By Tim Martin
Eastern Illinois University
Phil Schiller, the No. 2 executive at Apple Inc., dazzled the SNDSJ crowd on Friday morning, showing off three new features on the yet to be released operating system, Tiger.
Tiger, set for release in the first half of 2005, will feature an innovative hard drive search engine, a Web browsing real-time news search, and a core imaging program that will have powerful design tools built in.
"We want to create the next generation of creative applications," Schiller said.
And they might. The largest oohs and aahs resulted from the third item Schiller presented, a motion graphics system that he called core imaging, similar to the core audio seen in OS X. The core imaging takes a step in making some technical design elements easier, by building them into the core technology.
Many of the filtering design tools, like blur or glass distortion, were being used in real time. Schiller said a billion operations were happening per second and that it was possible because the graphics chips have caught up in speed with the CPUs. The image was not being edited, Schilling said. It's hard to describe in detail what Schilling was doing, but the results teased the crowd, some of whom could only shake their heads in disbelief. The abilities are both 2D and 3D.
Schiller was able to apply various elements all at once, saying everything was "non-destructive."
Schiller next introduced a hard drive search that was spawned by the iTunes application. Surfing the Internet via Web sites like Google or Yahoo! is much easier than trying to find a photo or text document on a hard drive, so Schiller said Apple created Spotlight, a program that will sort quickly files by a variety of information. For example, Schiller said the search engine will probe through a hard drive by looking at content and meta data, which included information like who sent the file and when it was sent.
Essentially, Spotlight expands the ways a computer user can scan for a file by looking at more information in real-time. You can save the searches, too, in Smart Folders. Spotlight will also sort the search results by their application format, whether it's .pdf, text document, photo or video. A quick search will be available in the upper right corner. The search will also be used in other parts of the computer, like address books.
"It's all lightning fast," Schiller said.
Next, Schiller introduced an online news gathering system that many blogs currently use. Schiller called it RSS, or real simple syndication. Some Web sites, like the Boston Globe or ESPN, currently have RSS technology. What RSS allows is an alternative to the Web site, as a separate screen pops up that only shows the headlines and the beginning parts of the story. The RSS seemed very user friendly as it was able to track how many new stories had been added since your last visit, and it also allowed you to change the length of the story, from a few paragraphs to only the headline.
Schiller called it a "personal clipping service." He said RSS would be used for Safari, Apple's Web browser.
This varied from a normal Web search by that it narrowed the search when compared to a Google search. It appears to be more precise, like many of the blogs.
Schiller, dressed in a blue shirt, jeans and black sneakers, spoke at SNDSJ during the general session from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Two television screens provided live video of his interview with Bryan Monroe, a Knight Ridder assistant vice president for news. Monroe drew a loud applause when he talked about some newsroom's battles with the Information Technology departments, who sometimes push PCs as opposed to Macs because they are cheaper and easier to network. Monroe said he and others tell the IT departments that they will have to, "take this Mac out of my cold, dead hands."
Schiller admitted he starts his day by reading the newspaper before going to work. He reads the "fun news" first, the sports section and pertinent business news. During the day, he searches many Web sites, and at night, he watches TV news.
He said Apple's creativity is "imbred in its culture," adding the company can be on the cutting edge of innovation because computer design starts from scratch each time.Photo by Nathan Clendenin