2001: As of this Saturday, the single largest system software release since the Mac’s inception is ready for public consumption (finally!).
Mac users will no longer have to endure the slings and arrows of the Wintel crowd regarding protected memory. Mac users will no longer have to put up with crazy extensions bringing the system down.
Of course, Mac OS X will likely bring a whole new set of problems with it, and I can’t see MacFixIt shutting its doors anytime soon.*
Now that the new OS is out there, the really hard work is ahead of Apple (and us, if you’re the Mac evangelical type).
A single word comes to mind: promote.
Apple must promote the heck out of this operating system. It must be in the face of consumers and businesses. It must tout this operating system as the best thing since sliced bread. It roasts, it toasts, and it burns. It slices, it dices, and it grills.
Sounds like a bad infomercial?
Ever seen how much money people make off of infomercials?
Apple has neglected the software side of its business when it comes to promotion. It’s much easier to show off a beautiful computer than the software that runs on it. This has to change. Particularly because Apple has a lot riding on OS X.
Healthy promotion of a product inspires confidence in buyers. Microsoft is a master of building up its products. Windows is the best operating system for everything under the sun. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it at Redmond. Microsoft is the only way to go. Whether this is true or not is, of course, a matter of opinion, but Microsoft appears to have convinced a good number of users that their product is the best around.
This kind of chutzpah (even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary) is something that no other software developer seems to have mastered. Apple prefers to rely on word of mouth more than, say, a head-to-head demonstration.
This cannot be the case with OS X. Break out the fire breathers, strike up the band, and let the world know that there is a better way.
While many of us will enthusiastically support the new OS, Apple must also show support for its own products. In addition to listing the impressive specs of OS X, Apple should be shouting from the rooftops that this is an OS that no one can do without.
Is it the truth?
Not exactly. OS X is a great operating system, and it does outperform the competition by a wide margin.
Is it an OS people can’t live without?
Not really. But then again, the other big players in the computer industry didn’t get where they are today by being completely honest.
* Update: MacFixIt was one of the best troubleshooting sites on the Web. Period. It launched in March 1996, a year before Low End Mac, and remained a fixture through one new media owner after another. But in March 2014, CNN dropped the MacFixIt brand – a truly sad way of commemorating its 18th year.