Although Apple and many Mac users would disagree, Business Week columnist Charles Haddad doesn’t think Mac OS X is shaping up as a big draw. In an online column, he wrote that last week’s crowd at Macworld San Francisco were not impressed and that “developers are reluctant to rewrite applications.”
Haddad felt the crowd at Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote was unenthusiastic about the latest changes to Mac OS X. And he said that the reaction was the same throughout the show as Apple presenters ran the OS X demo again and again throughout the day.
“After thinking about it, I’m forced to confess — much as I hate to — that Mac enthusiasts have become very comfortable in our old age,” Haddad said. “Sure, the current OS is deeply flawed, but we love it the way we would an eccentric old aunt. Yeah, more stability would be nice — but at what price? Apparently, a complete reworking of our beloved old operating system is too expensive, at least for now, so Apple wants us to embrace OS X as an alternative.”
He said that Apple knows that OS X will be a tough sell, to both end users and developers. Haddad adds that, though Microsoft has announced plans to bring its Mac apps to OS X “it hasn’t even begun the massive job of rewriting Word, Excel, and Entourage for OS X.” (Apparently, he’s referring to Cocoa, not Carbon, versions of the apps.) To make up for the lack of OS X, Haddad said Apple is releasing its own software such as iTunes and iDVD.
“But, alas, I don’t think either iTunes or iDVD will be enough to win a critical mass of followers for OS X,” he said. “For that to happen, the bulk of Mac developers will have to write new programs as exciting as iTunes and iDVD. I think Jobs and company are in for the fight of their lives in establishing OS X as the standard in the Mac community.”
Personally, this reporter thought the keynote crowd reacted favorably to the OS X demo Jobs offered at MWSF. As for a dearth of products, the Apple CEO said during his keynote that 400 developers are committed to bringing 1,200 “brand name” apps to Mac OS X.
Also, at the trade show, Kevin Browne, general manager for the Macintosh Business Unit demonstrated, for the first time, a Carbon version of Office 2001 running on Mac OS X. He said that Office for OS X would be available in the fall. See our Jan. 10 article for details. (Thanks to MacCentral reader, Christopher Lanza, for the heads-up on this article.)