back to article Apple's big week: the good, the bad, the ugly

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference saw its fair share of big-ticket news items during the last five days. There was the iPhone 3G S, the revelation of details about Apple's parallel OSes, Snow Leopard and iPhone 3.0, and the roll-out of the latest MacBook Pros. However, there were plenty of other details you might have …


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  2. David Kelly 2

    No FLASH is good

    FLASH is eye-candy and interferes with effective communication.

    As for interpreted code, I used to argue with our D.I.S. rep when I claimed that I could not distinguish between code and data on our systems. My claim was that a .doc file consisted of interpreted instructions in Microsoft Word language that when executed the result resembled a document on the screen or perhaps on a printer. Never mind that we didn't have .doc files it didn't matter if a file was intended to be read by a FORTRAN program, or if it was a FORTRAN program. I claimed the contents of the file defined the contents of memory locations and the contents of those memory locations determined what the program did next.

  3. Mathew White
    Black Helicopters

    The secrecy...

    ... is because apple usually puts the videos of the WWDC sessions on ADC for about a $1000...

    go figure

  4. Ian Davies

    Flash *IS* Bad

    What you, and every other donkey who's short-stroking it over the lack of Flash on the iPhone seems to forget, is that Adobe can't even get Flash to run properly on a fucking MAC let alone the iPhone. I have a 2GHz dual core G5 PowerMac and 2.6GHz dual core MacBook Pro and they both run Flash like geriatric shite. The MacBook Pro fares slightly better, presumably due to whatever scant Intel optimisations that have made it over from the Windows version, but if I boot the MacBook Pro into Windows XP I get almost double the frame rate on the same hardware.

    The best thing I ever did was disabling Flash in Safari; I got a responsive browser back.

    If a 2.6GHz dual core struggles with Flash, what hope has even the latest 600MHz processor in the new iPhone? People should try thinking about this and *understanding* it before they start demanding Flash on the iPhone as though it's simply Apple's petulance that's keeping it from appearing.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Kelly 2

    "FLASH is eye-candy" - bit rich, this is the biggest eye candy phone on the planet.

  6. Individual #6/42
    Jobs Horns


    Why unlock your Iphone and then move to Verizon?. Surely the point would be to unlock it so you could use it on the network you choose? OK you lose visual voicemail but that's really not been proven to be any sort of killer app.

    However with my T-mobile sim only £15/month contract I've got unlimited data and tethering via bluetooth. Why on earth would I want to spend an extra £35/month for two years for a locked phone and unlimited Wifi?

  7. Brian Whittle
    Jobs Halo


    Jobs for once is totally correct, flash is too slow to run decently on these devices. They can't make it run anything like on in a MAC making it run without killing the phone must be too much for the duffers at Adobe

  8. snafu
    Thumb Down

    No OpenCL for most ATI-based Macs

    Add to the ugly the fact that Apple's OpenCL implementation supports lots of nVidia GPUs but just two recent ATI models, so most "best" Mac configurations are unsupported, including many of the towers. First gen Mac Pros have no officially supported upgrade paths (there is some ATI card which has 32/64bit EFI support and has been tested to run well on these). Several one year or less Mac models are out of the equation, too. There's been no clarification about the possibility of more drivers becoming available later or this being it.

    The same goes for hardware-accelerated h.264 decoding: nVidia-only.

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    It's all about the money stupid

    Rik, there is no business case for maintaining PPC support for Apple. Since they adopted Intel chips and have been able to sell gear at prices comparable to industry PC's they have sold loads of them to *new* users (I'm one of them). It's true that 3.5 years is a less than the mean length of ownership for Mac users but this was the case for Leopard as well - didn't that drop G4 support? As for the new features - they are largely architecture specific and while it would be possible to provide GCD for PPC, why bother for the couple of percent of installs? Processing and RAM hungry customers probably already run Xeon machines. Plus, think of the software writers - despite the blurb X-Code won't spit out cross-platform optimised code. So Adobe, etc. will only be targetting x86. And what MS marketing bonanza? Apple outshines Microsoft on all the shiny new Intel features - you have to buy the 64-bit version of Windows and the software to run on it specially if you want it and as for OpenCL, go jump.

    With OS X for ARM on the iPhone (and the possibility of other ARM devices) Apple has two different architectures to support and I imagine supporting the next generation ARM cores will take a bit of work.

    As for the deal with AT&T my guess is that the income sharing has worked well enough for Apple so far: Apple prefers exclusive contracts. Given the size of US networks any HSPA deployment is going to take a while but the majority of the customers will be happy with reasonable city, motorway and airport coverage. Verizon won't make sense until they have a large LTE base and that is going to take longer than AT&T's upgrade. Once data tarriffs reach European levels profit-sharing won't make sense and Apple go back to selling directly to the customer.

    It makes me sick that I have defend Apple from a Fanboi's criticism. Yes, it wasn't the best WWDC but it didn't need to be.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll take Apple's proper fully-powered Firewire ports

    over the nigh-on useless 4-pin 1394-labelled ports most other laptop vendors provide any day. That would be the same vendors that don't have anything even vaguely resembling Target Disk Mode and are thus unable to transfer large amounts of data from one computer to another as quickly and easily.

  11. jon 13
    Jobs Halo

    Oh too ...

    They should sack off O2 as well, worst network by far. For people who are thinking of buying an iPhone now, wayyy past the initial launch, mystery and neophilism things like what the service is like matter more. They should butter up Vodaphone again, who are at least reliable.

  12. Si 1
    Thumb Down

    Let's not forget O2 embarrassed themselves too...

    ...with their ridiculous pricing for the 3G S, their overpriced, under-bandwidthed tethering scheme and their lack of an affordable upgrade scheme for current iPhone contract holders.

  13. Eddy Ito

    Verizon, @&T

    Same attitude, marginally different service, both overpriced. I just wish I could find an oct-band poly-protocol unlocked multi-sim phone that didn't suck the batteries dry in an hour for those trips to Shanghai, France, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Taipei, Johor... well, you get the picture.

    Hey Apple, can you make one of those? Some speech recognition translation software would be nice too. Yeah, right back at ya'.

  14. davebarnes

    Why is Intel-only Snow Leopard

    "a marketing bonanza for Redmond" ?

    Leopard is "good enough".

    By the time people with PPC machines feel compelled to upgrade to Snow Leopard, their machines will be at least 4 years old. Time to buy a new one.

    PowerMac G5 last sold in August 2006.

    iBook G4 last sold in May 2006.

    PowerBook G4 last sold in Aprill 2006.

    Mac Mini G4 last sold in February 2006.

  15. gjw
    Jobs Horns

    Big Phone

    is the boyfriend gone to seed, the one you don't want to be seen with at a party, the one who doesn't care about what others think, the one who abuses old friends.

    Same goes for Apple, really.

  16. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Who cares? the iPhone is available worldwide. Sure the US is their most important market, but it doesn't affect us here in the UK.

    Why no mention of Tomtom? the announcement of Tomtom sent their shares soaring by 17%.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Providers

    Are sitting happy not doing much and milking that cash cow. That disease is now pretty prevalent in the tech industry and Apple is the only one to shine a light on these cockroaches with their ambition for innovation.

  18. Justin Clements

    Snow Leopard and the 3 year thing

    Its not great that Apple are dropping PPC support from Snow Leopard, but lets face it - Windows 7 won't be running on a 3 or 4 year old PC either. In fact, has a Windows release ever supported anything but the very latest PC?

    So whilst its a raw deal for G5 owners, its not just Apple that do this.

  19. Jimbo 7
    Thumb Down

    kinda bad

    I expected a bit more from new iPhone... if I ignore software ver3 which will work on 3G, you really don't get much in 3GS (faster processor, more memory, compass ?? wtf, voice control which could be part of 3G with new headset, video recording which should be part of firmware for 3G)

    I'm very sorry to say that but Apple is NOT driving innovation in smartphones this year, here is what they could include but didn't

    1. OLED display

    2. good battery life (talk time did not change a bit)

    3. camera flash

    4. good quality camera (i am not talking about 3MP but seriously quality like new NOKIA phones)

    5. solar charging

    6. connect-less charging (PRE style)


    8. microSD (i really did not expect this from Apple)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LTE - don't link iPhone to an operator (if you can)

    Since AT&T & Verizon will both be moving to LTE, can Apple work deals with both? Better yet, allow any LTE device to work with any LTE network. Devices should be independent of mobile phone companies. Fancy phones should not anchor you to a phone company. i use AT&T now. When my contract expires I'll get an iPhone - maybe through Verizon. Bottom line, Apple sever your ties with AT&T and Verizon and push for network independence.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Get Rid of O2

    The biggest mistake that Apple made with the iPhone in the UK is giving the reseller rights to O2. I would have bought one if it had been available on 3 or T Mobile. What is the point of a device that is made for Internet, music and video and then giving the contract to a network that has such ridiculous terms and conditions. For example, there is a limited unlimited data allowance that amounts to about 200Mb per month on PAYG and an excessive use policy that allows them to cancel the service if they think you are going over it. Streaming is not allowed! Tethering is not allowed unless you are on contract and pay more! This kills it completely for me and I know a lot of other people who feel the same way and won't buy one because of it.

    Compare that with 3 or T-Mobile. You pay a certain sum per month and you get your data with no restrictions. For example 3 Gb mobile broadband on 3 PAYG is £15, 7Gb is £25. No restrictions on tethering or streaming. Why can't O2 do this?

    I hope Apple does something about this because they have lost a LOT OF SALES in the UK because of it.

  22. John Curry

    @ AC 13/06/09 20:37

    O2's terms are no different to 3's. Whatsoever. There are restrictions on tethering built into the terms and conditions, and they're enforcing them.

    On 3, I have a £20 a month plan, with unlimited texts and 1gb of internet usage. I can't use it for tethering though (I've done it twice, and now they've blocked it - some kind of packet inspection presumably).

    If I want to turn that 1gb into tether friendly bandwidth, I have to pay an extra tenner a month. That'll get me 1gb of tethering data, on top of my 1gb of phone-only data.

    Silly, but there you go. £15 for 3gb of iPhone tethering is a pretty good deal I think.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    I think we are talking at cross purposes

    I think you have misunderstood what I am referring to. If you check out 3's MOBILE BROADBAND ADD-ON ,( not the "Internet Add On", this is restricted to mobile use only), you will find that you can get 1Gb PAYG using either a dongle or a mobile phone as a modem for £10, 3 Gb for £15 and 7 Gb for £25. You can also get 15 Gb for £15 on Contract. There are no restrictions on tethering on this. It is designed for BROADBAND use. I am writing this using a Netbook tethered to a SE W595 mobile using this service and have been using it for about 6 months. You may need to change your contract.

    Now back to my original point; Why can't O2 do this? An iPhone is designed for streaming, downloading etc. O2's terms and conditions cripple it. Giving the reseller rights to them is in my opinion, insanity.

  24. Stuart Duel

    on PPC

    The beauty of owning Macs is their longevity. BTW, Leopard only dropped support for all G3 and G4 processors below about 900MHz. Prior to that, it was any PPC processor lower than 500MHz that was dropped.

    Leopard runs beautifully on 1.33GHz G4 Powerbook and is a screams on a Quicksilver PM with upgraded dual 1.7GHz G4s, SATA and graphics. So you can't tell me that Snow Leopard is SO radically different that they couldn't optimise the PPC code further to give us at least one more OS upgrade for owners of systems with 1GHz+?? Some features wouldn't be supported, but some would and everything else updated and optimised.

    Besides, I thought Apple were telling us how Green they are?

  25. Dave 142

    all bad

    All mobile phone companies are as bad as each other. Vodafone seem to be permanently performing maintenance on their website, 3 will call you up and pretend to be your current provider offering an upgrade to trick you into switching to them and they're all just out to rip you off any chance they get.

  26. Colin Ritchie
    Paris Hilton

    Evolution in a Recession.

    Why waste shock and awe on a broke public in a free fall downturn?

    Steve Jobs could spend the next year dead for tax reasons, then arrive miraculously reincarnated to sweep the fanbois and grrrrls into ecstasy with all singing all dancing toys.

    So why do it now when they're all watching their hard earned turn to crap?

    Apple have addressed some of their largest critical issues and left what wasn't broken alone.

    Only the piss poor AT&T situation remains and I assume even Apple got stiffed with a longer contract than they should have settled for. Human after all then.....

    Having upgraded my Macs every 3 years on average it comes as no shock that my trusty G5 iMac will not be changing it's spots along with it's Mac Pro replacement.

    I'm not in awe of laptops how ever long their batteries last or how cheap (read less expensive) they get.

    So even this rabid Windows dodger can happily let Apple get on with hyping the not very different to last month's offerings and patiently wait for Snow Leopard to be bugfixed.

    After all it's what they do best.

    Why Paris? She takes up valuable column inches too without having to do anything different either. It's only who's column it is that varies.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    on PPC

    The best Mac's are the one you made yourself. The ones you can upgrade without a mortgage.

    viva la Hack

  28. kpbpsw

    No Flash Please

    I only hope that Apple and everyone else do not put flash on their mobile phone and that it quickly stops being used on the web! NOthing good comes from using flash other than badly designed sites. Fortunately with you are now able to embed video on a site and do motion graphics without using Flash so it should go away now please.

    Adobe has turned into the most evil of companies (and yes I love much of their software like photoshop) but their biz practices and pricing are draconian.

    Flash should be avoided when ever possible.

  29. Joe Cooper
    Gates Halo

    Windows 7

    "Windows 7 won't be running on a 3 or 4 year old PC either"

    I'm running that W7 Ultimate RC on a bottom of the barrel, old-gen Sempron and integrated graphics.

    It runs _fantastically_.

  30. Martin Edwards
    Dead Vulture

    PowerPC support

    Isn't dropping PowerPC processor support a large part of the point of Snow Leopard? Cleaning up the code for the future and contributing to the 6GB reduction in required disk space? I'm sure when Snow Leopard was first talked about a year ago, the lack of PPC support was a _feature_. A selling point almost.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    @PowerPC support

    Martin, you are of course entirely correct. Those that assumed that Snow Leopard would be supported on PPC processors were optimistic and misguided at best. Its been over 4 years since the Intel announcement and 3 years since the last PPC based mac was sold by the time Snow Leopard is available. Apple drop support for certain processors with *every* new release. It was exactly the same with Apple's transition from 68k to PPC.

    As for the "I thought Apple were telling us how Green they are?" Don't you know that if you buy an new Mac from an Apple store, they take your old PC *whatever the brand* and recycle it *for free*. That's green. Do you know of any other PC manufacturer that does this? retiring old machines and trying to encourage you to buy newer green machines is a fairly green move too.

    It' nice to see no-one complain about the pricing. Those that have asked why Tiger users cannot 'benefit' from the low upgrade costs have obviously sat down and thought about it.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's notable that no one else (Android, Palm Pre, Nokia N-series, RIM) have Flash - not FlashLite - either.

    As some of the commenters have suggested, Flash performance on the Mac is not-all-that (I noticed my predicted battery life was 1 hr less than normal, and tracked it down to my girlfriend having Yahoo Mail open in her session . . sucking CPU).

    Benchmarking suggests Flash on Linux is comparable with the OS X version rather than Windows.

    That either suggests there's a fundamental problem with Unix derived systems (despite hugely different graphics pipelines) OR Adobe haven't put enough money into hiring staff with the relevant skills.

    Which isn't to say that Apple, Google, etc, couldn't help them, but WebKit gives them similar results without Adobe's control - and I suspect Adobe didn't figure things would move so fast.

    As to whether they're that worried, that's another question - people need to step back and realise that Flash is a cost to Adobe - the money is in the tools - and that people will still want tools for motion graphics, photo editing, web design, RIA builders, etc.

  33. Colin MacLean

    PPC moaners

    As has been stated, it's clear that the whole point of Snow Leopard is to optimise the OS for Intel Macs.

    I don't see the problem with sticking to 10.5 on PPC Macs. It's not like your computer is going to stop working the day 10.6 is released...

  34. sleepy

    Apple actually knows better than the average punter or journo

    No Adobe Flash on iPhone for me thanks - ever. Cripples performance, flattens batteries, eats bandwidth, makes web pages annoying, and guarantees an uninformative, unsearchable, unresponsive corporate or product web site. Locks Apple into Adobe dependency. Long live HTML5.

    No camera flash on iPhone either, thanks - built in flash almost ensures a bad picture - I leave it disabled on all my cameras. Engage brain instead when taking photos.

    No 8 megapixel camera either thanks - does not produce superior pictures and inserts extra delays into every picture operation. For camera phones, think Lomo.


    Snow Leopard is AFAIK the first time Apple haven't supported all Macs bought new in the past five years with an OS update. But it's not a feature release, it's still called Leopard, and the price is $29. Better than holding back the Intel Macs for 2 more years.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To all the non-programmers

    Having Snow Leopard support PowerPC does not hold back an Intel release. A modern operating system consists of mostly architecture independent code - this is true even of Windows, which has been ported to at least Alpha, PowerPC and (allegedly) UltraSPARC. As most of Apples changes between releases are provided by higher level systems than the kernel, the impact of supporting more than one architecture is even less. There are also benefits of keeping the code portable. This means endianness and 64bit issues don't go unnoticed, and switches of primary architecture (as happened with the switch from PPC to x86) are realistically possible. The switch to x86 was only possible because OpenStep (which OSX is a re-branding of) was ported to a number of architectures.

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