Posts in category apple - page 10

Safari for Windows surprises: return of YellowBox?

Whilst Apple’s Safari appearing on Windows isn’t all that surprising given the number of Windows-related patches to WebKit/KHTML they committed back the actual release has a few surprises.

Apple say the reason for Safari on Windows is to give users another slice of Apple pie. I think the real motive is likely to be that they want developers and designers on Windows to test with Safari and therefore improve compatibility for Mac users. Being that before this there wasn’t a single KHTML-based browser for Windows outside the Cygwin environment it’ll achieve just that.

Download

The download weighs in at 7.9MB compared to Firefox’s 5.7MB and Internet Explorer’s 14.8MB (all English-only versions). That 7.9MB isn’t bad considering it also bundles in Apple’s Software Update and Bonjour plug-and-play networking (share bookmarks with other people on your LAN).

Interface

Safari for Windows preferences screenshotThe interface takes a similar route to iTunes on Windows – namely render a Mac-like interface but with the Application menu removed and it’s contents scattered elsewhere (Preferences to Edit, About to Help etc.)

The first noticeable difference is the text is rendered different, it’s font smoothing Mac style. The second is the way modal dialogues slide out of the parent like a sheet.

The real “oh” is in preferences where some of what lies beneath starts to show through.

Where iTunes went with Windows controls against a Mac layout Safari has gone a step further and used Mac OS buttons, check-boxes, radios and the graphical style preferences tabs. The only time you realize you are on Windows is when you go to choose a font or color and are presented with the standard inferior Windows dialogues.

Beneath the surface

Heading into the C:\Program Files\Safari directory shows us the program files and a few surprises namely DLLs that appear to wrap up some of Cocoa’s programming libraries – namely CoreFoundation, CoreGraphics and CFNetwork which all at first glance expose quite possibly APIs for a YellowBox revival.

For those not in the know OpenStep applications (the basis for Apple’s Cocoa programming system) used to run on Windows. In fact Apple’s WebObjects system comprised of a ProjectBuilder programming system that was Cocoa-on-Windows known as YellowBox.

YellowBox died a death because some of it included expensive-to-license components such as the Display PostScript rendering system therefore preventing a free run-time. Now that Apple have wiped that out with their own free Quartz engine…

Language support

Language support is English only at the moment but the standard resource plumbing system used in Mac OS X is there. I wonder if you can just copy the Mac folders to Windows to make other languages available? If not, I’m sure they’ll be in soon.

Free fonts

Apple have included TrueType fonts of the Mac OS X system fonts known as Lucida Grande and Lucida Grande Bold in the C:\Program Files\Safari\Safari.resources folder.

Drag them into your Windows fonts folder and enjoy them everywhere :)

[)amien

More free gems for the Mac

It must be that time again already… here we go!

MagiCal

Everyone needs a calendar to hand. In Windows using the time in system bar seems to be the quickest option although it’s obviously not meant for that and one false click sends you to the future.

Vista and OS X come with widgets to do this but there is something just satisfying about this calendar-in-the-menubar app.

AppDelete

Mac OS X comes with a built-in package installer that won’t uninstall applications. Curiously NextStep had just that but it never came across to OS X with everything else although the installer does still write the receipts (logs).

Perhaps Apple believe dragging the .app to the trash is enough but if you like to also junk the various other files occasionally held in places such as in /Library/Application Support/ then AppDelete is for you.

App Update widget

This cool widget checks Apple, MacUpdate and VersionTracker for new versions of the applications you have installed and lets you download with a couple of clicks.

It’s a little buggy sometimes at recognizing you already have that version especially when the developers use build numbers etc. but the author anticipated this so there is a “yeah that’s the version I have” option to let it know.

kuler color widget

Adobe’s web site exists to help you create sets of 5 matching colors, name them, share them and rate them. It’s the Flickr! of color palettes and comes with a handy widget for OS X.

[)amien

So you believe Apple is more expensive than Dell…

Apple are often accused of being more expensive and that Dell are much cheaper.

The reality is that Dell offers a wider range that includes real low-end products that are often constrained or using older technology. Apple, quite rightly in my opinion, doesn’t compete there.

Okay Apple have some other gaps in their line-up most notably the typical home power-user who doesn’t want a twin processor Mac Pro, needs more configuration options than the Mac Mini and already owns a display so doesn’t want an iMac. A box half the size of the Pro with a single dual/quad core CPU and no supplied peripherals would be perfect.

That aside I was checking out the prices for their new twin 3GHz quad Xeon boxes after some individuals balked at the price. They obviously haven’t seen similar specifications from Dell…

Apple Mac Pro Dell Precision 690
Processor 2xQuad Core Xeon 3GHz 2xQuad Core Xeon 2.66GHz
Memory 4x1GB DDR 667 4x1GB DDR 667
Storage 500GB 7200RPM SATA 500GB 7200RPM SATA
Optical 16x DVD-RW 16x DVD-RW
Input Wired keyboard/mouse Wired keyboard/mouse
OS Mac OS X 10.4 Vista Ultimate 64-bit
Graphics Nvidia Quadro FX4500 512MB Nvidia Quadro FX4500 512MB
Price ex.VAT £3,605.95 £5,890.00
Price inc.VAT £4,436.99 £6,920.75
Graphics Nvidia GeForce 7300GT 256MB Nvidia Quadro FX550 128MB
Price ex.VAT £2,712.34 £4,595.00
Price inc.VAT £3,187.00 £5,399.13

In this scenario the Dell is over 60% more expensive and comes with slower CPU’s.

So much for the “Apple Premium Tax”.

[)amien

Apple’s next enclosure material?

Olivier wonders about Apple’s next enclosure material and that got me pondering. Jobs has already utilized:

  • magnesium (NeXT stations/cubes)
  • titanium (PowerBook)
  • aluminum alloy (MacBook)
  • polycarbonate (iMac, iPod, iBook)

The current Intel machines reused the existing PowerPC enclosure designs – at least superficially – for the iMac, MacBook Pro and Mac Pro machines. Only the MacBook got to knock the older iBook design away.

What material could be next?

Carbon fiber has already been partially used by the likes of Acer and Sony on laptops. Whilst it might be light and strong it is brittle and the thermal conductivity is opposite to what you’re looking for in a laptop.

Jobs also loves metal enclosures at least at the high-end of the market where the price can cover the cost – although apparently not enough to absorb commercial-grade titanium any more hence the PowerBook switch to aluminum.

There are plenty of metals and alloys out there but besides cost they need to be tooled into the designs Apple want, finished to a high standard that won’t corrode or easily mark, strong and inflexible, lightweight and ideally possess good thermal conductivity.

Beryllium?

MacBook Pro berylliumBeryllium is cheaper than titanium and has all the important characteristics described above plus a few extra bonuses that make it a primary candidate:

  • easily x-ray’ed through (think laptops at airports)
  • tarnish resistant to high skin acidity (a problem with existing painted aluminum enclosures)
  • available in a variety of colors (why not have a selection… the iMac, iBook and iPod Nano have)

Bear in mind that most of Apple’s equipment (and indeed the majority of the worlds laptops) are manufactured at only a handful of companies out in the far east (Quanta, Compal, Foxconn) they would need to be heavily involved in the process.

But then pushing for breakaway designs that require advanced tooling and alternative manufacturing approaches is one of Job’s passions and what keeps Apple’s hardware looking that one step ahead.

Update

There are two potential problems with beryllium.

  1. in gas or dust forms it is dangerous to humans (as a gas this is Berlyium Oxide BeO …. spookly almost BeOS ;-)
  2. it reacts with lithium – as used in the current Lithium Ion batteries

Given that Apple use batteries by Sony and there are a couple of stories about the laptops catching fire this could be a problem – especially given that your laptop catching fire is bad enough when it isn’t violently reacting with the battery and producing carcinogenic gases.

[)amien