In a meeting for the press today on its Cupertino Campus, Apple admitted that the final version of Mac OS X is missing some features and that they’re coming over the next few weeks in operating system updates.
As MacCentral has previously reported, the version of Mac OS X that goes on sale Saturday doesn’t offer DVD playback. It is also missing the ability to record CDs. However, those features are on the way, according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The ability to burn CDs will come in an April update. DVD playback is due later in the spring.
Jobs said that a few months ago Apple had to choose between having its development teams put the ability to record CDs on Apple’s own CD drives, or to add support for third-party CD burners into Mac OS 9.1, the company’s current OS. The company chose the latter path.
The CEO added that Apple plans to have a lasting product with OS X. The company wants something that lasts 15 years, he said (OS X is the first complete revamp of Apple’s operating system in 17 years). Still, putting together a major project such as this takes time. Jobs said that Apple had to choose between waiting until everything about Mac OS X was perfect or putting out a version, getting user feedback, and making improvements. The company chose the latter, the “viable” course, he said.
According to a CNET
article, David Bailey, an analyst at Gerard Klauer Mattison, said earlier this week that he doesn’t expect the new OS to immediately benefit Apple’s financial picture but said it is important for the company to launch the next-generation operating system.
“Practically and psychologically, it’s important to have it out there,” Bailey said.
There are other “gotchas” about the first release of Mac OS X. Purportedly, it does yet support the new GeForce graphics accelerator that goes on sale in April. And even some Apple products, such as Final Cut Pro 2.0, aren’t “certified” for the next generation operating system.
However, another CNET
story notes that, considering the seven-year job to deliver a next generation operating system, “just shipping OS X is a milestone.” Mac OS X delivers many of the same features Apple intended for its original next-generation operating system, code-named Copland, whose roots go back to 1994, CNET noted.
Despite this, some analysts told CNET that Mac OS X is still being released prematurely, without support for some of Apple’s latest hardware and software.
“Will it be released too soon? My answer would be yes,” Technology Business Research analyst Tim Deal told CNET.
Apple has painted itself into a corner and is counting on the high-margin sales that Mac OS X will provide, Deal said. “After an unprofitable quarter it is important to release a profitable, high-margin product,” he said.
The question is whether what’s inside OS X will be enough to prompt existing Apple owners to continue to buy new Macs, the story said. More important, analysts say, is whether it will allow Apple to expand its customer base.
“There are aspects of Mac OS X that will appeal to Windows users,” Deal told CNET. “Will it appeal enough to get them to leave an operating system they are comfortable with? That remains to be seen.”