iClone Software No Threat to Apple
Apple's 'i' applications gained popularity with Mac fans almost immediately after iMovie was introduced. iMovie was popular because of its ease of use. Before iMovie, it was difficult to edit your own digital movie without some knowledge of existing video editing software.
When iTunes arrived, it became almost everyone's default MP3 player application, making Windows users wish that an application like this would be released for their OS.
With OS X 10.2 came iChat and iCal, both of which have room for improvement.
Some of these Windows users apparently realised that wishing wasn't good enough - they would actually clone applications for their OS. So out came AquaTunes, an OS X like browser, 'Finder' type file browser, iChat like chat client, and Mail-like E-mail application. Run all of these at once and you might even fool yourself into thinking you're somehow running OS X on a Windows PC.
But that's as far as it goes.
Open it up, and AquaTunes* looks exactly like iTunes. However, looks are deceiving. Unlike the real iTunes, which lets you to set up playlists, edit file information, view visualisations, and use the equalizer, AquaTunes, does none of that. In fact, all it does is play one MP3 at a time. Try to drag a file into the window - nothing happens. You must click import and select the file in an open file dialogue box. Once the file is done playing, the application almost always crashes.
- * Editor's note: I used Google to search the Web, but was unable to find a link for AquaTunes. You can be very certain that Apple legal will be all over them for use of the Apple logo - if they haven't already done so. dk
AquaBrowser looks just like IE for Mac OS X, even with a menu bar at the top of the screen. But the menu bar is false; clicking on menu items does nothing, and you cannot change preferences. It does load pages very quickly, but loading pages is about the only thing it does.
AquaFinder is also somewhat useless. Upon opening it, you feel like you're running Mac OS X - and you can browse folders quickly and easily (I so much prefer the Mac OS method to the 'Explorer' type interface that is the default in Windows 98 and above). The toolbar buttons even work. The menu bar at the top only works sometimes. I say this because clicking on an item often does nothing, but occasionally the menu will pop up. However, selecting a menu item does nothing either.
iTalk has a welcome screen exactly like that of iChat, but alas, it is not AOL Instant Messenger compatible, and you must have an MSN account in order to use it.
AquaMail also has the same welcome screen as the Mac OS X Mazil program, but I didn't set it up fully.
These applications are a great attempt by someone with a real "do it yourself" attitude, which is great. "Apple won't release it, we'll do it." And they did - sort of.
If only these apps would work as well as they do on the Mac, but unfortunately AquaTunes is practically useless, and the other apps aren't much better. But it does show that it can be done.
I realise that Apple is trying to help convert users to its platform with their i-applications, so they will probably try to prevent the developers of these "clones" from continuing with their work.
I hope that Apple will leave them alone. I don't think these apps are a threat - in fact, they might help sell more Macs. If people start to like the OS X interface after using it on their PC, they might be tempted to buy a Mac.
This is a project I had been hoping for someone to undertake the minute I first started using iTunes, and I am very curious to see how these cloned applications will change and (hopefully) improve in future versions.
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