WWDC: Live chat transcript

Macworld: Welcome to the Macworld live chat with VP/Editorial Director Jason Snell and Senior Editor Rob Griffiths! They are here to discuss the new features of 10.5 Leopard and everything else from WWDC ‘06.

Macworld: Welcome Jason and Rob!

Rob: It’s great to be here and we’re happy to answer your questions.

Jason: It’s been quite a week!

sonya: When Steve did the Mail demo, I noticed an RSS Feeds button in the Mail menu on the left, under the Notes, ToDos, etc. He didn’t talk about it though. What do you think that is?

Jason: 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.

imagepro: I understand that Adobe doesn’t plan to make Photoshop compatible until 2007. Does that mean that PS will not work on the new machines or that it will just not work faster? Will other apps that are not Intel-ized continue to work with the new processors?

Jason: Photoshop works fine on the new machines, just using the Rosetta feature.

Rob: There are many other apps that aren’t yet Universal, but I’m not aware of an official “non Universal” list. Macworld has a list of Universal apps, though. With the speed of the new machines, though, Photoshop should be quite speedy unless you’re coming from a quad g5.

Scotty: What do the technical specs of the new Mac Pro tell us about future Macs? For example what chips might we expect in the iMacs, Minis, and Laptops? What does this tell us about video card requirements with Leopard?

Jason: I’m not sure if the Mac Pro tells us much about future Macs. 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. Which Intel just rolled out. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw those chips in Macs soon.

Rob: We’re not certain what the video card requirements will be, but to see all the snazzy stuff, you’ll need a card that supports CoreGraphics and the new CoreAnimation features.

Scotty: Now that Apple has completely transferred their line to Intel, do you think they’ll upgrade processors more frequently and be leading edge or will they lag the market and time releases with traditional Apple events?

Jason: 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.

sigmaration: My partner and I both have Macs (I have a PowerBook and she has a new Intel iMac). Can we share one external hard drive for Time Machine, or do we need to have separate drives?

Jason: I’m a little unclear on whether Time Machine requires a single volume or a single mechanism. My guess is that it’s a volume, though. Which means theoretically you could share one drive partitioned into two different volumes. However, Time Machine most definitely can’t use a single volume.

ismaelr: Can you mount any 3rd party SATA drive into the Mac Pro hard drive carriers, or do you have to get special drive module only from Apple, like the Xserve RAID or Xserve 1U?

Rob: You can mount any third-party SATA drive in the Pro Mac. It uses SATA 2 natively, but SATA will work, too.

Jason: The Mac Pro ships with all four drive attachments, so all you need to do is attach a SATA drive with a few screws, and they’ll work.

yoyo: 4 bays for 4 hard drives…ok, but will be RAID set up? Is there any hardware controller or just software Mac OS X controller?

Jason: You’d use Apple’s standard RAID software. If you want a hardware RAID you’d need to buy it and install it.

charholly9: Is it possible that the new app Spaces could be used with Boot Camp to allow you to open Windows XP in its own Space, similar to Parallels?

Rob: Boot Camp requires a reboot, so no, you won’t be able to use Spaces to run Boot Camp.

MarcoScutaro: What’s the deal with Web Clip? Does it pretty much kill Sherlock?

Jason: Is someone still using Sherlock? That’s a great question, Oakland A’s infielder Marco Scutaro! :-)

Rob: Effectively yes, Sherlock’s services can be replicated through Web Clip.

Michael: It looks like Apple is going to announce that VMWare has a client for them on the Intel Macs. Do you think this will be THE big break that Apple has been looking for to finally (really) crack the Enterprise market?

Jason: VMware was here at WWDC. They are definitely doing a Mac product. Everyone I’ve talked to in the IT side seems really excited about it.

Rob: Their client looks good in its current state of development…Personally, though, I think Boot Camp is almost more of a door opener, for then IT won’t have to “support” OS X if the Macs are booted into Windows.

Jason: I think Parallels is going to be big for regular users, but in corporate environments VMWare is going to rule because they’re already comfortable with it and the files are compatible across platform, so you can plug in a virtual machine from the PC side and it’ll just run on an Intel Mac. Very cool.

Zhe: Can I run Windows (Parallel) on a Mac Pro in OS X 10.5 faster than my current PC (P4 2.8G, 1G ram)?

Rob: Since you’re using a Pentium 4, you’d probably find that even a Mac Book Pro (or even a Mac Book), with its Core Duo chips, will be faster.

Jason: It would probably be in the ballpark, certainly.

Mike: Hi. Will Leopard support 64 bit on PowerPC G5?

Rob: I think so; the statements by Phil implied that the OS would support 64 bit PowerPC and Intel.

sigmaration: Do you think that Apple will release Leopard when they are ready, or do you think they will hold it until Vista is released?

Jason: They’ll release it when it’s ready. Besides which, if they waited until Vista came out, they might miss their spring deadline :-)

macvault: Is Time Machine very configurable? i.e.: set it to archive data, or backup over the internet with encryption?

Jason: It’s supposed to work out of the box. But it can also be configured. You can set it up to attach to a specific volume, local or on a network. You can turn it on and off. You can set it to exclude certain files or places. But its behavior is going to be consistent, so don’t expect a thousand little controls And as for the Internet, it will only do that if you mount an HFS plus drive securely over the Internet. It needs HFS plus.

amadeopuzzo: Is there any hint about the next version of Boot Camp not requiring separate boot-ups?

Rob: From what we heard, no. Boot Camp will always be a reboot solution. Apple is leaving the virtualization market to the third parties, it seems — unless it turns out to be one of the “Secret Features.”

Jason: I would think that what we’ll see with Boot Camp is better integration tools. Better ways to send files back and forth, etc. But I don’t think they’ll go much beyond that.

clp2069: Even though WWDC is tech-specific, wasn’t it somewhat surprising that no iPod-type products were introduced?

Jason: No.

Rob: No.

sigmaration: If Front Row is available for all machines in Leopard, does that mean that I will be able to purchase a remote for my PowerBook? How would that work…is there an infrared port on the older machines to support a remote?

Rob: No, older machines won’t support an Apple remote, at least. Some third party remotes, though, may be able to work with Front Row.

Jason: This is what Apple will call a “third-party opportunity.” I’m sure that will happen. But it’ll have to be a USB or Bluetooth add-on, because Apple seems unlikely to go there. Old machines don’t have IR ports.

MarcoScutaro: I watched the QT movie of the keynote on Apple’s site, and I didn’t understand the complete package deal with Boot Camp and Front Row. What’s the deal with that?

Jason: It’s sort of a marketing ploy. Basically they’re sweeping up all of that stuff they’ve scattered out there.

Rob: It just means that they’re going to finish what they’ve started :). like Photo Booth and Front Row and Boot Camp, and put it in the OS.

clp2069: Why didn’t Steve Jobs showcase any new features in iCal?

Jason: Perhaps iCal angered him in some way.

Rob: Lack of time? Not cool enough? I don’t know. I was disappointed not to see more.

Jason: iCal’s group scheduling features address a huge problem with today’s iCal. Being able to share editable calendars and stuff… I’m really looking forward to that. Shame it wasn’t demoed.

Rob: Agreed.

MarcoScutaro: Won’t Time Machine kill off products like Retrospect?

Rob: In some respects, yes. 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.

Jason: 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.

reynauld: What (if anything) surprised you at this year’s WWDC? Apart from the food.

Jason: The food doesn’t surprise me anymore. I was surprised that the keynote was just Mac Pro and Leopard. I thought there would be at least one other thing.

Rob: Time Machine surprised me. I didn’t see that coming at all.

Mike: Any idea when MacBooks will be updated with Intel Merom CPU?

Jason: Intel says we should be seeing laptops with Merom this month. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple laptops with Merom soon. Maybe in the next 6-8 weeks? But it’s anyone’s guess. Apple’s not telling.

jessabet: I have poor vision. Will the new iMac (Leopard) help me more than the present iMac does? Thank you.

Jason: Apple says they’ve made improvements to Universal Access, but I’m not sure if they will help you much more than what’s there now. Braille is supported, but for low vision people that’s not quite the same thing.

Rob: The good news is that with Apple calling out Universal Access as a Leopard feature, it’s clearly something that’s important to them.

MarcoScutaro: Anything disappoint you about WWDC?

Rob: The food :)

Jason: That’s funny. No, WWDC is always a good event. Behind the scenes it’s great to see developers and see how excited they are about making stuff for the Mac.

Rob: I would loved to have seen an Apple-branded iPhone, but the WWDC itself is great.

jm: Any final release to Boot Camp? It still has some bugs. Thx.

Jason: Final Boot Camp will be in Leopard. We might see more betas in the meantime too, to address new hardware.

clp2069: Is the power consumption by the Xeon chips going to double my electric bill?

Jason: The Xeon chips use much less power than the G5. Staggeringly less. The Mac Pro as a whole is something like 985 watts, down from 1000 for the G5. And most of the power is being redirected to the PCI Express bus, which has more power than it used to, so it can drive even two Quadro cards. But generally these systems use less power for more performance.

sigmaration: So do you think that the iPhone is coming…or is it just a pipe dream? It seems like a whole new product area for Apple.

Rob: iPhone question: I think they certainly have units in the R&D group. Whether or not they see release is another question, and I don’t have any clue. I sure hope so, though!

Jason: I would bet there will be an Apple Phone eventually, by the way.

But who knows when?

juststranded: Concerning iChat theatre: do you know if both users have to be using Leopard, or just the presenting user?

Jason: We just don’t know about iChat theater. If I had to guess it would be that some features won’t require Leopard, and others will, but we just don’t know which is which.

Ted: Do you guys agree that Apple has a “gap” between the iMac and PowerMac? Do you see a mini on steroids in the future?

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

Jason: 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.

clp2069: Why doesn’t Apple upgrade the old cheese grater enclosures?

Jason: Cheese graters are comfort food. Seriously. When you’re changing chips, you don’t want to make people even more scared by changing the look of your products. So Apple has wisely kept the looks consistent while changing the insides. Now that the Intel trans has happened, I expect we will see the product lines morph again over time.

Rob: I *love* the cheese graters! Nothing more fun than watching my cat get stuck to the grill when it’s in super vacuum cleaner mode! But as Jason said, I think they’re doing it the right way. Inside out with the changes.

Bronca78: If you could compel Steve Jobs and the team to add or remove any feature from Macs, what would it be?

Rob: I would really like to see the combinable video cards — it used to be called “SLI”, but has a new name now — it basically lets you take two graphics cards and combine them into one for a great speed increase.

MarcoScutaro: OK, so the iTunes movie rumor didn’t come to pass at WWDC. Do you think it’s ever going to happen?

Jason: Yeah, it’s going to happen. In some form. Maybe even soon. The question is, rent or buy? I’d love it to be a Netflix-style model where you keep it for a while, watch it, delete it, and then a new movie comes down the pipe. But I doubt it will be that. Hopefully the image quality and resolutions will be higher! 320 x 240 for a movie is…um, not ideal. As Jason noted, rent vs. buy is a big question. I know I’d never rent something, I’d want to own it.

Rob: but the bigger issue to me is that I can buy a really nice full DVD for under $20 the movie model needs to compete well with that

Jhawk95: I just bought a new MacBook Pro a few weeks ago…since Leopard is going to be 64-Bit…is my machine already obsolete?

Jason: Unless you’re visualizing DNA molecules, your machine is just fine. 64 Bit is, at present, really a very high-end sort of thing. You’ve got to be dealing with massive amounts of data. For most regular users the speed of their processors is going to make their machines obsolete long before 64-bit becomes an issue.

Rob: A new machine doesn’t make yours obsolete. It just makes it not the top of the line. But everything it did yesterday, it will do today.

Jason: Even DNA visualization. :-)

zampski: Does XServe give Apple a chance to compete in the enterprise storage space? And is it market they want to be in?

Jason: I am not an expert on the enterprise storage space. I will say that the Xserve is well thought of as a product, and I think if VMWare were to build a product for the Xserve they would find a lot of interest. Hopefully that will happen.

Rob: The new Xserve is certainly more enterprise ready than the old, with redundant power supplies. But I’m not sure that means that Apple is really going after that space or not.

clp2069: Will the new chips make the Mac Pro a top-flight gaming machine?

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

Jason: Remains to be seen, but with Boot Camp it’ll probably be pretty darned good.

utahred: Now that QuarkXpress is universal, do you think Adobe will speed up the CS2 changeover?

Jason: No. Adobe is on their track. They are moving as fast as they can. I don’t think they’re stalling. They’ll be ready when they’re ready, but it won’t be a CS2 changeover, it will be CS3. Rob has something cranky to say now. :-)

Rob: Unless you’re a super-high-end PS user, though, the current Intel lineup does quite well with CS2 in Rosetta. I use it regularly on my MacBook, and while it’s slower than the Dual g5, it’s by no means unusable. Not good if you’re working with 300MB image files all day, but for less pro-level use, it’s fine.

Jason: That wasn’t nearly cranky enough, Rob.

MarcoScutaro: You guys were in the keynote, right? What got the biggest cheers from the crowd?

Jason: Believe it or not, redundant power supplies in the XServe. It’s a geeky crowd.

Rob: I agree.

Jason: Go figure.

MRonic: Are they running out of big cats? Any idea what the next critter will be? And what will be in it?

Jason: They’ve still got Lion, Civet, Garfield…

Rob: No idea what will be in it, but there are quite a few big cat names left. Just don’t ask me to name one! :)

clp2069: What’s the one thing on your wish list that wasn’t featured in the Leopard preview?

Rob: Phrase searching in Spotlight. I *really* want to search by phrases…

Jason: You can get our complete Wish List scorecard at www.macworld.com/2006/08/firstlooks/23leopardchklist/

Madness: Why is the redundant power supply so important?

Jason: 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.

clp2069: Rob, why do you hate Spotlight?

Rob: Oh if I only had six hours to explain…mainly, I hate the fact that most of the power of Spotlight is hidden from the user. That, and Finder filename searches are tough…

Jason: Apple was very clear that they’ve learned a lot from the feedback they’ve gotten about Spotlight’s first generation. And they seemed to have listened to our requests for more power features.

imagepro: Will USB peripherals, hubs, etc. all continue to work on the Intel Mac Pro? Will they need new drivers?

Rob: At a higher level, most things just work — mice and joysticks. As you get more advanced with the peripherals, they may need new drivers — graphics tablets, external audio devices, etc. But I was able to use all of my USB devices on my MacBook with no issues.

michkhol: Will Leopard fully support G5-based desktop systems?

Jason: Yes, but you won’t be able to run Boot Camp. Otherwise, Leopard is a fully Universal operating system.

Robert: When my dual core system has Windows installed on it, the default boot always refers to the Windows side of the system. Will a solution to this dilemma be devised to change this so that the default boot is direct into OS X instead?

Jason: Boot Camp installs a new Control Panel, I believe, in Windows that’s the equivalent of the Startup Disk control panel on OS X. You should be able to use that to set your boot default to the right partition. If not, then something is really wrong and I’d call it a bug at least…and hopefully they’ll fix it. Because it’s not supposed to work that way.

bjk: I use a PowerBook G4 for music production but it lacks oomph. I want a killer desktop. Will an iMac suffice or should I go for Mac Pro?

Jason: Depends on how many tracks you’re doing at once. The big deal is, Mac Pro will let you put in super fast drives, and even stripe them, so that you can blast data through your storage pipe. If you need lots o’ tracks, that Mac Pro will make you happy. Also if you want expansion cards. But the iMac would suffice for many tasks. Depends on how much oomph you need.

tbeigner: Do you think there will be a new Finder? One of the TopSecret features?

Rob: I really really really would love to see that. But I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

Jason: I think we’re looking at Finder tweaks at best, but you never know.

f7james: With Boot Camp on the new Mac Pros, will I be able to triple boot with WinXP-64-bit and a 64-bit Linux while seeing all four cores?

Rob: The answer to that is, of course, “I don’t know.” But given that people have managed to get the current Boot Camp to Triple Boot, I think it will happen. And if Linux natively can see all four cores, then it should see all four cores via Boot Camp, since that is a native boot.

bsepenuk: When will Apple introduce a laptop that will Skype with PCs, including video?

Jason: It’s not about Apple, chum. Skype’s working on a version of their software that will talk to PC Skype for video. Skype talks with PCs now, for audio. So Skype’s working on it and we’re not gonna have to wait for Apple to introduce a new laptop to get it.

bud: Why not have iSight cameras built into the new Cinema Displays?

Jason: Hint 1: Apple just reduced prices on their displays. Hint 2: That usually eventually leads to the end of the product line. I would bet that the new displays will have cameras built in.

Rob: BTW, that hidden price drop on the Cinema Displays was a nice non-feature of the keynote.

jfalls709: How Does Time Machine Work?

Jason: It watches the changes you make to your files sort of like Spotlight, it’s paying attention to what you do. Every so often, it copies all the changed files to your backup drive. At the end of the day, it collects all that day’s changes and puts them in a single snapshot on the drive. At that point you can scroll back through the days to find stuff, in the Finder or any other app that’s been written to support Time Machine. Then you just press Restore to pull that old file back to the present.

Rob: You can read our First Look for more details: www.macworld.com/2006/08/firstlooks/leotimemac/index.php

anna: What do you think about Time Machine? Is this really going to help people back up their systems, or will people still be too lazy to buy an external hard drive and keep it connected?

Rob: I hope that it inspires folks to purchase a backup device — what Steve said about the importance of all our personal memories on the machine is very true.

Jason: I think it is going to help, but ideally Apple would build hardware that makes it easier to have external drives as well. I’ve lost personal photos, and it’s not a pleasant experience. Maybe an iMac with a removable drive module or something? Because that dangling external drive is always going to be an issue. Still, I think Time Machine will help. Even if it isn’t going to get everyone to back up.

josie: Do you think that Time Machine spells the end of Backup as part of the .mac tool set? Or do you think that the two can co-exist peacefully?

Jason: I actually think Backup can still exist. What Backup does that Time Machine doesn’t is back things up off site. WAY off site. If you have key files that can’t be lost, esp. in the event of a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, you name it, storing it on a server far away is a good thing. Backup does that. But of course, realistically you can’t back up huge files over the Internet, so Time Machine is better for saving EVERYTHING. But I like Backup for the off-site backup of small files and hope it continues.

Rob: One thing about Time Machine you may want to consider is a fireproof vault, especially if you’re going to be away for an extended time period. Put your FW drive in the safe before you leave. It’s not as good as offsite, but it’s better than nothing if the worst happens.

Stuff: Did you get t-shirts at WWDC, and will yours be appearing on eBay any time soon?

Jason: We did. We got “veni, vedi, codi” shirts. In black.

Rob: Buy it Now price: $1.5mil. I’m keeping mine.

Macworld: Thanks Jason and Rob for your perspective on WWDC! Any last comments, before we have to close?

Jason: Thanks for your questions, everyone. We really appreciate you taking the time to visit with us today. And as always, we’re listening in the Macworld Forums as well, all the time. Well, not when we’re sleeping. Other than that.

Rob: Thanks everyone! And if you get a chance, check out the new Mac Pros if you have concerns about the Intel transition — they’re really impressive machines.

Jason: Oh, and our Mac Pros have finally arrived in our offices. So hooray! Watch for lab data and stuff soon.

Macworld: Thank you for joining us! For more discussion about this year’s WWDC, please visit our News page at www.macworld.com/news

A transcript of this event will be published on Macworld.com in the next few days.

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