When Apple released Mac OS X in March of this year, they did so without most of the major developers shipping an application designed for the new operating system. In fact, on the day of the release, Apple had 350 applications available for Mac OS X.
Things sure have changed in the seven months since its release — there are now over 1600 applications available for the operating system, with more on the way. “Developers have been working at it,” Ron Okamoto Apple’s vice president of worldwide developer relations, told MacCentral in a recent interview. “From the beginning, so many of the major developers knew that OS X was going to be important and jumped on the bandwagon early.”
The recent release of Mac OS X 10.1 made the operating system ready for “primetime” and also brought more developers on board. Several high-end programs like Alias|Wavefront’s Maya have been released and Adobe has pledged support for Mac OS X by announcing their first two products designed for the new operating system — Illustrator and InDesign.
“I can’t think of any developer that hasn’t given us great responses on what we’ve done with 10.1,” Okamoto said. “It’s been great seeing the reception we’ve been getting.”
Earlier this year, Dominique Goupil, president of FileMaker Inc. said his company would be one of the first to ship all of its products native for OS X. Since then, FileMaker has shipped FileMaker Pro 5.5 — one of the first major commercial applications for Mac OS X, according to FileMaker — FileMaker Server 5.5 and FileMaker Developer 5.5. The company also indicated to MacCentral that FileMaker Unlimited 5.5 is set to ship shortly and FileMaker Mobile 1.1 will ship before the end of the year.
“We are pleased to report that we have already shipped as many as 200,000 combined copies of FileMaker Pro 5.5, FileMaker Server 5.5 and FileMaker Developer 5.5 for Mac OS X worldwide,” Kevin Mallon of FileMaker, told MacCentral. “Globally, we have several million customers. Therefore having FileMaker Pro 5.5 available for Mac OS X means that literally millions of existing applications are automatically compatible with OS X. For instance, every FileMaker solution now running on OS 9 you can now run on OS X.”
One of the most anticipated releases for OS X will be Microsoft Office v. X, due in November. The Office v. X suite includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage, the email and personal information manager first introduced with Office 2001.
All of the applications in the Office suite have undergone changes in their appearance adding Aqua buttons and dialog boxes. When making the Aqua interface the MacBU redesigned many of the buttons and took advantage of the many features in the operating system. “We wanted to make our apps a great expression of OS X and not just Carbon,” Kevin Browne, general manager for the Macintosh Business Unit, told MacCentral in an interview a month ago.
In late September, Microsoft announced Word X Test Drive, a scaled-down version of Microsoft Word X, for their users. The test drive is designed take advantage of Mac OS X technologies such as Sheets, the Quartz Drawing Layer, as well as the Aqua interface. And to date Word Test Drive has garnered over 70,000 downloads from interested users.
“We are extremely pleased with the level of response we have had in the Test Drive so far,” Erik Ryan, product manager for the MacBU told MacCentral. “It’s clear, based on the enthusiasm and positive feedback we are hearing from customers, that the Mac community is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Office v. X.”
While high-end business applications, like Office v. X, are getting their fair share of attention, other developers are reporting similar success with their public beta downloads. Deneba Software released a public beta of Canvas 8 for OS X in September — in the 30 days the beta was available the company recorded 12,000 downloads from Mac OS X users. Just over a week ago, Deneba started shipping Canvas and the company reported to MacCentral that sales for the product have been very strong.
“A graphics software project of this size demands that all parties concerned maintain a close working relationship,” Manny Menendez, president of Deneba Software, told MacCentral. “From the onset Apple made it clear that they would strive to assist our R&D team with OS X updates or other related technical information as soon as possible. They always provided a high level of professional cooperation and worked very closely with us during the development of Canvas 8 for the Mac OS X operating system.”
Corel Corp. may be one of the companies currently shipping the most OS X applications. Current products on the market for Corel include Corel Graphics Suite 10 for Macintosh, Bryce 5, KPT effects and Painter 7. Corel also said their OS X products have surpassed sales targets.
“Corel is very pleased to have already released four products designed for OS X — with one more coming next month. For a total of five OS X releases in one summer — you could say we’re pretty ecstatic,” Rick Fortin, Program Manager, Corel Graphics Suite 10 for Macintosh, told MacCentral. “Since we started developing for OS X, Apple has provided us with exceptional support and our development for OS X continues to garner rave reviews.”
Macromedia released FreeHand 10 for Mac OS X in May and are very pleased with the reception the application has received from the community. Macromedia also reports a speed boost for FreeHand after the release of Mac OS X 10.1.
“Macromedia FreeHand has always had a strong following within the Macintosh design community, and that tradition is definitely continuing with Mac OS X,” said Lisa Crounse, product marketing manager, Macromedia. “With Mac OS X 10.1, we have found that FreeHand is performing much faster across the board to provide a better user experience for our large designer base.”
NewTek, makers of Lightwave 3D, actually released a demo of their product in November, 2000 — four months before OS X was available. Being so quick off the mark seems to have paid off for them and Apple.
“In September, for the first time in NewTek’s history, we sold more copies of LightWave 3D for the Macintosh than for Windows,” Kriss Craig, worldwide marketing communications manager, 3D for NewTek, told MacCentral. “We strongly believe that this is a result of the customer confidence in the new 10.1 release from Apple, and the commitment from NewTek and from other professional software becoming available for Mac OS X.”
LightWave 3D is a 3D modeling and animation application that has long been popular with designers in television and film production. The latest version, LightWave , runs on both OS 9 and OS X, but OS X is recommended, according to NewTek.
Craig said NewTek and Apple have worked very closely recently, and in September, when the 7.0b update for LightWave 3D was released, it included optimizations for AltiVec (Velocity Engine), which sped up render times for LightWave by significant amounts.
“We are strongly committed to the Mac platform and are very excited about Mac OS X,” Craig said.
Mac OS X is going to give Apple the opportunity to bring developers of other operating systems to the Mac — without the Unix underpinnings, this would not have been possible. Apparently, there has been interest from some of these developers.
“One area we’re getting a lot of interest from is Unix, Linux and Java developers, Ron Okamoto said. “For a lot of these developers it’s an opportunity to bring their products to a market they’ve never been able to touch before. Besides the OS 9 developers that are moving over, OS X is going to be a huge opportunity for us to work with developers that may have never had the ability to run applications on a machine like the Mac.”