by David Nagel
If you're anything like
me, your life is centered around a a big, graphite box (a G4, for those of you
who aren't so quick). You praise its glory, standing on street corners like a
doomsayer, proclaiming the end of Windows nigh. You argue with PC users. And even
when your Mac crashes, and the PC users laugh at you, you find some way of pawning
it off on Microsoft. ("My Mac didn't crash. Internet Explorer crashed.")
You even dream about your Mac.
Back in the dark days of
Apple (the mid-'90s), my Mac dreams literally turned into nightmares, usually
involving me punching our retarded I.S. guys, who, at the time, were in the process
of converting our whole publishing company over to Windows NT. (Could you imagine
that? You couldn't even run ATM with QuarkXPress on NT at the time, and we were
going to switch over to this system to put out actual magazines under deadline!)
They were bleak times. But
we still held tough, even if it meant working on a Umax.
All that has changed, of
course. Those of us who've hung on to the Mac through good and ill have been rewarded
handily and consistently, with Apple raising the bar at each new product announcement
and startling financial analysts with each new quarterly report.
It's almost too much goodness.
We're beginning to expect
more and more with each passing trade show. It's time for Macworld and Siggraph,
so it must be time for new products. New iMacs. New modular G4s. Multiprocessing
G4s. New PowerBooks. We've all seen the Internet rumor mills.
And maybe this will happen
again this time around. Maybe not. Certainly, for the first time in a long time,
I feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of my Mac, so I wouldn't be crushed
if they announced new G4s with more power for the same price. But a little boost
in megaHertz isn't going to spin my head around. I'm quite happy with my machine.
What gets me excited these days is Apple's continued work with developersmore
software to fill up the dwindling space on my hard drives.
In the past, all of our
hopes were pinned on processing power. It was almost as if the whole platform
would collapse if Motorola couldn't squeeze a little more power out of its chips.
This power will, of course, continue to grow until, one day, we can composite
anything in real time and render anything as we workat any resolution. It
won't happen for a while, but it's a given that it will eventually, barring any
unforeseen global catastrophes. So we shouldn't be focusing on new hardware. Anything
announced this week or next is just a minor step on the path to desktop ultracomputing.
What we should be looking
forward to is Apple's continued work with developers to bring us the best software
available on any platform. We already have great stuff, some of it available only
for the Mac. Others run on multiple platforms but do more on the Mac platform.
Still there are those holdouts stuck in the bad old days, unsure about committing
cash to Mac development. Maybe they were burned in the past. Maybe they lack the
skill to write for the Mac. Or maybe they're just afraid of making the investment.
But now that the Mac's back,
fewer and fewer can ignore the market. So the real signs of Apple's success will
not come in the form of new machines but in the form of new developers committed
to the Mac platform.
We probably won't see too
much of this at Macworld this week. A little hardware here, a little accounting
software there. But only so much development can revolve around annual events.
I'm not looking forward to the product announcements coming out of Steve Jobs's
keynote Wednesday. I'm looking forward to him getting off the stage and back to
work behind the scenes, where he's proved so shockingly effective. I don't care
about anything else. Well, O.K., a faster G4 would be nice. But I won't break
out into a cold sweat if it doesn't happen.
Hey! We Have New Sections!
In our ongoing
effort to provide you, the beloved reader, with better information, we've launched
four new sections for specific users.
Audio Pro is designed for users of Mac audio hardware and software. It
includes content from the editors and writers of Mix Magazine, as well as original
content written by our staff and freelancers.
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