No doubt many electrons will be spilled as self-appointed geniuses like me pore over Apple’s new announcements. These are interesting, I agree, but I’m going to take a detour and look at Apple’s website.
Apple has long done an admirable job of presenting a clean design on its site. One thing that it always steered clear of is dynamic content. There’d be a little “hot news” animation on the front page, but that was usually it. As of today, though, there are signs of more mouseover fun. The Panther page uses some mouseovers (using old-school HTML+JS instead of way-new CSS effects), and the G5 page likewise uses these on the performance charts (one could easily miss these), and on the navigation bar for the G5 pages.
Shortly before OS X was made public, the Apple site was retooled with an Aqua look for the graphic buttons. It is interesting that it is reversing course to some extent–the buttons have a much less pronounced Aqua look (the Aqua interface itself has been toned down), but on some of the Apple Store pages, some buttons are flat ovals–not at all Aquatic.
Apple seems to be reversing course on Aqua for its software, too: in addition to all the iWhatever programs, Apple will be applying its “metal” theme to the Finder. This strikes me as dumb: the rationale behind the metal theme has always been dubious, the application of that rationale has been spotty, and I never liked the theme in the first place (so I turn it off).
I’m not sure what prompted the changes to make the site a tiny bit more dynamic and less aquatic. The website once was a harbinger of the Aqua interface on the Mac, though, and I wonder if it’ll be again. It would be nifty, from a geeky perspective, if Apple tried using modern CSS layout techniques and valid, clean HTML, but it is still a pleasure to read.