Apple Enterprise Letters, Page

 
 
By Matthew Rothenberg  |  Posted 2002-05-10 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


4"> Apple Enterprise Letters, Page 4

This is a bit long, but you have opened up my can o worms.
I agree with much of what you say, but I am concerned on deeper level than you are considering. More than going outside the box, Apple has to go outside its own building.
First of all, this OS must have drivers written before it will have mass acceptance. It is beyond my comprehension that a company that focuses on the publishing world has no scanner drivers that support legacy professional gear and very few printer drivers. This not only true for the usual vendor suspects, but the thermal printers needed in point-of-sale and inventory applications, too. For a company focused on education and the physically challenged, there are no touch-screen drivers for OS X.
I have spoken to all the major vendors of these types of products, and Apple has not only never been in contact with them, they are skeptical that there is a market for their product. Its a chicken- and-egg proposition. Where is the evangelism? People can not change from Mac OS 9 and abandon their investments in these important—and in some instances life-supporting— peripherals, no matter what features are in the core OS. I fear my point will be proven with the rollout of [Adobe] Photoshop 7. This is an awesome product and will run in both versions of the OS. I will wager that most people will still use it in OS 9 because of their serious investment in plug-ins that only run in 9. And since it [complies with Apples Carbon APIs], it runs very well in 9, too. The same for QuarkXPress, Illustrator and Director and other extensible applications where the investment to make their computing tools customized and efficient cant be compromised with a move to OS X until it can be replicated completely. And the cost has to be justified in increased productivity more than pretty screens. Admit it: OS X is consistently slower than OS 9 on many routines. The confidence in Apple is also diminished by the failure to deliver as promised. People invested in hardware and were assured that those products would support OS X. These products with ATI video cards run, if at all, like molasses uphill in winter. Not a great incentive to permanently switch. Now with 32MB video cards as a requirement, almost no one can use the new functionality of 10.2 without new hardware. And dont get me started on the mess the ADC connector creates in real life. If Apple does kill OS 9 at this time, it will be very premature, IMHO. X is not done yet. Even Microsoft, IBM and Sun continue to sell and support older versions until their customer base can evaluate and test new configurations on the new systems. If people are forced to pay more for the same functionality, from a company that failed to deliver on promises, they will have a stronger inclination to look elsewhere. That elsewhere is no longer limited to Microsoft. There are Darwin and Linux distributions, plus OpenOffice that will extend life of older Macs for a lot of people. And many can accept these for a fine small workgroup server or print spooler, too. And sad to say, if you have a problem in the open-source world you will get quicker answers from that community than from Apple, too. Support from Apple is an oxymoron. Go to the Genius Bar at the Apple store and ask them for advice outside their playbook and they dont have anyplace to send you. Go to their phone support, a paid third party, and they can only read what they have in front of them. And then its only going to help you on the OS itself (maybe) and nothing to do with any third-party product, even the ones Apple sells you directly. For developers, Apple has got to give parity to Carbon applications and open all the toolboxes. The font handling in Carbon is awful because it cant reach the Quartz engine. The average person doesnt know this and cant see any difference in most Carbon ports, so once again an advantage for switching to X is lost. Worse, an incentive to port to X is lost. The ports are not that easy, either. The tools Apple provides are late and poorly documented. Photoshop was the first app shown in X at Macworld, and 18 months later it ships as a Carbon port. It wont be for many years, if ever, that we see a Cocoa application from Adobe. Its too much code to hand fix and Adobe, as big as it is, cant afford to do it. Microsoft cant even do it. What does this say for the hundreds of smaller developers out there. Lastly, I wont go into the failings of Apples distribution channel or the disregard for Apples resellers and consultants in the ASE or now the ACN (new name, same stuff so far). We will just tackle this ... Look at Mac OS Xs Aqua interface. It dazzles until you use it. It breaks every rule in Apples own user-interface guidelines. It breaks Fitts Law. Most of these rules were written by Apple a long time ago, not to support an ego or "cool factor" but to make users get work done easier. That is all gone. For 20 years, the ease-of-use mantra was what defined Apple. Can you honestly say that OS X is easier to use? I cant. But if I want to put a skin and behavior back on X the way I like it, I cant because Apple wont let me. Well, if Adobe can write InDesign so I can import Quark files and manipulate the files with the same shortcuts as Quark, then Apple can let me rework the OS X interface to have the same interface and usability as 9 and the same keyboard shortcuts. But they refuse and stop others who try. They want me to give up 20 years of learned behavior, and that is tough to do. Why should I have to? The interface is harder to learn. And installing and managing files is magnitudes more difficult. Where are the file-management tools? Where are the disk-management tools? Where are any tools that can help you fix common problems? Symantecs tools dont yet work. Retrospect cant work the OS 9 way, either. And why must I keep my files where Apple tells me? If I move them, then updaters cant update. Heck, they cant even see them on the disk. There is no Unix reason for this. In OS 9, I can put things where I want. And the need for .3 file extensions instead of creator types is a major step backwards. Its fair to say that Unix is complex. I will accept additional complexity with the corresponding training. But ... There is no credible, affordable training of any kind offered by Apple for this change. They have gone from the "I dont need training, this is a Mac" attitude to a "Wow, IBM gets $1,500 a class so we can, too" attitude. Yet they dont have the same curriculum developers, they dont have the same guarantees of learning. They dont have any credible certification to warrant those prices. In fact, their courses are an insult to experienced users and only confuse the novice (who will not spend $1,500 to learn how to operate a $799 computer) If someone will spend this kind of money, they have great expectations, and they will have to explain to somebody why they should spend it on just a Mac. I could go on, but I think I have made my point(s). Hope you have input for a few weeks articles. Thanks for listening and supporting the Mac. Mitch Krayton
Sales, engineering, consulting, support
Apple Product Professional
Digital Resources
Valencia, Calif.
P.S.: In case you dont know, I am an Apple VAR and have used Apple products to run my business for 20 years. I have held every designation that Apple has offered (and they told no one about). I love Apple products, not command-line products. I want them to work like Apple products that I can use and support as I have done in the past. Is this really too much to ask?
Mac veteran Matthew Rothenberg is online editor for Ziff Davis Medias Baseline and CIO Insight magazines.



 
 
 
 
Online News Editor
matthew_rothenberg@ziffdavisenterprise.com
Matthew has been associated with Ziff Davis' news efforts for more than a decade, including an eight-year run with the print and online versions of MacWEEK. He also helped run the news and opinion operations at ZDNet and CNet. Matthew holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rocket Fuel