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Talkin' Smack: Champions of OS X

In the first week of the new OS, the pro market starts to shape up By Dave Nagel
We've seen some odd, negative announcements in the last few weeks regarding OS X. I've covered them in detail, so I won't go into them again. But after the first week of the release of Apple's new operating system, I thought it might be nice to take a look at some of the positive developments going on in the professional arena that bode well for the future of OS X as a serious tool for Macintosh creative pros.

There are already tons of consumer applications out there for early adopters of OS X?games, utilities?heck, even Napster, which is still in beta for OS 9, runs on OS X. But professional applications are much slower in coming. Frankly, for the most part, professionals are slower to adopt new technologies, having tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in their current systems. Why risk a change that could cause problems, slow production and even cost clients?

Vendors are keenly aware of this attitude, which is why they're taking a wait and see approach. But there are some out there investing resources in this as-yet unproved technology. Their efforts are a service to professional users that should be noted and applauded. More, it should be supported by those of you out there who have also taken risks with new technologies because it shows a commitment to you that few vendors so far are willing to make.

I begin with NewTek, which had a public beta of LightWave 6.5 for Mac OS X while OS X itself was still in beta. The second beta release (6.5b) is now a candidate for final release, and it looks to be the one, given that NewTek made an announcement to this effect last week.

Also in the category of 3D, Maxon has released an OS X update to Cinema 4D XL 6. This is still in public preview form, but the fact that it's in such an advanced state bodes well for a full release in the near future.

Finally, as you will read today, Macromedia is releasing Freehand 10 concurrently for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X in May (along with a Windows version). I have the beta version running successfully on my OS X machine, and I can say that it's about as close as they come to being ready for release. Freehand 10 is a full version upgrade, making it not only the first professional vector application for OS X, but also the first full version of a professional application to be released for OS X and Windows at the same time?with OS 9 thrown in for good measure.

Now, none of this is to slight the efforts of the thousands of developers working diligently to release their OS X applications. New releases will naturally follow a curve, hopefully reaching an apex somewhere around late summer. But the fact that these three developers?NewTek, Maxon and Macromedia?have dedicated precious resources in a down market to a brand new OS so early in the game says a lot not only about their dedication to the platform, but to the users as well.

And, while we're on the topic, be sure to check in tomorrow for a review of the first week of OS X, along with some tips and tricks to get you working better.

Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at dnagel@digitalmedianet.com.

All artwork copyright 2001 by David Nagel.

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