the Web 2.0 / ajax model? Why is that a local app?

Paul, June 11, 2007 11:35 PM:

If you watched the "All Things Digital" videos I linked too, Steve mentions that iPhone Maps is an actual client application written by Apple using Google Maps APIs. Google is the data provider, and Apple does the rendering in their app, not Safari. That's how they get the neat animated pushpins.

Paul, June 11, 2007 11:36 PM:

Daring Fireball's summary.

Paul, June 11, 2007 11:41 PM:

Another interesting thing was the appearance of Carmack at the keynote, where he described some of the new technology they're using in their next project. Electronic Arts also announced that they're bringing a bunch of games to the Mac, so that was nice.

John, June 12, 2007 12:50 AM:

Google Maps client just to do neat animated pushpins seems a bit overkill. I guess of course they also integrated some feature to lookup and dial phone numbers. One issue, however, is that a 3rd party would not be able to do the same thing as a client app.

Daring Fireball didn't beat around the bush with that post. I have to agree. Job's may be an expert at selling a product's weakness as a 'feature' to the mass market, but developers are not quite as gullible.

The Carmack thing was strange. He didn't really announce a new game or that they were doing anything exclusive for the mac. I guess the point was that OSX was included as a release platform for whatever it is. EA's announcement is good news for Mac gaming. The Mac market is finally getting large enough to catch the interest of the major game houses. It has to be easier to port games over to OSX now that they are on Intel.

John, June 13, 2007 12:17 AM:

Word on the street is that EA's Mac games will be powered by TransGaming's Cider".
That's pretty cool stuff. If it works as advertised that is. It also means that it is really a minimal cost / risk for EA as it is not a real 'port'. If the first few games are successful I predict TransGaming will make a barrel full of money.

Paul, June 13, 2007 01:15 AM:

It might save EA money, but here's why it might not be such a good idea.

J, June 13, 2007 03:13 PM:

I only use Safari for quick web browsing, because it loads faster than Firefox with all the tabs I keep open - LOL. Remember that Safari doesn't support the live GTalk chat in GMail, so I think it's got a ways to go to being Web 2.0 capable. I really wish that Apple would have gone with Firefox, and helped them improve that product, rather than launching being the third (or fourth) browser candidate.

For Web 2.0 phone apps, they'll have to have an offline usage model for them. Sounds like several companies, including Google are starting to do this somehow.

Mac gaming seems totally irrelevant to me, but kids might like it. As John mentioned in the other post - the virtualization stuff happening on the Mac right now seems way more interesting.

J, June 13, 2007 03:18 PM:

Also, I agree with Daring Fireball. And I have to say about Safari on Windows - I stay away from Windows apps written by Apple. iTunes is still a huge POS on Windows, and MP3 playback actually stutters if I'm scrolling the song list.

John, June 13, 2007 03:51 PM:

The security community didn't take long (a few hours) to slam it for holes, and Apple for generally making false claims about how secure its stuff is.

I think supporting Firefox would have been a better move also.

As for iTunes on Windows.. don't get me started. It still pegs the CPU of my fastest machine just downloading a file.

I generally agree about Apple apps on Windows. I find it funny that neither Quicktime (free edition) or Safari has a full screen mode. But... if they were to offer the full iLife suite for Windows that would be another story. My daughter is still hounding me for Garageband.

Paul, June 13, 2007 05:23 PM:

There is no way a for-profit company like Apple can rely on an open source group like Mozilla to build their interface to the web. The real issue is that web sites and browsers should implement standards, so it wouldn't matter which browser you use, you just pick the one that is best for you.

Apple has been burned in the past by waiting for Adobe, Quark and Microsoft to support their platform and transitions, so now they make iLife, iWork and the high end stuff like Aperture, Final Cut and Logic. It makes sense for them to build their own browser. Even though it's crap implementation, at least they can evolve it and fix security holes as fast as they like.

John, June 13, 2007 05:29 PM:

Yet their kernel code and much of their critical plumbing is open source. I'm not sure I agree with your argument. Just take the devs from Safari and apply them to the camino or firefox projects. If you get stalled out, fork it for awhile.

Paul, June 13, 2007 05:38 PM:

Darwin is their BSD derivative, so they control it as they like and can accept external patches (on not) as they like. They are't waiting around for the BSD guys to accept their patches.

If you've ever tried to get something interesting / significant committed to the Firefox code base, you'll know what a pain that is. You just can't wait for those guys to get around to doing something you want.

John, June 13, 2007 05:48 PM:

So it sounds like what you are saying isn't necessarily open source vs. closed source issue, but BSD license vs. GPL issue? Or is it just a project by project issue? I just don't get it. I thought the whole point of open source was that you could make your own fixes / changes and not have to wait for some '3rd party'.

Wouldn't it just be as simple as Apple creating and releasing 'FireMacFox' based on and synced from the current Firefox code base? Apple fixes bugs, builds and updates their own distro and submits the fixes back to Firefox for eventual inclusion there.

Seems like lots of projects work this way. And it should still be less or equivelent effort to what they have to do with Safari anyway.

Paul, June 13, 2007 09:44 PM:

No, it's not a license issue: it's about code ownership.

For example, Mozilla Corporation employs most of the people that decide the direction of Firefox, and they may or may not take patches from Apple, or maybe they want to change the default search engine, etc. Apple might want Firefox to use native Cocoa widgets in HTML form controls (for Gmail), but Firefox wants to do its own widgets to be consistent across all platforms. There will be no agreement on that, so Apple forks the code and now has to spend a significant engineering effort to merge new Firefox code into their fork, making sure not to introduce security bugs, performance regressions or changes that make merging really difficult.

Then Apple has to hope that the major feature set in Firefox 3 meshes with their desires. At some point, syncing the diverging source trees is more work than it's worth to maintain a bunch of code that doesn't completely fit your platform strategy... it's no secret that Firefox is an awesome browser on Windows, pretty good on linux, and butt ugly on the Mac.

So, yes, Firefox and Darwin are open source in the sense that you can download (and fork) the code when you want, but just try submitting patches upstream to them when they may have completely different priorities with the direction that they're taking. Any project from Apache to linux to Firefox have owners that may outright reject your changes if it doesn't take them where they want to go.

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