I was very happy to see that Sun released a final version of Java 6 yesterday. But what I find very disappointing was that Apple has not updated a Java 6 version for Mac OS X still remains only a developer preview which is based on JDK 1.6.0_b88. If you’ve been following Java 6, you know this a very old release.

I’m starting to believe these rumors that Apple will introduce a refreshed UI in Mac OS X (10.5) Leopard. Because of this, Apple has not put out another developer release of Java 6 that will run on Tiger (10.4). With a new UI, Apple may have had to make some major changes to its Swing implementation and may not be backwards compatible with 10.4.

This would be similar to what Apple did with Tiger; you could only get Java 5 if you upgraded to Tiger (even though there were reports that early releases of Java 5 could run just fine on 10.3). I’m betting that in order to get Java 6 on your Mac, you’re going to need to upgrade to Leopard. Now I don’t know for certain, but it would be a compelling reason for any Java developer using a Mac to upgrade to 10.5. For me, Java 5 support was enough to get me to upgrade to Tiger (10.4). Guess we’ll all know more in a month.

The folks over at MacShrine are reporting that Apple has seeded a new build of Leopard (Mac OS 10.5) internally. What really caught my eye was the last statement:

“TextEdit also features support to export and open new Word 2007 documents”

What’s interesting here is that there is no mention of the OpenDocument format supported by the OpenOffice suite. Oh well. (UPDATE: it would appear that OpenDocument is supported as well according to this post at Uneasy Silence). However, if TextEdit can read and write OpenXML documents and Leopard ships within the first half of 2007, Apple will be supporting the new Office format before Microsoft. I still fully expect that the next version of iWork will support the Office OpenXML (now ECMA-376) and OpenDocument file formats in its next release, which probably will be announced at MacWorld 2007.

But what I find even more interesting are the recent claims put out by Microsoft’s Mac BU who say they will have Office 2007 converters ready by Spring and that Office:mac 2007 will ship 6 to 8 months after the Windows version. What I find difficult to understand is why it’ll take so long? For starters, they all work at the same company that also happens to make the Windows version of Office 2007. Second, this is the same company that drafted the Office OpenXML format, so you’d think there’d be few folks with expert knowledge on the subject. And finally, this new format is now an EMCA standard, of which anyone who can read a spec could implement the format. And even though the spec only became a standard on 12/7/2006, the spec had been published well in advance.

It blows my mind that a group of folks who work at the same company, can’t get it together with other internal teams to make compatibility with the new file format a top priority. After reading some of the Mac Mojo post, it sounds like they even wrote their own XML parser to read the format. Why? I guess this gives some insight was to why Vista was a few years late.

It’ll be interesting to see what Apple has in store for iWork in 2007. My gut is starting to say that this is the beginning of the end for Office:mac. This could be Microsoft giving Apple a head start into the office market on the Mac. Eventually, Office:mac will be cede to iWork much in the same was as Internet Explorer did to Safari, even while Safari was a beta. The good thing is that with the Office OpenXML format, we now have an established standard so file incompatibilities should not be as problematic as they have been in the past.

Update #2: It appears I’m not the only who thinks that Office:mac is on its way out; Rob Griffiths of MacOSXHints.com has a piece over at MacWorld.com which points out that Office:mac will not have VB support for things like macros and other goodies. Of interest, the folks over at OpenOffice.org are working on VBA support. It’ll be interesting to see if Apple is able to leverage any of that code base.

I have had a Motorola E815 for sometime now, but my older PowerBook didn’t have Bluetooth so I never got to enjoy its capabilities. Just recently, I acquired a brand spankin’ new 17″ MacBook Pro as part of my new job. I knew I could use the phone as a modem, but exactly how to do it was a bit of a mystery. I ran across this post which describes how to set up the Motorola V710 with Mac OS X 10.3. Unfortunately, these instructions don’t cover the subtle differences with the E815 and Mac OS X 10.4.

For the most part, the Mac OS X configuration is basically the same, but the E815 is slightly different. For some reason or another, Verizon Wireless disables dial up networking on this phone. You can enable it by dialing: ##DIALUP. It sounds odd, yes, but when you enter the number, the phone will present a message stating that dial up networking is enabled. If you don’t do this, your Mac won’t be able to use your phone as a Modem.

One the Mac side of things, you can still follow the same instructions on Steven Fettig’s site. While some of the UI is a bit different under Panther, you should have no issues figuring it out. So far, this works rather well. I get a decent connection that allow me to browse the web, check email, and use IM while riding the train into work now. Now those two hours commuting just became much more productive.