Thoughts on the WWDC keynote and the new features in Leopard

Well, no new MacBook Pro announcements at the keynote :( Oh well, I really don't mind getting one of the new Core Duos -- Merom would've been great but is definitely not a deal-breaker. Some of the Leopard features that were mentioned sound very interesting.

One thing that caught my eye was the vastly improved accessibility features. The transcript at MacRumors mentioned, for example, that the voiceovers sound completely human.

The improvements to the widget development process with Web Clip sound fun too.

I'm not sure if I'll be using Mail when I switch (I'll probably stay on with Thunderbird) so I wasn't too interested in the eye candy they previewed for that.

Time Machine definitely has privacy concerns (which I don't believe were addressed at all during the keynote) but I can definitely see the advantage of having automatic backup built into the system.

Some of the new features have me wondering if Apple is starting to move into new areas of competition with Adobe. For example, Dashcode is being billed as "a great visual editor for HTML and CSS." Further: "We also ship with a rich parts library with search buttons and a JavaScript source editor and a full Javascript debugger."

In a similar vein, there's Core Animation:

Core animation lets you dramatically increase the production values of your application. Lets you take a scene and decostruct it into layers. Text, images, video, OpenGL. You specify a start state, goal state and key frames optionally. Core Animation will automate the whole animation.

Is Apple jumping on to the RIA bandwagon to challenge the likes of Flex and the Microsoft's will-be-ready-any-year-now WPF and WPF/e?

The improvements to iChat were interesting and left me wondering how (and if) it would affect Adobe Breeze. I couldn't believe that Apple included the green screen-without-a-green screen feature in it though as it doesn't look good at all. There's a very visible fringe around the person. I wouldn't have expected that from such a shiny, design-conscious company. That must be giving Steve Jobs headaches at night.

You can find a comprehensive blog post on the WWDC '06 keynote, with pictures, on Engadget.

[Update] You can get a sneak peek at Leopard on Apple's web site.