if apple has its way, 2001 willlook very different for those of us who use Macs.Apple founder Steve Jobs loves to change the look of the machines his company makes, turning hard drives translucent and putting supercomputers into toaster-sized cartons. But none of Apple's dramatic overhauls of the past comes close to what Jobs has planned now.
In its various forms, the current Mac operating system has become the visual benchmark for computer interfaces, ripped off by Microsoft and ubiquitous in magazines, newspapers and TV reports. Any reference to computers on the nightly news inevitably includes a shot of an Apple-inspired screen, with a toolbar running across the top of the screen and a desktop filled with icons in the background.
Enjoy that while you can.
OS X (pronounced OS 10) is Apple's new operating system, and it completely changes the look, feel and image of the Mac. This can't be overstated.
For the last few months, I've been running the bulky new operating system, currently available in Beta format from www.apple.ca, on my machine at home, trying to figure out exactly why I don't like it.
Familiarity is a big reason. Beyond some early C-64 games, I've only ever used Macs, and give or take a few stylistic shifts, they've always looked the same on the screen. With OS X, it's hard at times to tell you're even using a Mac.
This is an operating system designed with the curves and funky colours of the iMac in mind. The standard desktop is gone, replaced by a floating toolbar called the Dock at the bottom of the aqua-tinted screen. It's graphically stunning -- when you move items in and out, they shrink and expand with a whoosh -- as is much of the new design. Pages fold into each other and stack up, using a variety of different colours so you don't have to collapse one document to see what's behind it.
The current Mac operating system is easy to use. OS X, for a number of reasons, is immensely frustrating. Nothing is easy to find, even files you saved only a moment ago, and once you figure out where those files are, getting to them is another task.
There are positives. One of the central features of OS X is its stability. When programs on the old Mac OS crashed, the entire machine crashed with them, meaning that you lost whatever else you'd been working on at the time. That isn't supposed to happen with OS X.
Unfortunately, I couldn't fully test that, because most of my old applications aren't OS X-friendly. New versions of programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Microsoft Word are being developed with OS X in mind but aren't yet compatible with the new system. Some older applications can be used by simultaneously running OS 9, but even that rarely worked for me.
Blinding frustration isn't something Mac users are really accustomed to, yet that's all I've really felt since installing OS X. Some things have gotten smoother with time, and I'm sure other bugs will be ironed out by the time the redesign officially launches around March. That thread seems to run through much of the positive talk surrounding OS X. Give it time and it will work for you, we're told.
There's something to be said for continuity, however. The whole time I was using OS X, I kept wanting to switch back to the familiar Mac operating system.
Eventually I did, and once I get the damn thing off my machine (there's no uninstall program, so you have to manually trash OS X and hope your hard drive doesn't die), it'll take a lot for me to put it back on again. email@example.com
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