Lately I’ve been seeing a tremendous amount of joy over such things as being able to run Widows applications on Macs via Virtual PC (and there’s another emulator coming out soon, too) as well as SoftWindows (which never caught on due to slowness) and porting the Next Mac OS to Intel platforms.
Am I the only one who looks at this with trepidation?
Assume I’m a developer. I know that Mac users won’t accept ugly and ill-designed, so I can either just get-it-out-the-door-and-let-Windows-users-love-it or work on it until it meets the desires of Mac users. Well, my goal as a developer is one thing: make money now. That means I put out second-rate products for Windows and maybe later put out something for the Mac.
But with products such as VPC, I no longer have to do that. “Just get VPC and run our Windows version.” This will cut my development time and let me say that I am totally cross-platform.
The same is true for Java. If I can design one program which can run on any platform which can run Java, I’m still going to design it to appeal to the greatest number of users: the everybody-else-uses-it-so-I-should-too Windows crowd. Once again, instead of a clean, intuitive interface, Mac users will be stuck with the garish, ugly, “Windows standard.”
Already, Adobe is doing exactly this. Adobe is currently the number one seller of software to the Mac market, having moved ahead of Microsoft. Their programs have the same, “Adobe” look, a look which is very similar to the Windows look. Most recently, Illustrator (which had been several years and versions ahead on the Mac over the Windows version) was redesigned and reconverted to the Adobe look for both platforms. The result: few improvements for the Mac, a loss of some valuable features (the number of layers, for example, is now limited compared to the previous version) and a vast improvement for the Windows crowd.
It seems to me that the joy of more availability is hiding the sad fact that the result may also mean a loss of the unique quality of the intuitive and clean interface programs have used with the Mac and an impending “Windowsization” of applications in the future. To me, this means the death of the Mac. The Mac won’t die due to small market share, it will simply become assimilated into the Borg, er, Microsoft collective.
Or am I the only one who feels this way?
Reliable Doesn’t Sell
One of the primary reasons that Macs have such a small market share is that they don’t break down. You don’t need to buy a new one every two years like the Wintel boat anchors.
An annoying by product of that is that when they do break down it’s hard to find someone to repair them. Quite a few of the people who used to fix them no longer do so because there’s no money in it. Usually you reinstall the system and all is well.
Comp USA, here in St. Louis, has a guy who comes in one afternoon a week to work on Mac’s. So if yours breaks down the day after his visit, you wait a week. Comp USA sales personnel always treat you like dirt if you are Mac oriented. I went to buy a Mac Color printer and they told me not to do so. “They don’t work.” Any request for help from them and you are treated with contempt for owning a Mac. Yet they are an Apple Authorized Dealer.
Mac should drop their quality to help support the repair people? I think not.
More Info = More Control
Hi, my name is Tony and I just read your article on Finder improvements in the most recent ATPM issue. I read that one thing that you felt could be improved was the type/creator system. I agree with you, but in a different way. There are ways to easily manipulate the file type and creator, using the extension “Get More Info” or the control panel “Snitch.” both of these let you open up a window (by pressing command-option-i or just command-i resepctively) and allow you to manually type in the type and creator or choose from a list of common ones. The lists can be edited to include types and creators of programs used most by the user. You probably know about this, but I think it would be easier to have a get more info or some time of thing built into the finder. I personally find Mac Easy Open a pain cuz most of the time, it lists programs that I don’t even want to open the file with, and the preferred stuff gets annoying like when you said you want to open a pict file with Photoshop instead of its original creator.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about our publication. We always welcome your comments, criticisms, suggestions, and praise at email@example.com. Or, if you have an opinion or announcment about the Macintosh platform in general, that’s ok too.