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MacBytes
May 15, 2007, 10:21 AM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: Apple's Leopard: End of the Desktop as We Know It? (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20070515112108)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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j33pd0g
May 15, 2007, 10:42 AM
Before I read this I thought it was going to claim that I would no longer be able to save files on, or work from my desktop. I'm glad my knee-jerk stupidity wasn't alarm for concern.

I would like to see cleaner more intuitive interfaces become the wave of the future. In comparison, the framed windowed shell must be stunting to developer creativity. I'd like to hear what developers think.

starflyer
May 15, 2007, 10:51 AM
I wonder if we didnt get the first glipse of this with widgets.

The widget is "up front" and all your info is on the "back" press the "i" and it flips around.

We now see this on the iPhone as well with the new touch screen iPod interface. Play the album, flip it around to see all the tracks.

Jopling
May 15, 2007, 10:53 AM
The Macs I had in my gradeschool didn't use overlapping windows... Apple must have been really ahead of their time back then.

Jodeo
May 15, 2007, 10:55 AM
If only there was a way to have a single pane, yet with an intuitive reference to other, hidden, panes... some sort of, 'tabbed interface'...:

CANEHDN
May 15, 2007, 11:04 AM
I liked this article. He brings up a lot of good points. I sure hope he's right. That would make me feel a little better.

Eraserhead
May 15, 2007, 11:04 AM
That sounds sensible, it totally explains the "secret features" thing too, which need to happen or Apple will look really silly.

myjellyass
May 15, 2007, 11:07 AM
This article seems to be very speculative, and if they did manage to pull all that detail out of a delay of a few months, i will be very impressed.
However, i would be even more impressed if Apple pulled this off; it seems like a beautiful idea, cause even with my extensive use of keyboard shortcuts, i still find changing windows and referencing one thing from another a bit of a hassle (obviously not much of one, but it's just one of those things everybody has got used to). But I still have no vision of how they would manage it; with the appleTV, ipod and iphone it can be simple because it is dealing with simple things; everything can be simply categorised into "music", then "artists" then "album" then "song". But as soon as you start sharing files across more than one categorisation, it can all get a bit screwey...

We'll just have to wait till June and see what they pull out the bag. Can't wait!

p.s. Hope they add tabs to more applications (eg finder); it's the best idea since having a scroll ball instead of a wheel!

Spock
May 15, 2007, 11:20 AM
The Macs I had in my gradeschool didn't use overlapping windows... Apple must have been really ahead of their time back then.

It was called AtEase and it was, I think, I pain in the bum. I wish that the full screen coverflow could flip around the album art and show track listings like the iPhone.

TBi
May 15, 2007, 11:33 AM
No overlapping windows? Wouldn't apple just be copying MS then. Non-Overlapping windows is SO Windows 1.0.

bketchum
May 15, 2007, 11:45 AM
I can't stop myself from wondering if Apple is maybe implementing touchscreen technology in Leopard. Perhaps they see how smitten everyone is over the touchscreen technology in the iPhone, and are now rushing to get it in their principle OS. I read somewhere that the iPhone OS is a slimmed down version of Mac OS X, so getting it in Leopard may not be so monumental. What may be difficult is getting touchscreen-ready displays out to market. I wonder why new releases of Apple displays, iMacs, and MacBook Pros are delayed? Imagine the impression left on people not familiar with Macs when they walk in to a store and see someone interfacing with an iMac by keyboard, mouse, and touchscreen. I get chills.

Just a thought.

elppa
May 15, 2007, 12:47 PM
Someone found a graphic in one of the dev previews which looked like it was hinting at multi touch functionality.

FreeState
May 15, 2007, 02:58 PM
No overlapping windows? Wouldn't apple just be copying MS then. Non-Overlapping windows is SO Windows 1.0.

Nope, at least from how I read the article.

The idea here is there will be no Windows. You can not overlap something that does not exist. (I should note I don't agree this will happen - and if it does happen it will not happen over night, it would be over several OS updates - Apple likes to phase in their interface changes and not blind side it's OS users, IMO).

pilky
May 15, 2007, 03:11 PM
As a developer I wouldn't like to see something like this. It basically would preassure us into making something akin to Windows, where everythign is maximised. Some applications just don't suit that. Not to mention that it would limit the usefulness of drag and drop. I think the author is just taking a piece of a jigsaw and trying to imagine the entire puzzle. While I think we will see some changes to the interface, I doubt that the delay is down to needing developers to adopt new technologies and more to the reported reason, engineers being moved to the iPhone

Diatribe
May 15, 2007, 03:31 PM
It was called AtEase and it was, I think, I pain in the bum. I wish that the full screen coverflow could flip around the album art and show track listings like the iPhone.

A matter of time I hope.

swingerofbirch
May 15, 2007, 10:32 PM
My guess is that it might relate more to Spaces.

For example each space could be a fully 3 dimensional environment suited to whatever you're working on. Office work might look like a real wooden desk, etc. And you switch between them like you might switch between iPod, Phone, and Internet Communicator like you do on the iPhone. After all, the iPhone is running Leopard!

I didn't understand his premise though. He said it was odd that Apple was giving out these coding headers (whatever the hell that is) early so that they could get work done on this colossal change whereas normally they would want them to breathe and relax???? It seems like Apple would always want them to work fast so that their apps would be ready the day of Leopard's release.

Anyhow it's all very exciting! I even have a countdown widget to WWDC! Only 26 days!

elppa
May 16, 2007, 02:53 AM
My guess is that it might relate more to Spaces.

For example each space could be a fully 3 dimensional environment suited to whatever you're working on. Office work might look like a real wooden desk, etc. And you switch between them like you might switch between iPod, Phone, and Internet Communicator like you do on the iPhone. After all, the iPhone is running Leopard!

I didn't understand his premise though. He said it was odd that Apple was giving out these coding headers (whatever the hell that is) early so that they could get work done on this colossal change whereas normally they would want them to breathe and relax???? It seems like Apple would always want them to work fast so that their apps would be ready the day of Leopard's release.

Anyhow it's all very exciting! I even have a countdown widget to WWDC! Only 26 days!

iPhone runs OS X, not Mac OS X.

I do not believe the omission of "Mac" when referring to iPhone was either an accident or an oversight on Apple's part.

Leopard is the next generation of Mac OS X.

Analog Kid
May 16, 2007, 03:10 AM
Does anyone know what the developer head start programs focus on? Which APIs are being added or updated? That would really tell us a lot-- it's the elephant in the room that the article never really addresses.

We know about Core Animation, and Apple clearly thinks that's a big thing. I think it's obvious that we're going to start seeing much more movement on the screen with Leopard-- and with all the attention Apple gets for "eye candy" they rarely add eye candy for it's own sake. All of the eye candy I can think of in OS X is specifically designed to improve usability. We'll probably start to see something bubble out of that-- the first targets will be anything in the current interface that happens abruptly.

What I dread is all the apps that will be coming out with stuff zooming around the screen and rotating on three axes just because it can.

I don't know that the widget "flip" is going to make it to the main desktop. It makes sense for little apps with no menu, but for documents I think it will be better to use sheets and be able to see the content of the window for which properties are being adjusted.

We know (or at least it's been rumored) that the Quicktime API is being reworked. I don't think that's going to result in UI changes though...

Do we know anything else?

Analog Kid
May 16, 2007, 03:10 AM
If only there was a way to have a single pane, yet with an intuitive reference to other, hidden, panes... some sort of, 'tabbed interface'...:
Tabbed browsing is definitely an example of the trend he's describing.
That sounds sensible, it totally explains the "secret features" thing too, which need to happen or Apple will look really silly.
Prepare for Apple to look silly. I think they underestimated the amplifier that the iPod gave them-- Jobs has gotten used to making these "change the world" claims just so Apple's little voice could be heard. Now it's not a little voice anymore and there's going to be disappointment all around when the results don't match the booming voice echoing in our memory...
But I still have no vision of how they would manage it; with the appleTV, ipod and iphone it can be simple because it is dealing with simple things; everything can be simply categorised into "music", then "artists" then "album" then "song". But as soon as you start sharing files across more than one categorisation, it can all get a bit screwey...
I tried using links to solve this problem once-- making links into all the places I thought something belonged. It turned into a quagmire very rapidly.

I think this is an obvious area for innovation. To some extent Spotlight was a starting point-- the ability to find stuff by content across single metric organization methods like folders. I'd like a solution that could be navigated though, rather than requiring precise search strings. And something graphical rather than relying on typing.
As a developer I wouldn't like to see something like this. It basically would preassure us into making something akin to Windows, where everythign is maximised. Some applications just don't suit that. Not to mention that it would limit the usefulness of drag and drop. I think the author is just taking a piece of a jigsaw and trying to imagine the entire puzzle. While I think we will see some changes to the interface, I doubt that the delay is down to needing developers to adopt new technologies and more to the reported reason, engineers being moved to the iPhone
I agree. I actually don't like the paned interfaces that much. They rely on large screen size to be effective. I can't imagine using Aperture on anything smaller than my 23", and even with that I'm wishing I had a second display because the panes eat up chunks of screen and I can't control which chunks.

I also agree that the reasons for the delay are most likely for exactly the reasons Apple stated. People are looking for all these hidden meanings in a 3 or 4 month delay. For most companies a 3 month delay is routine. Hell, big companies announce products that they know will be delayed, or even that will never ship, just as a way of taking the wind out of the sails of a competitor. There's nothing in this delay that tells me something earth shattering is going to happen.

elppa
May 16, 2007, 04:17 AM
Tabbed browsing is definitely an example of the trend he's describing.

Prepare for Apple to look silly. I think they underestimated the amplifier that the iPod gave them-- Jobs has gotten used to making these "change the world" claims just so Apple's little voice could be heard. Now it's not a little voice anymore and there's going to be disappointment all around when the results don't match the booming voice echoing in our memory...

I tried using links to solve this problem once-- making links into all the places I thought something belonged. It turned into a quagmire very rapidly.

I think this is an obvious area for innovation. To some extent Spotlight was a starting point-- the ability to find stuff by content across single metric organization methods like folders. I'd like a solution that could be navigated though, rather than requiring precise search strings. And something graphical rather than relying on typing.

I agree. I actually don't like the paned interfaces that much. They rely on large screen size to be effective. I can't imagine using Aperture on anything smaller than my 23", and even with that I'm wishing I had a second display because the panes eat up chunks of screen and I can't control which chunks.

I also agree that the reasons for the delay are most likely for exactly the reasons Apple stated. People are looking for all these hidden meanings in a 3 or 4 month delay. For most companies a 3 month delay is routine. Hell, big companies announce products that they know will be delayed, or even that will never ship, just as a way of taking the wind out of the sails of a competitor. There's nothing in this delay that tells me something earth shattering is going to happen.

True, but it by October it will have been 2 and a half years since the last major update of the OS. A lot can happen in that time.

I doubt the engineers have just been filming fun backgrounds for iChat or colouring in new templates for Mail.

The "ten new features" announced last year were in my opinion very underwhelming. Considering what SJ was able to achieve at NeXT in a short period with a small, but talented and dedicated group (I know time has moved on but the point still remians). I think we can expect Leopard to be one of the most significant updates to the Mac OS X series.

Nym
May 16, 2007, 06:15 AM
You see the interface of the iPod and/or iPhone and you can clearly see that Apple is one of the leaders in interface and usability design. I really don't know if there are any "top-secret" features in Leopard but it sure as hell better be, or 10.5 will be the most "media-bashed" OS release ever!

Most people related to the Software/Hardware market are not Pro-Apple and the writers from numerous technology websites will be hovering their M$-loving fingers over the keyboard on WWDC, because if there isn't any top secret feature that blows the sky away then it's going to be a hard time for Apple in the media. A company that already has a lot against them, suddently falling behind schedule on a OS release, not-upgrading their products, and not showing what they promised in the OS... is a mistake they just can't afford.

I truly believe Apple is taking it's time with Leopard because it's going to be a brutal OS, with a solid, coherent and innovative GUI, and that's the top secret feature for me, no more Aqua the way we know it.

26 days remaining :)

TBi
May 16, 2007, 06:19 AM
You see the interface of the iPod <snip>

You do know that the iPod GUI is a blatant rip off of creatives first portable jukebox player? Very innovative...

scaredpoet
May 16, 2007, 07:08 AM
You see the interface of the iPod and/or iPhone and you can clearly see that Apple is one of the leaders in interface and usability design.

The iPod interface... you mean the interface that was designed by Pixo, and not Apple?

I really don't know if there are any "top-secret" features in Leopard but it sure as hell better be, or 10.5 will be the most "media-bashed" OS release ever!

OS X... you mean the OS that Apple had to buy NEXSTEP because they couldn't organically evolve past OS 9? :)

And I'm not trying to pick on Apple here. OS X and the iPod interface are beautifully designed. I just don't make any presuppositions about what original, innovative geniuses the Apple developers are.


Most people related to the Software/Hardware market are not Pro-Apple and the writers from numerous technology websites will be hovering their M$-loving fingers over the keyboard on WWDC, because if there isn't any top secret feature that blows the sky away then it's going to be a hard time for Apple in the media.

I don't think such media bashing has anything to do with being Windows biased. If Apple and Steve Jobs touts "top secret features" and doesn't deliver, are people supposed to just shrug and gush anyway?

I'm sorry, but a lot of the critical press Apple gets is mostly of its own doing. They gleefully bashed MS for the Vista delays and got plenty of mileage out of it, and there's nothing particularly wrong with that. So why is it suddenly not okay for Apple to get a comparatively mild ribbing over a delay in the Leopard release? And if these touted "top secret" features don't materialize, is the media just supposed to pretend such things were never promised?

elppa
May 16, 2007, 07:32 AM
And I'm not trying to pick on Apple here. OS X and the iPod interface are beautifully designed. I just don't make any presuppositions about what original, innovative geniuses the Apple developers are.


I think your find that most of the innovative geniuses behind NeXT did work for Apple at some stage ;)

Moreover, Apple brought NeXT in 1998 and didn't ship Mac OS X until 2001, and it wasn't really ready until 2002. So I think it was a bit more complicated than just copying the code across.

Nym
May 16, 2007, 10:31 AM
The iPod interface... you mean the interface that was designed by Pixo, and not Apple?



OS X... you mean the OS that Apple had to buy NEXSTEP because they couldn't organically evolve past OS 9? :)

And I'm not trying to pick on Apple here. OS X and the iPod interface are beautifully designed. I just don't make any presuppositions about what original, innovative geniuses the Apple developers are.



I don't think such media bashing has anything to do with being Windows biased. If Apple and Steve Jobs touts "top secret features" and doesn't deliver, are people supposed to just shrug and gush anyway?

I'm sorry, but a lot of the critical press Apple gets is mostly of its own doing. They gleefully bashed MS for the Vista delays and got plenty of mileage out of it, and there's nothing particularly wrong with that. So why is it suddenly not okay for Apple to get a comparatively mild ribbing over a delay in the Leopard release? And if these touted "top secret" features don't materialize, is the media just supposed to pretend such things were never promised?

Yep, I wasn't saying that the press should not bash Apple if the top secret features were never released... on the contrary, I'm hoping that this "media pressure" will work in our (consumers) favor.

Wasn't NEXSTEP a project founded and led by Steve Jobs after leaving Apple? If so, how can Apple be stealing from something that was theirs by association after the re-hiring of Jobs?

Apple stole the original iPod design from Creative? what? are you honestly saying that Creative has better designers than Apple and if you could choose one of them as "the most innovative" you would pick Creative?

Honestly, it's like the Xerox story, the LG Prada, Dashboard, bla bla bla, a lot of misinformation, It's not like Apple invented the (scroll) wheel, but they surely were the ones who made it a reality and got people to love it.

TBi
May 16, 2007, 10:41 AM
Apple stole the original iPod design from Creative? what? are you honestly saying that Creative has better designers than Apple and if you could choose one of them as "the most innovative" you would pick Creative?

They only stole the GUI. Not the whole design. You should be more specific with your points...

Nym
May 16, 2007, 11:27 AM
They only stole the GUI. Not the whole design. You should be more specific with your points...

Was that for me? Because I was saying the opposite :D

But wait a second, now seriously, the iPod GUI (I mean the sideways scrolling/folding list) was it in a Creative player first? :eek:

elppa
May 16, 2007, 11:55 AM
Wasn't NEXSTEP a project founded and led by Steve Jobs after leaving Apple?

Of course it was, see post above.

He also took on a lot of Apple's staff, leading to disputes between the companies.

Meanwhile, whilst Steve was away, Apple lost the plot.

Iroganai
May 16, 2007, 05:19 PM
But wait a second, now seriously, the iPod GUI (I mean the sideways scrolling/folding list) was it in a Creative player first? :eek:

I thought they just reused the column view prevalent in NeXTSTEP ...

RacerX
May 16, 2007, 07:34 PM
But wait a second, now seriously, the iPod GUI (I mean the sideways scrolling/folding list) was it in a Creative player first?
I thought they just reused the column view prevalent in NeXTSTEP ...There was more than enough prior art from both NeXT and Apple to have won the case against Creative... but at what cost?

If Creative could have gotten a suspension of iPod sales during the litigation there would have been no way for Apple to recover those losses. Even if Creative was sanctioned and Apple could prove damages from Creative's nuisance law suit for the lost sales, Creative isn't worth even a year of iPod sales, and suits like these can run on for many years.


While I personally think that all nuisance law suits should be fought to deter them from being brought in the first place, Apple really did have a good reason for settling.

By comparison, I am quite happy that IBM has fought SCO. But had Novell not stepped in, IBM could have been in a similar position to what Apple was in.

SCO (early on in the case) attempted to revoke IBM's System V license (the Unix foundations of IBM's AIX operating system). Novell had language in it's contracts with SCO letting it override SCO on any System V licensing matter, and they overrode them on the IBM matter.

Because of this SCO could not make a case for the court to order a stop to all sales of AIX by IBM while the case progresses. Without Novell's intervention, IBM could have been in the same situation Apple found itself in.

The SCO vs IBM case has been going on for about 4 years now... If SCO could have gotten the court to force a suspension of AIX sales, IBM most likely would have settled rather than lose all those years of sales. :eek:

twoodcc
May 16, 2007, 07:41 PM
nice read. he could be right

Iroganai
May 16, 2007, 08:25 PM
Anyway, I'm looking forward to Leopard with
full of subtle, cute but unobtrusive CoreAnimation !

Spock
May 16, 2007, 09:31 PM
It's not like Apple invented the (scroll) wheel, but they surely were the ones who made it a reality and got people to love it.

Scroll wheel?? If I recall Apple was really behind on the whole scroll wheel deal.

TBi
May 17, 2007, 03:36 AM
Scroll wheel?? If I recall Apple was really behind on the whole scroll wheel deal.

I'm sure he meant the apple scroll wheel.

aLoC
May 17, 2007, 04:13 AM
I would really like it if they did this. Each app always takes the whole screen, and you have a coverflow type interface to flip between your programs. Or even an Expose type interface where each square is a screen instead of a window.

However I believe the article is a castle built on sand and probably wrong.

Blue Velvet
May 17, 2007, 04:28 AM
I would really like it if they did this. Each app always takes the whole screen, and you have a coverflow type interface to flip between your programs. Or even an Expose type interface where each square is a screen instead of a window...


I disagree. As an example, that would be a disaster for designers. I'm often dragging items -- page items, layers -- between compatible and open running apps e.g. Adobe CS

RacerX
May 17, 2007, 05:03 AM
I disagree. As an example, that would be a disaster for designers. I'm often dragging items -- page items, layers -- between compatible and open running apps e.g. Adobe CSWhich points out the major fallacy of the article... the rise of overly simplified GUI design in some products or some applications had more to do with their purposes rather than a trend that should be adopted (inflicted?) on the rest of us.

Some applications can get away with full screen... Final Cut Pro gained popularity mainly because it did all of what Premiere could do plus the most used aspects of AfterEffects. Many projects that may have originally required two apps, could now be handled in a single app.

But that is not usually the norm... specially for the types of projects I work on.

Darting back and forth between three or four major apps, dragging and dropping elements between them (which requires line of sight between apps) and referring to information displayed in one app while working in another (also requires line of sight between apps)... this can't be done with full screen apps.

And it is the loss of that ability that makes Windows a poor choice of work environment even if Windows has all the same app titles that you may be using. In most cases (like Photoshop for example) the Windows version of the app is implemented differently than on any other platform due to it's rooted application environment.

Taking GUI design from the iPod, iPhone or AppleTV (which are all designed around simple, limited tasks) and using that as the benchmark of what a desktop environment should be like is beyond short sighted.


Fortunately, most of the people who put forward these types of ideas are themselves simple users (people who tend to use one app at a time rather than multiple apps in concert), which makes the likelihood of them getting this type of stuff implemented less likely. People like the author of this article seem to be followers of fads and trends... people at Apple tend to work from the timeless (but often overlooked) adage: form follows function.

And until there is a one-app-that-does-it-all for all types of projects, the power that users get by being able to combine the abilities of multiple applications in an environment that makes it easy to use them side by side is going to be around for a while.

petej
May 17, 2007, 05:44 AM
Resolution independence is the big thing for Leopard and for it to work properly, developers need to understand how to code for it properly.
As well as the stated goal of supporting displays with a much greater pixel density, it could also allow you to shrink an applicaion window down to the size that you want. Thus toolbars and the like can be any size the user wants. Also you could invoke exposť and then actaully interact with the shrunk applications (cut/copy/paste; drag'n'drop).

One other thought, instead of touch screens, you could have a touchpad screen at the side of your keyboard. With RI, this could display an exact replica of your main screen + you can multi touch on it. Alternatively extend your destop onto it and then just arrange the tool bar buttons you want at a size you can use.

We all know that Apple have been working on RI for many years and if they get this right then Vista will look prehistoric.