Putting Leopard In The Broadband

The Steve Jobs Show at WWDC’06 is finally over. All the name calling, new gear and fancy stuff aside, the big takeaway is that Mac OS X’s next version, Leopard is going to be one of the most complete OSes to leverage broadband connections, and even higher speed pipes available inside our home.

Stepping back, the new oomph Apple is putting into its computing hardware allows the users to run multiple applications. Almost all these apps (with the exception of older apps such as Microsoft Word and Excel, feed off the broadband pipe.

Each one incrementally demands more bandwidth. As many Mac users will get used to the new OS, they will also suddenly realize that the bandwidth allocated to them by the ISPs is not enough, and would opt for speed upgrades. (Just to clarify I am suggesting upgrades from sub- 1 Mbps budget offerings that cost below $20 a month, to the 3-to-10 Mbps packages that cost around $45 a month.)

While it might not be available for atleast six months, here are some initial thoughts:

Spotlight: Apple is giving Spotlight even more oomph. Has too – we are seeing the digital clutter in our lives just increase by the day. The drives are just getting better and of course we need better home network search technology.

“Spotlight was one of the great features of Tiger. We’re going to make Spotlight even better in Leopard. First thing we’re going to do is enable you to use Spotlight to search other machines.” This means that if you’re at home and you have several Macs in the house, you can search any of them. We’re also adding the ability to search servers and find exactly what you’re looking for.”

Enhanced Mail 3: “You send the most beautiful email messages you can ever imagine. You can keep track of them in a separate notes inbox.”

Bigger emails like the ones Steve is talking about need more bandwidth… a lot of it, in both directions, upstream and downstream.

Dashcode and Webclips: They turn everything into a little widget for the desktop.

From webcams to webpages now sit on the desktop, sipping from the broadband pipe, offering you the latest in real time. Again a bandwidth-using application.

The New iChat: The demoed iChat does streaming video, background sharing, photo and file sharing in realtime over the iChat connection. Again the increased use of this app is going to add to the need for more bandwidth.

Front Row: There are sketchy details on this, but their website says, you could watch videos and listen to music over your LAN/Wireless LAN. Needs further investigation. I have heard some interesting stuff around Front Row and some of it This ties in with our ongoing thesis that bandwidth inside the four walls of our homes is increasing faster than the connections to the Internet. You can read about it here and here.

Photos courtesy of : Apple
Show notes via Engadget/Live reporting by Ryan Block.