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Apple's iChat to gain tabs, integration with iTunes

post #1 of 160
Thread Starter 
The next version of Apple's iChat messaging software that will ship with Mac OS X Tiger will likely offer tabbed messaging in addition to iTunes tie-ins.

The next major reversion of Apple Computer's popular iChat instant messenger software will play host to a plethora of new features, including some that have yet to appear in even the most recent builds of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger," AppleInsider has learned.

Mimicking third party applications like Status Symbol and iChat Status, recent builds of iChat 3.0 have exposed limited interactivity with the company's iTunes digital jukebox software. Via a new option in the iChat menu, users will be able to display the currently playing iTunes track as part of their iChat online status.



Beyond this tie-in, it's unclear how much further the two digital lifestyle applications will gel. The aforementioned feature is new to iChat's ongoing development and is only partially functional in recent builds of the software.

Meanwhile, well placed sources have provided indubitable evidence that Apple will soon add an option to enable tabbed messaging. Although this feature has yet to surface in known builds of iChat 3.0, the foundation is reportedly in place for an implementation that will closely mirror the functionality and appearance of the tabbed browsing interface already present in the company's Safari web browser.

iChat 3.0 is due as part of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger in the first half of 2005. The software will also reportedly deliver improved video quality, three-way video chat, extended audio conferencing, and Jabber support.
post #2 of 160
I can confirm the iTunes integration. Hehehe. Although that tab bit is very disappointing.
post #3 of 160
so, what, the tabs will spearate the different simultaneous chat sessions? won't that make for an unnecessarily wide chat window, the more sessions you have going?

i know they hired proteus' programmer, justin wood, for the ichat team, which now explains the jabber support, but man, i really liked the way proteus handled multiple chats, using apple's drawer UI instead of tabs.



oh well, maybe apple will surprise me. i just wish they would license the msn protocol, because 85% of my friends are on msn messenger.
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post #4 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by rok
so, what, the tabs will spearate the different simultaneous chat sessions? won't that make for an unnecessarily wide chat window, the more sessions you have going?

i know they hired proteus' programmer for the ichat team, which now explains the jabber support, but man, i really liked the way proteus handled multiple chats, using apple's drawer UI.

Hopefully the tabs will come in Tiger Mail-like sidebar form.

I wouldn't mind a sidebar...chat text areas prefer being vertically-large...not horizontally-large.

But frankly...tabs are really stupid for a chat app. How many simultaneous conversations can one have at a time? If the answer is 'less than 5' then let the sessions be in separate windows and let Exposé do the rest.
post #5 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
Hopefully the tabs will come in Tiger Mail-like sidebar form.

I wouldn't mind a sidebar...chat text areas prefer being vertically-large...not horizontally-large.

But frankly...tabs are really stupid for a chat app. How many simultaneous conversations can one have at a time? If the answer is 'less than 5' then let the sessions be in separate windows and let Exposé do the rest.

But tabs still save space over that.
post #6 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by Zweben
But tabs still save space over that.

Over what?

Space isn't all that precious anymore now that Exposé solves window clutter. I'm on 1024x768...this is pretty damn small compared to today's standard resolutions and I'm managing a shitload of windows just fine.

All the lucky SOBs with iMac 2s and iMac G5s and Cinema Displays are, well, lucky. I can't wait to have a 20" or 23" screen.
post #7 of 160
Tabs work.

I happen to think the Drawer UI is straight from the depths of Hell. It changes the window's basic shape to an awkward one, and makes resizing less intuitive. There is no standard, obvious toggle for the drawer. You can close it by the small "handle" but once you do, you can't open it the same way, and there is no indication that there is a drawer in the window. Then, when you size your windows in relation to each other, each toggle of the drawer effectively forces you to resize the window. I could maybe understand the drawer in some specialized use, especially when it doesn't have to show for long, but IMO it's just bad in iCal, Preview and many others. Looking at that Proteus picture, I'm sure the software would be nicer to use if it incorporated the contents of the drawer element to a rectangular block in the actual window.
post #8 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
Space isn't all that precious anymore now that Exposé solves window clutter. I'm on 1024x768...this is pretty damn small compared to today's standard resolutions and I'm managing a shitload of windows just fine.

Yes, with Expose the windows *can* be managed reasonably, but there are lots of people who think windows shouldn't ever be on top of each other. I'm one of them. I use Expose all the time, but I still think it's a half-baked solution to a problem many other windowing systems don't really have in the first place.

Edited to add: of course on a small screen you can only reasonably have one window open; this is where Expose shines, also when you have a huge amount of windows. I like Windows' way of window management on a bigger screen, especially if there are only about ten windows or less. I rarely have more than that even on OS X.
post #9 of 160
I LOVE this idea of tabs.

It amazes me how I am unable to see problems until Apple gives us the solution. Having a ton of iChat windows open, buried under other windows, not knowing who responded so having to switch through the windows to find the person who last responded....what a mess.

I welcome Tabs. I am very excited about Tiger. It keeps looking better and better.

(I just hope Apple gets serious with iCal. It's the weakest link in the chain.)
post #10 of 160
Well it's not like they invented the idea of having tabs in a chat windows. Adium has done it forever, but it is nice they're listening to us and giving us the features we want.
post #11 of 160
Notice the blue iChat icon in the top right of the graphic? It looks like it's part of the menu bar. Just an observation.
post #12 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by rok
i know they hired proteus' programmer, justin wood, for the ichat team, which now explains the jabber support

I'm pretty sure they hired Justin into a QA position and that Proteus uses Libgaim for jabber support as opposed to something created by Justin that could be leveraged by Apple...

Quote:
Originally posted by BWhaler
It amazes me how I am unable to see problems until Apple gives us the solution. Having a ton of iChat windows open, buried under other windows, not knowing who responded so having to switch through the windows to find the person who last responded....what a mess.

Others have seen the solution to this problem for quite a while now. Gaim has had tabbed IM for a very long time, and Adium as well on the mac side.

After using tabbed IM for so long I don't understand how you guys can live without it in iChat. I wonder if Apple will let you drag to re-order tabs and pull them off into separate windows like you can in Adium...
post #13 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by crees!
Notice the blue iChat icon in the top right of the graphic? It looks like it's part of the menu bar. Just an observation.

iChat has always allowed for a menu icon. You may just need to enable it on your system.

Quote:
Well it's not like they invented the idea of having tabs in a chat windows. Adium has done it forever, but it is nice they're listening to us and giving us the features we want.

I agree. Adium has a superior implementation of tabs.... they look similar to Safari's, but you can rearrange them, drag them off into a separate window, or combine multiple windows into a single tabbed window. Really slick. I hope Apple approaches the developers with a sweet deal, because stealing that implementation would be sad. Adium deserves the recognition for it, even if Safari inspired the tabs' appearance.
post #14 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by coolfactor
I agree. Adium has a superior implementation of tabs.... they look similar to Safari's, but you can rearrange them, drag them off into a separate window, or combine multiple windows into a single tabbed window. Really slick. I hope Apple approaches the developers with a sweet deal, because stealing that implementation would be sad. Adium deserves the recognition for it, even if Safari inspired the tabs' appearance.

That would be a really tricky situation, the entire Adium codebase is under the GPL meaning if Apple hired say Adam Iser Apple would need to release the tabs source code under the GPL too wouldn't they?

The Camino guys wanted to use the Adium tabs but they wanted them to move over the Mozilla licence. So Adam and the guys must have done something really right
post #15 of 160
Interesting... in the leaked pic buddies are listed under the heading "AIM buddies". In the current version it is just "Available buddies". More evidence that iChat will support multiple protocols?
post #16 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by westonm
Interesting... in the leaked pic buddies are listed under the heading "AIM buddies". In the current version it is just "Available buddies". More evidence that iChat will support multiple protocols?

Yes, I noticed that too, and thought it was strange. iChat will support Jabber, so maybe that's the difference? Please bring MSN to iChat... I like iChat integration much better than having to launch a separate app just for MSN users.
post #17 of 160
Tabs or Sidebar?

Essentially these provide the same functionality. Let the user decide! Let this be an option!

Tabs, Sidebars and Bookmarks

Yesterday I said that Mail should get Tabs. But now I see that we could add Tabs, Sidebars and Bookmarks in most applications. Like Tabs in Finder, Mail and iTunes...

Just putting ideas out there...

Cheers Daniel
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post #18 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by dahacouk
Tabs or Sidebar?

Essentially these provide the same functionality. Let the user decide! Let this be an option!

I used Proteus for chatting for a while, and the sidebar wasn't nearly as convenient as the tabs in Adium. Whether it's a drawer or a sidebar, it takes up way too much screen space for what it does. Now, that's different in Mail where a drawer of folders makes sense. I'm curious how the new sidebar version of Mail will weather.

As for iChat, I say bring on the Adium tabs and give them full credit and reimbursement (in some form).
post #19 of 160
Cool!
iTunes integration.. Just like iChat Status but weaker. I know David (author of iChatStatus) have spoken frequently with the iChat team so.. this might not be a coincidence. Hopefully they have provided some means for customization so you're not locked to just displaying iTunes.
post #20 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by dahacouk

Yesterday I said that Mail should get Tabs. But now I see that we could add Tabs, Sidebars and Bookmarks in most applications. Like Tabs in Finder, Mail and iTunes...

Just putting ideas out there...

Cheers Daniel

I don't think tabbed finder would be a good idea. I mean I guess sure why not, just so your not limiting people, but I think most of the time you'll just have one finder window open, and when you have two it would be to drag or copy something somewhere. Now sure you could implement this so you could just drag over to the tab, but I just don't see it as being very useful.

Of course that is just one man's opinion, I know tons of people who have said yes to a tabbed finder.

That said, I love adium's tabs. I think it's just such a clean way to organize messages. I don't think i'd mind the drawer though.
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post #21 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by Gon
Yes, with Expose the windows *can* be managed reasonably, but there are lots of people who think windows shouldn't ever be on top of each other. I'm one of them. I use Expose all the time, but I still think it's a half-baked solution to a problem many other windowing systems don't really have in the first place.

Edited to add: of course on a small screen you can only reasonably have one window open; this is where Expose shines, also when you have a huge amount of windows. I like Windows' way of window management on a bigger screen, especially if there are only about ten windows or less. I rarely have more than that even on OS X.

That's because Windows isn't a multitasker's OS and you're not a multitasker. I am however...I like to be able to see things going on in multiple windows at the same time.
post #22 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by dahacouk
Tabs or Sidebar?

Essentially these provide the same functionality. Let the user decide! Let this be an option!

Tabs, Sidebars and Bookmarks

Yesterday I said that Mail should get Tabs. But now I see that we could add Tabs, Sidebars and Bookmarks in most applications. Like Tabs in Finder, Mail and iTunes...

Just putting ideas out there...

Cheers Daniel

But Mail doesn't need tabs...nor does the Finder and nor does iTunes.

You're essentially creating a solution in search of a problem.
post #23 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
But Mail doesn't need tabs...nor does the Finder and nor does iTunes.

I would love for Finder, Mail and iTunes to get tabs, especially since we will get smart folder funcionality in all these applications.
post #24 of 160
Quote:

oh well, maybe apple will surprise me. i just wish they would license the msn protocol, because 85% of my friends are on msn messenger. [/B]

Ditto

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post #25 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by tink
Ditto

Well.. I have exactly zero friends on MSN and I live in the world's densest MSN country, Sweden. All my friends are using iChat or ICQ.. but that's me.
post #26 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by resimada
I'm pretty sure they hired Justin into a QA position and that Proteus uses Libgaim for jabber support as opposed to something created by Justin that could be leveraged by Apple...


Others have seen the solution to this problem for quite a while now. Gaim has had tabbed IM for a very long time, and Adium as well on the mac side.

After using tabbed IM for so long I don't understand how you guys can live without it in iChat. I wonder if Apple will let you drag to re-order tabs and pull them off into separate windows like you can in Adium...

The problem with your tabs Adam is that they're an ugly hack. While ok (but not perfect) in browser windows where the window actually has to be large horizontally, chat windows tend to be small horizontally and larger vertically (this allows people to see a history of short text messages). I don't think Adium is very usable beyond 3 or 4 tabbed conversations with the small horizontal size footprint I want.

But frankly, I can't even find use for tabs in an IM at all since I have a life other than chatting with multiple people simultaneously on the internet,
post #27 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
The problem with your tabs Adam is that they're an ugly hack.

I think you're conflating "ugly hack" and "not perfect for my purposes." Your discussion below may have something to do with ugliness but has nothing to do with ugly 'hackiness'.

Quote:
While ok (but not perfect) in browser windows where the window actually has to be large horizontally, chat windows tend to be small horizontally and larger vertically (this allows people to see a history of short text messages). I don't think Adium is very usable beyond 3 or 4 tabbed conversations with the small horizontal size footprint I want.

But a drawer increases the horizontal footprint significantly.

Quote:
But frankly, I can't even find use for tabs in an IM at all since I have a life other than chatting with multiple people simultaneously on the internet,

...which includes discussing the use of tabs in an IM on an AppleInsider forum with multiple people simultaneously on the internet. Cute.
post #28 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
The version of Apple's iChat messaging software that will ship with Mac OS X Tiger will likely offer tabbed messaging in addition to iTunes tie-ins.

I already have the ability to show itunes status/songs in ichat thanks to a 3rd party solution, but hallelujah to tabbed messages! Having a few chats at once takes up so much precious screen real estate.
post #29 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by deepkid
I already have the ability to show itunes status/songs in ichat thanks to a 3rd party solution, but hallelujah to tabbed messages! Having a few chats at once takes up so much precious screen real estate.

Here's probably a stupid question. Why the hell would I care what song someone is listening to on iTunes while I'm chatting with them? And why in the world would someone care that I'm listening to my "Carpenter's greatest hits" CD while chatting? Can you listen to the music? Does the file get transmitted too?
post #30 of 160
Tabs for browsing and tabs for chatting are not the same thing, for me.

I like browsing with tabs, it's efficient, but having multiple chats in the same window separated by tabs is borderline dangerous.

I need the spatial separation of (random examples) work chat on left, friends chat on the right, wife chat in the middle of the screen.

It's dangerous to get the recipients confused, something that is inevitable in a tabbed interface.

Another thing is that is going to be next to useless in real world use, since you *want* to be able to see all the chats simultaneously (unless you're doing cybersex or jobsearch at work I suppose ).

You can't usually read 4 web pages at once, nor are they changing constantly, so tabs make sense for the web, but chats change every few seconds and you *need* to scan around the screen to keep up to speed.

Now, don't misconstrue this as me saying iChat shouldn't have the *option* of tabs. It should. Many/most applications should.
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post #31 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
Here's probably a stupid question. Why the hell would I care what song someone is listening to on iTunes while I'm chatting with them? And why in the world would someone care that I'm listening to my "Carpenter's greatest hits" CD while chatting? Can you listen to the music? Does the file get transmitted too?

to give you an oblique answer to this question, keep in mind one of the utilities available that does this now with ichat is called "status symbol". hint, hint.
When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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post #32 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by evands
...which includes discussing the use of tabs in an IM on an AppleInsider forum with multiple people simultaneously on the internet. Cute.

um, there's a slight difference between the two. for example, posting here can be at your own pace, but chatting requires you to be real-time attentive to people constantly sending you IM's. the few times i have tried to have multi-user chats at work, it was all i could do to keep up with the various threads at once simultaneously. it's like having completely different conversations at a dinner party, with people standing on either side of you... and you don't talk, you type.

like i said, bit of a difference between that and here.
When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
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Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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post #33 of 160
Hmm this is a tough one....

My self and my partners use ichat (AIM) on a daily basis to do buisness. Having the ability to group all of my partners and freelances together in a group would be a nice feature, this would limit me to 1 chat window as opposed to the 4 to 6 that I may have up at a time. To me this would be a PRO.

On the other hand if it is not implemeted right it would be a nightmare. I think if you are given the option of having multiple users say up to 5 in one chat window then it could work nicely. You would still need to have the ability to have multiple windows as seperate groups. ie. work, family, friends, etc...

This would be ideal for me, but alas I am only one user out of millions that apple tries to please each OS release.

Apple will do it right they always do, so whay don't we all wait and see before we pass judgement if it would be ugly, confusing etc....

my 2 cents
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post #34 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by evands
...which includes discussing the use of tabs in an IM on an AppleInsider forum with multiple people simultaneously on the internet. Cute. [/B]

I'll tell you what's cute: discussing with another one of the Adium developers who took the time to register just to get his 2 cents in.
post #35 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by johnq

It's dangerous to get the recipients confused, something that is inevitable in a tabbed interface.

Sure, people can say it's PEBCAK, but what you say entirely true. It's unfortunately happened to me...and not just any ol' conversation between two people...it happened to be a mix up when I was talking to my ex-girlfriend and my new girlfriend simultaneously. It's silly and evands and adam may laugh but it's pretty fucking serious if you ask me. Switching back and forth between tabs between conversations can lead to disastrous situations. The possibility of misclicks also happen when you have to target small tabs.
post #36 of 160
I like the idea of tabs. I have very limited screen real-estate on my 12" PBook and expose makes them too small to easily see who replied and who didn't.

The only problem I see with tabs is you wouldn't know who replied unless there was some form of indicator such as a little icon that appears on the tab or something. It's fairly simple but it need to be done otherwise I don't think it would be of much use. Also it would be great for keyboard short cuts to be put in for switching between tabs. Something like Shift-1, Shift-2, etc. That alone would be faster than going between windows as it currently exists. The less I have to use the mouse the happier and faster I am.
post #37 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by coolfactor
Yes, I noticed that too, and thought it was strange. iChat will support Jabber, so maybe that's the difference? Please bring MSN to iChat... I like iChat integration much better than having to launch a separate app just for MSN users.

MSN support is already there. (in Tiger)

For all those who don't know yet: When you log in with a Jabber account, you can automatically be connected to all your other services (MSN, AIM). With just one password. All your other accounts are stored on the server.

Jabber servers have gateways to lots of other protocols (most of them support AIM, ICQ, MSN, IRC, Yahoo).

Jabber is an open and free protocol and it will probably become the only official IM standard. Until now this freeness has been a bit of a problem for Jabber's adoption: the public Jabber servers don't form one big network (altough most of them interconnect) because they're not backed by commercial companies.

I think that Apple should switch 100% to Jabber. There are also rumors of Google going Jabber.
post #38 of 160
kim kap sol: It was that or pay attention to my OOP professor who was rambling... Rereading my post, it sounds a bit rude... sorry if it came across that way; I'm exhausted.

averagezen: Adium has an option to automatically separate tabs into their own windows based on the contacts' groups; you can always drag tabs into new windows, too.

jherrling: Adium's tab implementation allows switching with command-1,command-2, and so on.

Okay, I'll stop proselytizing.
post #39 of 160
i want there to be further integration with itunes, like this:

i want to be able to just drag songs from itunes nito my ichat windows, instead of having to locate them in the finder and then drag and drop



i know this will never happen, but still, would be nice
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post #40 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
Sure, people can say it's PEBCAK, but what you say entirely true. It's unfortunately happened to me...and not just any ol' conversation between two people...it happened to be a mix up when I was talking to my ex-girlfriend and my new girlfriend simultaneously. It's silly and evands and adam may laugh but it's pretty fucking serious if you ask me. Switching back and forth between tabs between conversations can lead to disastrous situations. The possibility of misclicks also happen when you have to target small tabs.

If we don't factor in human foibles/habits/realities into human interface design, then we aren't doing our job.

Any number of perfectly valid, non-silly situations could occur by mixing up which chat you are in. The UI should bend over backwards to reduce this potentiality.

Now, again, mistakes can be made even in separate windows, so it's not a total anti-tab thing with me. I like tabs. But we need to think about using them just *anywhere*.

I don't doubt there are better ways to do this (manage multiple chats safely), I hope Apple can find them.

Another potential nightmare is the drag and drop in iChat. You can accidentally drop a file to someone and then it is a race to cancel before the other person accepts. The "drop" should not be equivalent to a "send" command. You should have a chance to mull it over one last time and click a Send button. (I can't test right now perhaps I'm misremembering that feature).

Anyway, yeah the user has to be ultimately responsible, no argument. I just think that chatting is inherently more risky or problematic. This is not merely a problem of showing multiple windows in tabbed interface. Chats are profoundly different than spreadsheets or webpages.

Let's not clamor for tabs for chats until it is really well thought out - we might miss out on a better way to do it.
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