Mac Scope

The Mac and the Restless

Stephen Van Esch - 2001.01.24

Macworld has come and gone, and Mac users certainly weren't disappointed. A slew of great announcements and one PowerBook G4sweet sweet PowerBook release kept the Mac folk happy.

Unfortunately, the Mac lover is not the type of creature that, shall we say, puts down roots. Jobs had scarcely whipped the cover off the Titanium PowerBook when people began asking what the next great thing would be.

I asked a friend of mine what he thought of the new PowerBook. Nice, he responded, but I think I'll wait for the dual processor PowerBook to be release later this year. Practical to the core (like myself), my friend was looking to the next great leap instead of breaking in (and catching all the bugs and problems) a brand spanking new model.

This restlessness sometimes translates into some ire towards Apple - and rightfully so. While Apple hasn't really been dragging its heels, it hasn't been champing at the bit either. The amount of time that has elapsed since the last PowerBook revision was a little long (eleven months). The wait for OS X has been even longer. These extended cycles can have a negative impact on the company's image.

Granted, when Apple delivers, Mac users usually get far more than they expected. Unfortunately, the long wait can tarnish the final product.

Investors are also a skittish bunch. Long pauses between the introduction of new products makes some people nervous. "What the heck are they doing in the castle on the hill?" is likely a common question for anyone watching Apple. Granted, Mac lovers know the company will deliver (witness the iMac, the Cube, the G3 and G4, etc.) but less devoted folk might start feeling a little nervous.

Announcements at more regular intervals might help Apple in the long run. I'm sure that Steve Jobs' showmanship leans more towards slam dunks and home runs, but throwing Mac users something between shows (beyond speed bumps and minor upgrades) would help keep the press and investors happy.

Mac users would also get to scratch their restless itch more often. Rather than a massive blowout a couple of time a year, we'd be continuously distracted by new things from Apple throughout the year.

Of course, there a only so many things that Apple can produce. A Titanium PowerBook is not the type of thing that Apple can introduce every month.

However, a steady trickle all year long might be better than a sudden torrent. At least Mac users wouldn't wind up dazed and confused after a flood of product announcements.

And we'd get to scratch the itch more often.

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