Recently, I had the opportunity to use-for only a few minutes-Mac OS X Leopard. Now, I won’t begin to review an entire operating based solely on a few minutes of use. I am, however, going to share some observations I made about the operating system. First, the Mac itself was very nice. I don’t know the model, but it was just purchased a month ago. It is an all in one unit with a twenty inch screen. The screen is just gorgeous. The keyboard, though, was thin. Almost TOO thin. It looks really fragile, but I suppose it works ok.
Mac OS X LOOKS great. It’s icons are crisp, the response is snappy and it LOOKS cool.
The first thing I noticed about OS X was just how counter-intuitive it’s desktop really is. I needed to start an application, but was dumbfounded. Where did I start? I click ‘Finder’ in the upper left corner, but was greeted with a smorgasbord of stuff, none of which looked like something that would show me HOW the heck to start an application. It was not obvious as to what to do. Say what you will about the ‘Start’ orb, at least it is somewhat obvious that that is where you go to do stuff. Fortunately for me, the person who owned the computer showed me that ‘Finder’ icon in the lower left of the screen on the dock. Clicking it, however, did nothing. I finally found the ‘applications’ folder and could open it. The window opened and revealed this funky Coverflow interface. It works, but what the heck for? All I wanted was to START a freaking application. I don’t get the need for the flashy interface. And why in the world was it so bloody difficult?
I got a chance to see the one really redeeming value of owning a Mac: being able to run Windows. Parallels is awesome. The ability to run Windows applications in the Mac environment is pretty darned cool. You can drag and drop items between the two and Windows XP in Parallels is smoking fast. Truly amazing. I’d love to see Vista on a Mac. Vista on Mac hardware…probably a perfect combination.
Mac OS X is very nice looking. But I have to wonder just how far looks can go if usability is not there. Granted, I only saw a small portion of the OS so I cannot comment on the rest of the experience, I can only hope it is much better than my initial experience. The few minutes I spent with the operating system only convinced me that it is, in fact, no better than Vista.
To be fair, if my first glimpse of Windows Vista was the task bar and orb, I’d probably feel the same way. Microsoft’s idea of removing ‘start’ from the button just serves to further confuse the concept. At least with XP and earlier versions, you knew that clicking the START button took you to a menu. Under Vista, the orb hardly says ‘click me’.