Apple’s new OS X with the Aqua inteface is completed. Its design, good or bad, is set in concrete. Here it comes, ready or not!

After carefully reading all the verbiage about Aqua, especially the excellent writeup by Charles Moore, I believe I understand where Apple, and particularly Steve Jobs, is coming from with the new Aqua interface and OS X.

Neither Aqua nor OS X was intended for all us seasoned Mac users at all! We are not the target buyers.

Aqua is aimed directly at all the millions of Windows users who are facing an unpopular upgrade to Windows 2000. Aqua is perfect for them! It will seem very familiar because it has so many similar windows features. Aqua is much smaller and more stable than any of the Windows iterations. The typical Windows user will LOVE it! Stevo certainly has a winner on his hands with this one! Never before has the typical Windows user had more of a reason to switch! I predict that Apple will soon have some OS X ads out that is aimed directly at the PC user.

Why would Steve do this? Apple is not interested in what Mac Evangelists think, nor is he concerned about the millions of old Mac users. Steve trusts that the majority of us will stay faithful to Apple. (Where else would we go?) Apple has always cared about its bottom line. Steve still wants to make Apple an insanely great success! More so, perhaps Steve would like to even the score against Mr. Gates over previous humiliations and betrayals. What better way to do that than plunder a great number of Bill’s customer base?

Think of it! Aqua compared to Windows has the inherent stablity of Unix; has less of a pain curve; is certainly more compatible with applications and printers; and has many more cool features; etc. The new Windows 2000 interface has no comparison to OS X and Aqua! I predict that disenchanted windows users will swarm to the Macintosh running Aqua in great number during the last half of this year!

The only thing left for Steve to do is make Aqua cross-platform (Intel and AMD) compatible! Will this ever happen? (After all, why would Apple take sales away from its own hardware?) Apple might do this, if after some time with Aqua being on the market, Steve decides to pillage MS further. He certainly has the clout to persuade the Board running Apple to do that. Will he? Time will tell.

However, there is a whole other issue here that is not so obvious amid all the noise surrounding Aqua. The burning question I want to anwser is: Will the new high speed Apple computers, once they are operating OS X with Aqua, still be Macintoshes?

We have written about the paradigm of the Macintosh Way here before. It is a way of doing something on a machine that has a free and open mindset designed into it. It is beautiful, and almost magic, the way the Mac allows its user to grow confident and begin to create things in a very personal way. I know these new Apple computers running OS X will be awesome machines of great potential and power. The burning question is over all the basic OS X changes in “How Things Are Done!” Will these new computers have somehow lost that certain rare quality of freedom that makes them uniquely Macintosh? Or will their basic design paradigm make them entirely something “Different” for us to try to define and quantify? It is possible that we are looking at the end of the Mac here, and most of us are not even aware of it!

What about all us ‘old guys and gals’ who are so faithful to the Macintosh Paradigm? Where would this leave us, if these new machines are no longer Macintoshes? Stevo isn’t worried at all! Remember that the standard Borg rejoinder here is, “You will adapt!” And we probably will, after we spend some time clutching tightly to our OS 9 and whining loud and long (don’t we do it well?) Many of us will adapt to the Aqua OS and get on with our lives. Some of us might even like it. A few of us will hate it, and never leave OS 9. Hopefully, the resourceful majority of us veteran users will find some way to use Aqua and still do things the way we are used to doing them: That’s the Macintosh Way! Therefore, I predict that there will be a bunch of freeware and shareware “fixes” coming out soon to make Aqua more palatable to those of us who care about our Macintoshes! Thank goodness that the underpinnings of the OS X UNIX kernel is so adaptable! (Does anyone think there is some money to be made here?)

So, will the Mac live on? Will it continue to exist? I want this question answered a lot more than I want to get all the answers about Aqua and OS X.

If I could buttonhole Mr. Jobs, I would politely and truly thank him for saving Apple and restoring the company to strength and power. Apple might be dead otherwise. Then I might address some petty issues as well. I would tell him that it wouldn’t hurt to make a Graphite version of the Aqua for all the business users Apple has seemingly abandoned. (Businesses hate all that candy color!) Perhaps while he was at it, he could find some way to give us back our Finder too, because we Mac addicts already miss it so desperately! I would also tell him to fuggetabout Sherlock and iReview! (See! I can whine with the best of ’em!)

But the one, burning question I would ask Mr. Jobs is, “Will these insanely great new computers still be Macs?” I wonder if he knows?

Roger Born

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