WWDC chat in a nutshell

Following a busy week of hardware and OS announcements from Apple, Macworld Editorial Director Jason Snell and Senior Editor Rob Griffiths spent an hour Wednesday afternoon fielding your questions on everything from new Leopard features to the latest Mac Pro information. We plan to post a full transcript of their chat session soon, but here are some highlights from the Wednesday event.

On the RSS Feeds button in Mail

There is definitely an RSS reader in Mail now. I would imagine that it will work a bit like those newsreaders that use the Mail-style interface, such as PulpFiction. We don’t know a lot about it yet, but it’s definitely in there. You can see hints of it on the Apple web site.— Jason Snell

On what the Mac Pros potentially tell us about future Mac hardware

The Xeon (Woodcrest) chip used in the Mac Pro is a high-end server/workstation chip, and the reason Apple used it is primarily because it’s the one that can be paired with a second chip to give you quad cores. Future iMacs, Mac minis, and Laptops are more likely to use Core 2 Duo.— Jason Snell

On how Intel chips will affect Apple hardware releases and updates

I expect that you’ll see something similar to what Apple has done in the past. Big new models with new designs will be rolled out at major events. Smaller speed bumps with the same case but a different processor will happen more quietly. They’ve done that for a while, but with Intel they might do it a bit more often.— Jason Snell

On Time Machine’s impact on third-party backup software

It’s probably more likely to hurt those truly targeted at consumers, such as SuperDuper or CarbonCopyCloner. Retrospect is a high-end app, useful in corporate multi-user environments, and I can’t see Time Machine stepping into that territory. Even SuperDuper has a place, as a scheduled maker of a bootable backup. There’s going to be more competition now, but Time Machine is meant to reach people who don’t back up, and it’s not a corporate tool by any stretch of the imagination. At least, not at this point.— Rob Griffiths

On what got the biggest cheers during the WWDC keynote

Believe it or not, redundant power supplies in the XServe. It’s a geeky crowd… When the Xserve came out, just about every part in it was redundant. So if one broke, you still could use it with the other one. But it only had one power supply. So if that one blew, your server was dead. Not good. Now the Xserve Xserve is very very redundant redundant.— Jason Snell

On whether there’s a gap between the iMac and Mac Pro

I think there is. Whether that gap gets filled or not… but yes, a more powerful small form factor machine would do well, I think.— Rob Griffiths

Initially I thought there wasn’t really a gap. But honestly, I have heard from so many people who are disappointed that there isn’t a modular Mac between the Mac mini and the low-end config of the Mac Pro, that I’m starting to change my mind. Certainly with the reduced heat of these Xeon chips, Apple could make a minitower. Maybe they will. I’m sure Apple is doing plenty of market research on these issues.— Jason Snell

On the Mac Pro as a gaming machine

It certainly has the horsepower for it, especially with the upgraded video card. Not all games, though, will use the dual CPUs. But [the Xeons] are still very fast chips. Hopefully Leopard will also bring improvements to OpenGL, to help further increase the frame rates.— Rob Griffiths

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