Mac Scope

Boring Old Software in Paris?

Stephen Van Esch - 2001.08.22

For the first time in recent memory, Apple has announced the contents of Jobs' keynote for the Paris Expo:

Let the games begin.

Beyond picking sides in what will likely be a heated debate, I think this is a welcome move by Apple.

No, I don't mean that this is a welcome move because Apple is being so transparent about the situation. What I mean is that it's great that Apple is focussing on the software more than ever.

While Apple's most visible difference is its hardware, the software is where most PC to Mac conversions will occur. Many users may look at an iMac, admire it, and then turn away because the conversion costs are simply too high for what many see as a cosmetic switch.

For many Mac users, the exterior shell is a negligible part of the computing experience. Many would stick with aging hardware if they were given a choice between a speed hit and converting to Windows.

While Apple has done a decent job of trumpeting iTunes, iMovie, and other software in its stable, the Mac OS is sorely neglected. Granted, Microsoft doesn't explicitly advertise its OS either, but I suspect that Apple would do a little better in the marketplace if it actually let the world know that the difference runs far deeper than the hardware.

Even for those who know that Apple produces a different OS, it would be a welcome shot in the arm to see some real promotion of the OS and its benefits. Remember the gorgeous two page PowerBook inserts that could be folded out? The folded out version was the same size as a real PowerBook.

Maybe I've missed it, but something similarly eye catching in a major publication would be nice to see.

Apple demo days were designed to showcase Apple's product line, the OS included. The new Apple stores will also help Apple show off the OS. However, demo days and Apple showrooms are few and far between, meaning that pushing the Mac OS into the major media outlets would do a lot to help Apple sell more machines.

Of course, some people will only be satisfied with snazzy new hardware that makes a statement about them and complements their surroundings. Too bad for them. The Mac OS finally has a chance to take center stage.

Kudos to Apple for finally sounding the OS horn. It'll be a helpful boost to the Mac community.

Unless, of course, the announcement is just a decoy.

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Stephen Van Esch is the founder and president of the E-learning Foundry, an online training resource for Mac users. Steve loves the Mac and is doubly bilingual, since he's also fluent in Windows and French.

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