iThings Considered

Enough Criticism, Apple Deserves a Break

Jake Sargent - 2001.03.23

"Several people who tested [Mac OS X] were surprised to discover such omissions in the operating system, which had been subject to repeated delays ostensibly to add a long line of features."
- Joe Wilcox, Mac OS X Missing Some Key Elements, Cnet, 3/20

When debating what the topic of this article should be, I considered writing about how irresponsible Apple is to release a new operating system before all of its own software products are compatible with it. It is irresponsible of them.

Creating a new operating system is a learning experience. The amount of knowledge that the Mac OS X team has obtained in the past few months alone is probably worth more than 4 years at Yale University.

Apple has surely realized by now that it's not a smart move to introduce an operating system that's not compatible with the hottest technology, so there's no need to shove it in their faces. That's why I say this: Enough with the criticism, already! Apple deserves a break.

I like to think of the March 24th OS X release as a second beta, if there were such a thing. Apple received lots of feedback from the first beta and adjusted the operating system accordingly. Now, at the "official launch," many features are still left out - but that's OK. The way I see it, the target customers for this release are the Mac faithful, who have been waiting for Mac OS X for years.

Novice and moderate Mac users may find the transition to Mac OS X a little overwhelming and having to upgrade the OS to work with optical drives a little too complicated. That's why I predict that Apple won't spend much money promoting Mac OS X until summer, at which point the majority of applications will be carbonized (fingers crossed), and Mac OS X will be compatible with a wider variety of third-party devices.

Whenever starting a new project, it's always a good idea to start simple and get whatever it is your trying to do working - then expand from there. It's the same thing with OS X, although the "getting it working" part is equivalent to getting it on the shelf. As of Saturday, Mac OS X will be on shelves for those who want it, and Apple will continue to expand on the in-store version by offering downloadable upgrades via the Apple web site.

You're not going to die if you have to pass up on burning the latest music CD on your Mac; we've gone without it for years. And if you can't live without your handy CD-RW, than this version of Mac OS X is not right for you. The Mac OS X team has been working on this project for years; how do you think it feels to have critics focusing on everything that's not included in the first release? So take it or leave it, but don't complain.

This Saturday should be a time to celebrate the arrival of OS X, not mourn what isn't there. Getting Mac OS X on store shelves is a huge step, and those who aren't willing to sacrifice a DVD or two should stick with Mac OS 9 or go buy a PC (you'll be crawling back to Aqua within minutes, trust me on that one).

Let's be procrastinators: spend this weekend celebrating X, and leave figuring out how to make it work with all of our existing hardware and software for another time.

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