Sunday, April 15, 2007

Apple's OS delay: iLife, iWork, NetInfo, remote control -> it's bad

Mac Geeks are mostly fairly complacent about Apple's five month schedule slip to OS X desktop (vs. OS X TV, OS X iPhone, and OS X video iPod). The most knowledgeable, however, are quietly cautious. Gruber isn't saying this is bad, but my read is that he's starting to worry about Apple's priorities.

I'm also unhappy. It's not just OS X. I expected an Apple replacement for AppleWorks over a year ago. Microsoft still owns the only mass market spreadsheet solution on the Mac [1], and it's tied to buying into their entire suite of file formats. iPhoto hasn't had a major update in over a year, and it needs some serious help (such as importing Libraries). We don't have any adequate remote control solution for the Mac -- that's several years behind Windows. Apple's NetInfo based home and corporate network solutions are a mix of state-of-the-art and vintage 1978 unix. Aperture 1.5 is far slower than it should be, and the best explanations point to weaknesses in OS X data services. We all know the OS X Finder is very weak, and that OS X hasn't not yet equaled MacOS Classic file management. Simple Finder is a farce and OS usability leaves much to be desired. Not to mention the Dock ...

Oh, yes, and Safari. The browser that's stuck in 2004. The range of web sites that Safari supports shrinks every month. Google barely supports Safari; anyone who uses Blogger or Gmail with Firefox or IE can't tolerate Safari on Google. Hmm. Safari barely works on Google? Might as well say it doesn't work at all. There is a far better version of Safari in Apple's labs, but it's waiting on 10.5.

Speaking of core OS X applications, don't users deserve a version of that loses massive email repositories less often?

Apple clearly has issues with their computing solutions that go beyond OS X. The saving grace for Apple is that XP is ailing and Vista is about as appealing as a root canal. Even so, there's no room for complacency. They're failing in more than one domain and OS X still has a vast amount of unrealized potential.

[1] Time for me to again test OpenOffice. The last time I tried it wasn't ready for my wife. Happily Nisus Writer Express is quite good.

Update: I almost forgot about Safari and Mail. app.

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