thinair Boulder, Colorado. elevation 5400 feet.

changes in Apple's market

I attended the Colorado Mac Users Group OS X meeting last night for the first time. The first presentation was observations from a couple guys who attended the Seybold conference. A presentation about why Rendezvous rocks. The short story is it's easier than AppleTalk, isn't chatty, and leans on completely open technology. A review of why changes in Darwin are important to even the non-geeks. It was a long list, but the thing I liked best: the simple addition of Ruby, Python, and the aquafied Tcl/Tk opens MacOS to 30,000 programs from the Linux world.

Anyway, the first presentation is the purpose of this entry. It seems the Graphic Arts industry is not switching to OS X. The consensus in the industry seems to be that, contrary to what Apple would have you believe, OS 9 is still the world's best graphic arts platform. For small outfits, or individual designers who mostly need to push Photoshop and Illustrator around, OS X is fine. But for the businesses that are running production printing operations, OS X isn't there yet.

In particular they cited "font madness", the lack of printer and scanner drivers, the lack of plugins for Quark and Photoshop as the largest contributing factors. The cost of upgrading was also cited, but seen as trivial in comparison.

Their impression is that the graphic arts industry looks a bit like a "deer in the headlights" at the moment. It's clear that the change to OS X will be painful and expensive. They seem to be supressing a question in the back of their minds: "is it time to change to Windows?"

In contrast to this there's Tim O'Reilly's article about Mac OS X Switchers. A lot of alpha geeks are coming to appreciate the Apple community's long focus on the real power of ease of use (as opposed to the power of MHz and good shells). When most things "just work" it leaves a lot more time for hacking on the fun stuff.

It'll be interesting to see how Apple adapts to a changing user base.