Leopard Spotting Piques Developers Interest

Developers hail the news about the Time Machine feature of the Leopard version of Mac OS X along with the details of new Mac Pros and Xserves at the World Wide Developers Conference.

SAN FRANCISCO—The new Leopard version of Mac OS X with its Time Machine feature, along with the briefly mentioned Xcode 3 application development environment, held attendees attention Aug. 7 at Apple Computers keynote speech at this years Worldwide Developers Conference.

The features and prices of the new Mac Pros and Xserves also impressed many of the Apple aficionados at the annual conference.

William Hatch, a developer at Cornell Universitys Macaulay Library, the worlds largest archive of animal sounds and video, said he was "very pleased, very impressed" with what he saw at the keynote.

Speaking of Leopards automatic backup and versioning feature, Hatch said that "Time Machine is a better implementation of the restore feature in Windows—its more usable to the average person, and thats great."

He added that he was looking forward to seeing more information about core technologies that would be discussed in developer-only, NDA-protected conference sessions.

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"We rely on Macs," Hatch said of the Macaulay Library. He said they use a full range of Apple technology in both production and archiving, from QuickTime and Final Cut Pro to Web Objects and Xserves to maintain over 40TB of data.


He said some of the features of the new model of Xserve would help with that servers market penetration.

"The dual power supply will take care of one of the most common objection to putting Apple servers in data centers," he said.

Hatch added that he thought the prices for the newly announced Xserve and Mac Pro—$2999 and $2499 for base configurations— were "spectacular."

Some developers said they were more focused on features for building new applications and features.

"It was mostly end-user stuff," Paul Heal, the manager of Quarks Quark Research Labs, noted about the 10 top features Jobs outlined for Leopard, the next version of Mac OS X.


However, he said, he was "excited" about the Core Animation feature, which, Jobs said, would allow developers to produce interactive, animated interfaces for applications.

Though he declined to speculate how this could be integrated into the professional publishing application Quark produces, he said it could change how users work with computers.

Heal said that he was heartened to hear that Leopard would offer complete 64-bit application support and allow 32-bit and 64-bit applications to run side by side.

Most important, Heal said, would be what he would learn about Xcode 3, the new version of Apples application development environment.

Though Jobs mentioned Xcode 3 in his keynote, he did not offer any details. Heal said he wanted the new version to be "faster, better, easier."

Also impressed with the pricing of the new hardware was Wil Shipley, CEO of Delicious Monster, a company that makes the Delicious Library cataloging application. "Im jaw-droppingly agape," he said.

Shipley said he was happy with the comparisons Jobs made during the keynote between Apples new products and similarly configured models from Dell, which all appeared to have significantly higher price tags.

Shipley, who reboots his iMac into Windows using Apples Boot Camp feature in order to run Windows games, said that the Mac Pro with dual Xeons and a top-end graphics card would be "the" gaming rig.

He added that he was "really impressed" with how many features Apple was able to produce for Leopard, even as they had to assign resources to build versions for both the new Intel-based and the old PowerPC-based Macs.

"Im most excited about Time Machine," Shipley said. "Its all there, its something people can use."

He noted that similar functionalities could be pieced together from a variety of Unix and other tools, but that few people would have the ability to do so.

He also said that Time Machine was not simply an automatic backup tool, but a version control tool, too.

It will allow, he said, professional and home users alike to be able to recall old versions of documents, photos, projects and even states of the operating system, all while protecting data.

"This solves a problem 100 percent of people have," Shipley said.

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