Some pretty neat stuff came out of WWDC 2006’s Stevenote today. I didn’t get what I wanted to see (Merom-based MacBook Pros), but the announcements today made for a good show.
Apple’s new workstation is a powerful machine. It contains two dual-core Xeon 5100 processors (a.k.a Woodcrest) in speeds of 2.0 GHz, 2.66 GHz, and (finally) 3.0 GHz with a 1.33 GHz frontside bus. It ships with 1 GB of memory, expandable to 16 GB, and 250 GB of internal storage, expandable to 2 TB. We have an NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT PCI Express graphics card with many upgrade options, and the the option to have dual optical drives.
On the education store, I was able to strip one down to $1,962 USD (not including a display). On the other end of the spectrum, if you go for all the bells and whistles, you’ll be out over $11,000 UDS (still not including a display). From what I hear, the pre-configured $2,499 model is pretty competitive, but it is definitely out of my price range!
Along with the Mac Pro comes a Xeon-based XServe, making for a speedy update to Apple’s server solutions.
The Steve also had a sneak-peek at Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard on display. Many of the features demoed were far from Earth-shattering, but they do go towards making the Mac experience more fun for us veterans and more familiar to Windows converts. The updates to Mail, Dashboard, iCal, and iChat are evoutionary enhancements (except I think the backdrop thing in iChat is pretty cheesy).
The exciting stuff here is in Apple’s implementation of virtual desktops, known as Spaces. I really didn’t think this feature would be included. Sure, there are a few third-party solutions for virtual desktops, but, by and large, I doubt many people know what these are. Time Machine brings a much-needed backup utility to Mac OS X with the usual Apple flair, and Core Animation will make it a bit easier for developers to add some eye candy to their apps.
I can’t say I’m excited about Leopard yet, but this was just a limited preview. In the future I’m sure we’ll see resolution independence as well as a refined interface along with some features that aren’t being talked about yet. Still, the Intel transition is complete. Leopard is progressing toward a Spring 2007 launch, and Apple is continuing to make being a Mac user an exciting experience.