Putting Metal where it belongs

So the rumor sites are abuzz, of course, on this the most important day of the Apple calendar year (at least in terms of interesting announcements). Steve’s WWDC keynote (apparently leaked here) has generally contained far more substantive information than all the other major announcements of the year, and this year is — I can safely say — going to be no exception.

One thing everyone can agree on is that the Metal interface (first seen in iTunes and QuickTime way back when), much derided by Mac users and much imitated elsewhere (just to prove that Microsoft is not alone in not getting it) is finally being taken to a room with plastic on the floor. Let’s hope that everyone is right, unlike back when everyone was sure there’d be a new, improved Finder in 10.3, and then again in 10.4.

The German leak certainly looks very plausible, or it may simply be a very well done hoax (having a bunch of crap about new Apple Stores at the beginning is a nice touch, but one thing that’s starkly missing is hard numbers — Jobs loves to quote simple, big numbers such as 2.5 billion songs sold through iTunes or, say, 500,000 iPhones sold to Fortune 500 companies by AT&T before the launch or whatever). I guarantee a few choice numbers will be stated in the keynote and there are none in the leak (e.g. iMac Core 2 Duos sold). Still, the leak may be completely accurate, it’s certainly extremely plausible, in which case someone is going to get fired.

So, assuming that the leak is true, iWork will be integrated with Google Documents via .mac, as will the iPhone. This is a no-brainer, since it leverages Safari (in the iPhone) to provide Word and Excel integration (which makes it more than competitive with the atrocious mini-Office-apps on “Smart” phones) and also makes iWork and .mac and Google documents suddenly a lot more compelling. The real question is whether this points to Apple becoming as intextricably tied to Google as it currently and foreseeably is to Microsoft. Perhaps neither of these is such a bad thing. Also, er, where do the ads fit in?

It’s worth noting that, assuming Safari on the iPhone really works (which I think is safe to assume) Apple was getting all the functionality of Google documents for free anyway. BTW here’s a clue for all the people — I was going to say “retards” but there are some very bright people in the group — screaming for an iPhone SDK: you have one, it’s called a web server. Someone even pointed to a WWDC session about designing websites for the iPhone and interpreted this as “the iPhone’s web browser doesn’t really work properly”. Duh, no. The iPhone isn’t 1280×1024, so you need to design for that. Also, presumably, you’ll be able to detect the iPhone, target it with CSS, and do a bunch of other things (like hint article flows) to optimize your site to work seamlessly on an iPhone. This is not the same as saying Safari can’t browse real web pages.

The really bold item in the leak is iPhone@home since it hasn’t been rumored anywhere (beyond stuff like MacBook Thin), is very specific, and makes a lot of sense. Here’s the nutshell version — why bother with a network carrier if you don’t have to? In some cities, it will completely obviate the need for a phone at all… Assuming the leak is accurate.

Anyway, writing this has chewed up 15 minutes of the interminable wait for the keynote to begin.