Mac OS X Leopard Community Commentary

I’ve never done this before, but I was reading the responses in Steve’s Top Five Reasons that Leopard will be Apple’s tipping point and felt compelled to address some of them in a space where my readers might benefit. I hope Steve doesn’t mind.

I’m keeping all grammatical / spelling errors intact:

Geoff ~ “Boot Camp – nice but adds a lot of cost”

How does something that comes with the OS add any kind of cost? If you don’t want to use Boot Camp, don’t use it – that doesn’t cost you a thing. If you’re complaining about Microsoft’s Windows licensing strategies, then complain directly to Microsoft – not to Apple for giving you the smoothest dual-boot system ever built.

The costs of migrating from a “PC” to a Mac can be mitigated if you look at TCO. How much did your backup software cost? How much does your anti-virus service cost? Your MSN Premium subscription? Your anti-spyware service? Your tech support service? Your extended warranty service?

There’s plenty of mature software for OS X out there, if the apps you need don’t already come pre-installed (like iLife, for example).

Zach ~ “While I don’t doubt that Apple’s new release will be solid, do you seriously think that people are going to look at an instant messaging program as the tipping point between a mac or a pc. That’s stupid. Maybe you do alot of messaging, but I don’t know the last time I heard someone ask a sales associate when buying a computer, Mac or PC, what instant messaging software came pre-installed.”

You haven’t seen the demo videos for iChat 4.0, have you? Apple is evolving the idea of Instant Messaging far beyond text, audio, and video interactions – and into the space of simple collaboration. The keyword isn’t “chat” so much as it is “easy.”

After seeing the public demo, I’ve heard four five people state that iChat 4.0 would improve tech support with remote friends and family members. I concur. It looks to be smoother than anything else I’ve seen or used.

Moreover, I’m guessing we’re just a year away from seeing an iChat for Windows. Not to say that it would be widely adopted, but it’s not entirely out of the question. We already have QuickTime, iTunes, Safari, and (most importantly for this prediction) Bonjour working well enough on the Windows platform. It may not match iChat feature-for-feature, but it would allow for users to experience a different level of… nevermind. You don’t get why this is important.

esteban ~ “Nothing original here, just the same fanboy cooing which quickly degrades into the oh so scientific “my aunt, mother, and cousin are all switching, it must be a sign!” drivel.”

I’ve pretty much written off these kinds of responses as jealousy. Seriously. I’m guessing this is a 13 year-old Digg user who has never purchased his own machine, pirates all his software, and brags about his FPS in random gaming forums.

Paul ~ “I think widgets are severely overrated. Sure, when I got my first Mac capable of running Tiger a few years ago, I thought they were cute. I ended up building a few and nothing much past that. Fast forward to now and many, many users associate widget with “something that slows down my Mac” – and with good reason. Search for any “speed up my mac” type articles and it’s sure to list disabling the dashboard or shutting down trivial widgets.”

I’m with you, Paul – but widgets weren’t necessarily made for you or me. My parents and father-in-law, on the other hand, are enamored with them. They don’t care about maxing out the speed of their browser so much as they love to have a flight tracker at their fingertips. Sucked ’em in for a half hour, easy. Could the same thing happen on a Web site? Yeah, but it’s not as convenient.

And that’s just it: widgets are a matter of convenience. With Safari’s “Web Clip” widget builder, the need to find someone for simple widget developemnt seemingly disappears. Take a look at Dashcode (or Automator, for that matter). Apple is putting development tools directly in the hands of users – without them even knowing it.

This is much bigger than widgets, Paul.

Colby ~ “Sorry dude, I love Apple and their OS, but this won’t be the tipping point until Apple allows for OSX to be installed on any hardware, not just Apple hardware. I see the trends too, but we’re not at the tipping point yet.”

First, there’s a space between OS and X. Last I looked, NVIDIA and ATI aren’t Apple hardware. Neither is Intel’s platform. πŸ˜‰ Your complaint is less about hardware restrictions and more about software restrictions.

I would have agreed with you a year ago, but my experiences with Windows Vista have pushed me further into the “maybe it’s not so bad that one vendor controls both the hardware and software experience” camp. Licensing the OS to third-party vendors could hurt Apple, not help it.

I’m not saying that Apple shouldn’t be held in check, or that their practices are any less monopolistic than Microsoft’s, but… you should understand why Apple does business the way they do. Don’t compare their business model to Microsoft’s or Dell’s or HP’s or… anybody else’s, for that matter. Apples and oranges. πŸ™‚

Paul ~ “Linux is handily beating Microsoft already, and most people don’t have the kind of $ it takes to get onto the Apple bandwagon. And the quality of their hardware is abysmal. Left Linux 5 years ago to to go MacOS X with a G17. Java support was terrible with bugs that affected my ability to earn a living as a java architect. Saw many people walk away from the lousy support, lousy attitude, and constant $$ upgrades (want java 5? Upgrade, because osx 10.4 doesn’t and never will support java 5).”

Linux is handily beating Microsoft already? Really? REALLY?!

Yikes. Someone must be ignoring the wealth of free and open source software available for OS X (and Windows). In all my years of interacting with “regular folks,” I’ve never heard one of ’em complain about the lack of Java 5 support in Tiger.

Doesn’t make your issue any less of an issue, but take it in context. It’s not fair to compare UNIX / FreeBSD to Linux – completely different licensing strategies, completely different philosophies. My parents and 99% of the people on MySpace don’t care about either. πŸ˜‰

Balboa Peterson ~ “Until there is a two butotn mouse/trackpad, then Apple is going NOWHERE. Get over it Steve!!! Bring us two frigging buttons and I’ll start buying apples. (and no, buying a separate mouse does not count – I want it on the macbook trackpad)”

Oh, god… where do I begin with this child? You can “right click” with a trackpad by using two fingers. After trying that for a week, you’ll find notebooks that don’t have the same functionality on their own trackpads to be worthless. Trust me.

Seems to me you’d be better served by a spell checker than a second mouse button. Oh, and OS X has a spell checker built into it (by the way).

Idiot. IDIOT.

Forrest ~ “Apple is the most overrated company in existence. There products are innovative, over priced, and under-featured (the iPod STILL doesn’t have an FM tuner). Not to mention that their DRM policies are the most restrictive out there. Its funny how all the uneducated fan-boys are drawn in by aesthetic aspects of there products. People complain about Windows – but seriously; if you can’t get XP (or your linux distro of choice) to work how you want it too all the time then your an idiot.”

I had to read this assertion twice. It’s just… wow. You accused Apple of being innovative? Is that supposed to be a bad thing?

I can understand that you’d want the iPod to have an FM tuner in it (who wouldn’t, quite honestly), but Apple’s DRM policies are not all that restrictive. If you want to buy an MP3 through iTunes, you most certainly can – so long as the artist or label allow you to do so. That’s not Apple’s fault, is it?

When you call someone a “fan boy,” you erode your own position to that of jealousy. If you’re frustrated with Apple because it’s not giving you the products you want, that’s not Apple’s problem – it’s yours.

The question is, Forrest: what are you going to do about it?

Rip Ragged ~ “I disagree that Leopard is the tipping point. Vista was the tipping point. Vista failed to leapfrog anything. It’s an incremental upgrade to XP. A huge, bloated, crappy incremental upgrade, but an incremental upgrade, nevertheless.”

I wrote this in CPU Magazine over a year ago: Vista would drive more people to adopt OS X than OS X would. That said, I really do believe that Leopard is a compelling upgrade from Vista.

The tipping point started when Apple switched to the Intel platform. The tipping point continued when Microsoft released Vista. The tipping point happens with the release of Leopard (especially so close to the winter Holiday season).

Make no mistake: OS X isn’t going to draw people away from Windows by the millions. I don’t think Steve was suggesting that, either. The iPhone was a social epidemic – and if Apple plays their cards right, Leopard will be as well.

McJohn ~ “Yes, I get that dual-booting lets me play my windows games under windows on mac hardware. On the other hand, a mac desktop is very expensive compared to a windows desktop.”

Let me get this straight: you’re willing to fork out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on entertainment for your PC – and you’re likely just as willing to fork out hundreds more for a powerful video card and PPUs and glowing neon for your case – and you’re willing to pay a subscription fee for some of those MMORPGs – and you’re… starting to understand how your position has been completely nullified now that you’ve identified yourself as a gamer?

Be careful when argue cost – cost is relative.

I started on Apple ~ “this is just one more tired Mac OS update. they havent done anything truly new in AGES. are you paid for? do you work for Apple? maybe…. trying to hype up such ‘nothingness’…”

When all else fails, accuse the author of payola.

mrp ~ “you can never come up with any feature, no matter how bullshit it is, that hasn’t been done on windows 100 times before and 5 years earlier. It’s like people don’t know you can download programs that do stuff windows doesn’t AND osx for that matter”

Heh. People know they can download programs – it’s how spyware, viruses, trojans, and keyloggers are installed. And if you’re suggesting that Windows has been enabling that experience 100 times before and 5 years earlier, you’re absolutely right.

If OS X doesn’t have the features you want, fine – but did it promise to give you something that it ultimately didn’t? I’m not going to name any Ultimate examples because… oops.

Some may be ready to assert that the new iChat screen sharing tool is exactly what Microsoft had with Remote Desktop in MSN Messenger years ago. Almost. Took me a half hour to get something started with my parents two weeks ago – and let’s not forget the fiasco that ensued when I explained to them that they couldn’t turn off the advertisements in Microsoft’s chat client. Seems to me that MSN Messenger is there to serve endless upsells, whereas iChat is there to serve the user.

That’s clearly not Apple’s problem.

Dave ~ “Does iChat suddenly work when all parties are behind NAT gateways? No? It’s still useless then. Skype wins again and is available now.”

Useless is relative. So is the functionality of Skype. You’d have to purchase an add-on or two to get the audio / video recording features that are baked into iChat 4.0. Are you upset that iChat isn’t like Skype, and if so: how is that iChat’s problem?

Let the flames begin. πŸ˜‰