Apple’s WWDC webcast is worth watching

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I watched Steve Jobs’ keynote at the Apple WWDC today. You can watch an archived webcast of the keynote here or follow the discussion on Techmeme.

I took away two things from the keynote:

First, the new Mac Pro desktops with two dual core Intel Xeon processors has rekindled my interest in a desktop system. I can see myself running OS X and Vista on this system. As you might imagine, price does get a little high as the system is equipped with a dual head graphics card, enough memory to make the system interesting, and a matching 30-inch monitor. But I can dream.

Second, I like the shape of several of the forthcoming Leopard features. Michael Gartenberg has a great roundup of the Leopard offerings here. Of the dozen or so Leopard features presented in the keynote, my favorites were Time Machine, a clever that makes backup almost look fun rather than an IT chore, and the new efforts into iChat. Namely I really liked the direction Apple is going with the video streams in iChat, where you can modify the video stream in real-time or even replace the background behind you with an image or video stream. They also showed the integrated ability to share a slide show presentation, images, or video. I’m not sure if the shared content was implemented using screencapture techniques or something more sophisticated, however, if I can build a whiteboarding application or something similar and integrate it into iChat, they would have something here. From the quick overview we got, it really outshines many other IM/Communication clients. The big downside for me is that it looks like a client will only be available on the Leopard desktop and I just don’t know very many people I can have live video chats with. However, I see great potential here.

I look forward to installing Leopard when it comes out, which Apple is suggesting with be in Spring 2007.

This should be quite interesting because Microsoft has indicated that they are shooting for a January 2007 release of Vista, although Microsoft has left the door open to adjusting the Vista launch date if necessary.

After hearing Apple’s launch date plans with Leopard, I hope that if Microsoft does decide to delay Vista’s release that it does not pick a date too near Leopard’s launch. Why? Because if these two major OS releases are launched within a month or so of each other I bet we’d see a huge stall in consumer purchases while people wait to see how the dust settles. This could get particularly unfortunate if either or both products decide to sync with new product offerings from Intel. If all three companies were to release major products at the same time, the market could see a perfect storm of buzz and little commerce until it’s all over.