Friday, April 22, 2005

Tiger is now shipping

'Nuff said. :)

[Update 2005-04-22]

Here is a picture from one lucky person who has already received it.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

HD-DVD: iMac G5 1.6 is fine, but no G4s need apply

Apple today announced Final Cut Studio. It includes 4 applications, Final Cut Pro 5, Soundtrack Pro, Motion 2, and DVD Studio Pro 4. Shake 4, was also announced today.

One interesting tidbit from the release is that high definition (HD) DVDs created with DVD Studio Pro 4 will be playable on any G5 Mac, including the 1.6 GHz iMac G5, with OS X Tiger 10.4's DVD Player 4.6 and QuickTime 7. However, playback on any G4 Mac, even the dual G4 1.42 GHz Power Mac, is not supported. DVD Studio Pro 4's HD-DVDs use traditional DVD media, but with H.264 encoded video at up to 1920x1080, 59.94 Hz interlaced.

What's surprising about this announcement was that it was only last year that a dual G5 Power Mac was required to play back progressive scan 1920x1080 at 24 Hz, a form of HD that represents about 20% less data than what the iMac G5 1.6 can achieve today.

2005 is indeed the year of HD.

[Update 2005-04-29]

Nope, we were wrong. The listed G5 specs were misleading, because a single G5 only supports up to 720p playback, and that's with a 1.8 GHz G5. For 1080p playback, a dual G5 2.0 GHz Power Mac is needed. See this article.

Safari 1.3 from Panther 10.3.9 is FAST

Apple on Friday released the 10.3.9 update to Panther. It addresses a number of different issues, but the most noticeable update is to Safari. Safari in Panther is now at version 1.3, and it gets much of the core of Safari 2.0, which is coming soon in OS X 10.4 Tiger.

Dave Hyatt comments in Surfin' Safari weblog about the changes:
Those of you running Panther can now update to 10.3.9. This update includes Safari 1.3 and new versions of WebKit, WebCore, and JavaScriptCore that contain thousands of improvements we've made to the engine since Safari 1.2.

What you are getting is all of the new standards support, new WebKit capabilites, site compatibility fixes and performance optimizations that are also present in Safari 2.0 for Tiger. The layout engines for the two are virtually identical.

Here are some of the highlights:

Page Load Performance
Safari 1.3 loads pages overall 35% faster than 1.2 as measured by IBench. In addition to improving the overall page load, Safari 1.3 will display content sooner than 1.2 did, so that subresources don't hold up the initial display of the page.

JavaScript Performance
We have substantially improved the performance of the JavaScript engine in Safari. I encourage you to check out Safari 1.3 on this benchmark for example to see the improvement relative to 1.2.

Did I mention it's really really fast? :)
On my 1.7 GHz Cube G4 7447A, the perceived speedup in real-life surfing is quite impressive, and the speedup as measured by BenchJS is nothing short of astonishing. It's a ten fold change in benchmarked JavaScript performance:

One note of concern however, is Test 7. This test calculates the day of the week on which Christmas lands each year. With Safari 1.3, every day listed starting in 2038 is Friday. I don't know if this error is an error in the original JavaScript code, an error in the output by both Safari 1.2 and Safari 1.3, or an error unique to the new Safari 1.3. Unfortunately, I did not notice the error until after I upgraded my machines.

One interesting point of note also is the claim by some that enabling Quartz 2D Extreme in Tiger 10.4 can slow down Safari 2.0's BenchJS performance significantly on some hardware.

[Update 2005-04-18]

Thanks to Screed and Squozen for pointing out that the Xmas calculation error is present in Safari 1.2 as well. There is no such problem with Mozilla Firefox in Windows 2000 or Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.2 in OS X 10.3.9.