Bingo Blues

The squares are a harsh mistress.

At the risk of making it appear as if this blog has been traveling at relativistic velocities with respect to from your inertial frame of reference, I’d now like to do a postmortem analysis of WWDC 2007’s keynote bingo.

Going into this year’s WWDC keynote, some people though the board was “too easy,” too likely to produce a win. I have to admit that I was starting to agree with them on the eve of the keynote. In the end, however, it was as sparsely marked as ever. But was there a win? To the squares!

My traditional “ZFS Mentioned” square went unmarked yet again. I’ll bet that square looked pretty timid, pre-keynote, among rumors of ZFS as the new default file system, but it looks like my instincts were right. There’s more to the Mac OS X file system saga than that unmarked square seems to indicate, but that’s for another post.

Bertrand was entirely absent from the keynote. That one was a sucker’s bet; Bertrand is the Mac OS X State of the Union guy, not the keynote guy, and 2007 was not his break-out year.

New look in Leopard…sure, I guess. Not much of a new look, eh? The gray window “body color” seems a bit too dark, but I’ll see if it grows on me. Either way, the look is certainly not as radical or inspiring as I’d hoped it would be. In other words, not illuminous.

The new look for the Dock is pretty dubious as well. I lose how many pixels of vertical and horizontal space for a pseudo-3D conceit? And don’t even get me started on the freaking transparent menu bar. It’s like there’s some quota for Obviously Boneheaded Ideas in each Mac OS X release. Here’s hoping that this one doesn’t make it to production. Blah.

Overall, the "top secret" features were pretty lame. No virtualization of any kind, no Windows integration beyond good old Boot Camp, no iPhone-inspired multi-touch mix-ins, and certainly no <insert amazing thing that no one thought of>. In related non-news, .Mac lurches on, although changes are surely afoot. (Right?) Ditto for iLife. And hey, anyone remember iWork? Any time now, no hurry.

The hardware announcement drought continues at the big keynotes: MacBook Thin, new non-Mac Pro desktop Mac, new displays with cameras: nope, nope, nope. Enough with the iPhone. Let’s make with the Mac, okay Steve?

And speaking of everyone’s favorite $600 worry stone, it was (blessedly) given little time in the presentation. No SDK (no surprise), but also not even a Leopard/iPhone integration demo. Just that weird part at the end about, er, “developing for the iPhone”…or something.

And now we come to the keystone square: iPhone Widgets. The description for that square was:

The announcement of any WebKit-based iPhone development environment open to third-party developers (even if the resulting applications are not called “widgets”).

Is the web an “iPhone development environment”? Is it really? Now I know this square was the last one needed for a diagonal win, but I just can’t bring myself to mark it. Although the letter of the description could be interpreted favorably, I can assure you that the spirit of that square was far from the snarky, insulting “just write a web app” reality.

And so, for the third outing in a row, I must again declare: no bingo.

This article originally appeared at Ars Technica. It is reproduced here with permission.