Although you could hardly call this weekend’s rollout of Mac OS X low key, the hoopla and hype certainly isn’t as big and loud as it could be. And Apple itself is, more or less, downplaying the event, in keeping with the company’s view of Mac OS X acceptance as a gradual thing throughout the rest of the year and beyond.
Charles Haddad, who writes the Byte of the Apple column for Business Week Online says the lack of hoopla is to give the market time to catch up to Mac OS X.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say Apple was treating OS X like an illegitimate child who gets spirited away to a distant relative,”
Haddad wrote. “But Steve Jobs & Co. have nothing to be ashamed of. Just the opposite. OS X is a fine piece of work, and Apple’s stealth campaign is a wise choice. You see, OS X is way ahead of the cart. It can run most of the software already out there, but there isn’t much code written yet that can tap its new powers, nor will there be until at least the summer. In addition, there are many Macs that won’t be able to handle OS X.”
So why, then, is Apple releasing OS X so far out ahead of the market? The columnist believes it’s because the company understands that it won’t be an easy sell because of the high RAM requirements, shortage of (for now) new software, and the fact that OS X will take some explaining to average users.
(By the way, if you want to see if your Mac is ready for Mac OS X, check out Apple’s
OS X/hardware specs. If your system is on the list, your Mac will run Mac OS X, provided it meets the other requirements.)
“For most people, the Mac works well enough as it is. Sure, OS X’s throbbing colored buttons and photo-real graphics are cool — but maybe not cool enough to get people to shell out $129 for a new operating system,” Haddad said. “…. Apple is letting users get acquainted with OS X at their leisure. Its Web site is now packed with well-written articles about OS X, lists of coming software, and a growing number of downloadable betas of OS X software.”
All this is part of an effort to build a groundswell for OS X in the next six months. By then, the company hopes, some good new applications will be on the market that’ll make OS X a compelling buy, he added.
“That’s why Mar. 24 will come and go without much fanfare by Apple Computer,” Haddad said. “The time to roll out the red carpet and sound the trumpets will come later, when OS X wins grassroots support on its own merits.”