Apple beats Microsoft in releasing Windows 8
September 16th, 2011
Daniel Eran Dilger
Microsoft is still a year (and ahem) away from bringing Windows 8 and its new Metro UI to market, but Apple has already beaten the company in releasing a hardware accelerated, animated web browser. It’s called Safari 5.
..I have to say, watching Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott go gaga over a Core i3 notebook computer smoothly animating tiles on the screen is just too much. If you’re in awe of Microsoft’s ability to demonstrate smoothly animated graphics on a Intel computer with enough horsepower to need a fan, you should walk to an Apple Store and launch Safari.
Or don’t even launch Safari. Just flick the touchpad with four fingers and wet your pants as Mac OS X Lion smoothy animates between the main desktop, Dashboard, and any open virtual desktops you have. HARDWARE ACCELERATED GRAPHICS!!! It’s like 2002 is already here! GPU accelerated Quartz Extreme first shipped in Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar, folks.
This isn’t brilliant futuristic technology stuff, it’s pretty basic GPU accelerated OpenGL made easy to implement by Apple via LayerKit and Core Animation. It’s been used on the iPhone since it appeared in 2007. It was new and pretty impressive back then. It’s not going to be new next year, or whenever Windows 8 ships with Metro, Microsoft’s own animated browser for web apps.
Heck, even Palm shipped Metro back in 2009 under the name webOS. Why is Microsoft getting credit for being the last company on earth to ship mainstream technology?
Do you hate freedum and love terrorists?!
Gizmodo’s Mat Honan wrote one of the blog’s definitively childish screeds yesterday, whining that “if you already hate Windows 8, then you hate technology,” brilliantly penning “I hate the term fanboy. It’s a pejorative meant to denigrate someone’s opinion” just before referring to anyone being critical of Windows 8 as being part of the “Apple Taliban.”
Just for the record, I don’t “hate” Windows 8, I’m just not impressed to see Microsoft being hailed as “futuristic” for demonstrating early betas still a year away from fruition of its copy of work Apple pioneered several years ago.
Microsoft has distracted its vaporware demo audiences with the assurance that “Tiles” are some supersonic space age post-icon concept, when really they are just animated app icons with a lot going on inside. But Metro Tiles don’t represent new technology; they’re just an example of adding flash to something that doesn’t need it.
Apple has also avoided implementing Google’s similar flash-distraction home page widgets in Android, not because it can’t master the fine art and science of packing dynamic, animated content into the context of its app launcher, but because it thinks such widgets are not a good use of processing power and battery life.
Shame on the idiots who hate on Apple ideas until they’re copied by others 3-5 years later
When I see my Android friends around me run out of battery, I agree with Apple that my ability to keep launching apps and checking messages and watching video are all better uses of my battery than having a constantly animating display of the weather on my home screen. And a year from now, I don’t think I’ll miss having my Facebook icon not be a two inch square animating some random content as Metro promises to afford.
That’s distraction. The real technology behind the scenes, which Apple uses to functionally animate transitions to guide navigation and make iOS (and Mac OS X) feel responsive and look cool, is that OpenGL foundation Apple began laying in 2001 with Mac OS X, where everything on the screen was mapped to a surface just like the background walls of a third person shooter. It was new then, not in 2007 when Microsoft brought the same concept to the PC with Windows Vista.
And making it even easier, nearly automatic, for developers to avail themselves of this video game-style animation within their own apps via LayerKit on iOS and Core Animation in Mac OS X was new and cool in 2007 when Apple first began showing it off, not in 2010 when hardware-accelerated graphics made it to the stillborn Android 3.0 Honeycomb, or sometime next year when Microsoft releases Windows 8 with additional UI animations of its own.
Why are the people in awe of Microsoft and Google so profoundly unaware of all this?