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Comment on "Mac OS X is Six Years Old Today"
by Fred Priese — Mar 24
Scott, I think you are on to something there. Apple, with Mac OS X, the iMac, the iPod and all of the Apple models after Jobs and Ive finished their makeover established an ACCEPTED esthetic that elegance does not rule out utility or power. The whole Web 2.0 thing is about useability. AJAX, arguably the technique that drives Web 2.0, enables a more client-side-like feel that was missing from web apps before it.

I am a Windows client and web app developer. When ASP.NET was being evangelized in lead up to the release of .NET, all the talk was of making web apps look like our old VB apps. (Ack!, but behavior wise this would be a HUGE improvement.) But to accomplish this, it would require postbacks for everything, since the event handlers were written in VB.NET/C# in the page's class file or code-behind. So intead of a craptasitc VB app, that was at least responsive, it became a craptastic ASP.NET app that was not responsive. This is in the enterprise, but this was Gates vision for the web too. At the time, they had HTTPRequest available too! It sounded problematic at the time, and in retrospect, it sounds rather pathetic to design a architecture around the belief that network latency would disappear!

Now, Apple was quietly shipping Web Objects and not doing a whole lot else on the web since they were so busy making the base computing experience elegant, useful and powerful. Mac OS X has always been pleasent to look at, even if Windows hasn't exactly been hideous. Mac OS X has, at least since Jaguar, been useful too. iLife? HUGE home productivity tool, with it, you no longer need to leave your home to process your photos, home video, publish elegant, (even if limited visually) web pages or to publish DVDs! What is more important that the UTILITY of iLife is the elegance with which it pulls it off. It is easy to learn, easy to use, powerful, (even if a little limited) and free for new Mac buyers. Web 2.0 is useful, (mostly), easy to learn, easy to use, powerful, (even if a little limited,) and free, well, some is free, some is not.

I think Apple has been an inspiration, at the very least for Web 2.0. I saved the best for last. iTunes. iTunes ships for Macs and PCs. Apple's elegance and utility became widely seen, experienced, known. Combined with the iPod, Apple has set a new bar for esthetic utility in product development. I hope more industries learn from them!
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