I spend too much time on the ‘net. This over abundance of time spent clicking hither and yon means I read a lot Mac oriented commentary and lately some of the bitching is starting to bug me. I’ve got no problem with a little well placed criticism of Apple, heck any company can do things a little better and most corporations can probably do most things a lot better. The thing that’s getting to me is that some folks apparently want Apple serve up a perfect computer with a super zippy custom system designed just for that particular user and sell the whole mess for a nickel.
What They Want
The criticism usually starts with some whining about OS X. OS X, some pundits opine, is simply to slow and/or uses too much memory. According to these folks OS 9 happily zips along setting the land speed record for computing. This same group of folks then avers that they, in fact, prefer OS 9. Well, you think the problem would be settled, just use OS 9. But no, they want to use OS X for some reason (self abuse?). I suppose that taken alone that criticism may have some validity, I mean who doesn’t want a faster operating system? Unfortunately some writers continue to whine about the speed issue, they swear that since their computer is a mere two years old it should run the latest OS in a very quick manner. That’s right, it’s not enough that a two-year-old computer runs OS X satisfactorily, it has to positively fly to satisfy these folks. That’s a pretty tall order; make a computer so fast that it rivals the machines of two years in the future or an OS so slick it will run happily on an abacus. Naturally enough the complaining doesn’t stop; heck these folks live to whine. The next oft heard bitch is the one about Panther. People bitching about an OS that they can’t even get? Yep. Why? It might cost money. This is one of the most egregious examples I have ever seen of whining just because you like the sound of your voice. These folks don’t even know what Panther does, for all they know Panther might come boxed with a trained monkey that washes windows and mows the lawn. I suppose it doesn’t really matter what Panther does, just as long as it’s a free upgrade. Well, that’s not true, it better be free AND plenty zippy. Of course the performance and price of the OS isn’t enough. These fonts of acrid opinion are huge proponents of a cheaper Mac. Yep, Macs cost entirely too much for these fellas, why can’t Apple just come out with a sub five hundred dollar box (Of course it’s going to have to be a real zippy five hundred dollar box)? Still that’s not all, Apple isn’t growing OS X fast enough, after all most people still use OS 8 or 9. To spur growth, one writer opined, Apple should give away copies of OS X like AOL gives away CD-ROMs.
What Apple Must Do
So now all Apple really has to do is make a two hundred and fifty dollar box (dual processors, top o the line video card, gotta be fast) make a OS so slick it will run on old hardware at the speed of light, give away OS X to everyone, update 9 on a daily basis and capture 90% of the market by next Tuesday. A pretty tall order even for the folks on Infinite Loop.
What Apple Should Do
Oddly enough I think that Apple has a bit more, ummm, experience in these matters than the chattering heads of nay saying zombies. Apple probably has done research that shows most people never shell out for a single OS upgrade (I never have). Most people buy a computer and stick with the OS that it came with. The simple reason is that most people buy computers to do something. Say surf the web, or edit photos. They collect the necessary software for the task they have in mind and use the computer for the intended task until, for whatever reason, they decide they need a new computer. Industry wide that reason hasn’t come up very often lately. I am hard pressed to think of anything I actually need to do that a beige G3 running 8 wouldn’t accomplish. I bought new computers cause I’m a sucker for that stuff but my parents remain perfectly satisfied with the original Bondi iMac. So growing OS X adoption isn’t the crisis these folks seem to think it is, they key was getting the developers on board and that’s a task that’s nearly complete. As far as the old saw that Panther is actually going to cost money I would like to point out that Apple is a for profit company, that no one is forcing anyone to buy and use a particular operating and, since Jaguar seems to piss these folks off so much, Apple is doing you a favor by not giving you Panther for free, it would probably cause an embolism or something. The notion that Apple should come out with a cheap box sounds cool but then the same folks would whine about the cheap box. They’d call it crippled or something and tell everyone to stay away from it. So I implore Apple to stay the course, I think they are headed in the right direction, keep making the computers faster, the iApps more appealing and give people reasons to upgrade or switch. If the products are compelling enough people will switch/upgrade and pay for the privilege and the whiners can be forgotten about.