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On The Flip Side
by Michael Munger

My Impressions On Mac OS 8.6, New PowerBooks, And The WWDC!
May 11th, 1999

What happened Monday at the World Wide Developer's Conference looks quite big. And it is. Beyond announcements, Apple showed us that the company is able to surprise us on a regular basis. We have not see this in a long time.

We have seen Apple shipping great products over the years, but to knock our socks off at every major event is something that you do not see anywhere else in the computing industry. Perhaps it will become Apple's trademark.

In addition, iCEO Steve Jobs - what a charismatic leader! - showed to PC makers that he is dead serious with his strategy. Mac users have accepted their niche market for too long, and Jobs is not satisfied yet. Apple announces amazing technologies, manages to ship products on time (except for Mac OS X), and continues to innovate.

Apple's growth is clear, and if I look at what happens these days, it may not be just the tip of the iceberg, we may not have seen anything yet!

Mac OS 8.6
I downloaded the updater and installed it Monday. So far so good! None of my software "broke" because of 8.6, and stability is there. Much better than 8.5, and some bugs I experienced (i.e. crashes on sleep mode) are fixed. I am satisfied with that. Performance seems zippier. My extensions paraded faster at startup, and my desktop was ready to go earlier than with 8.5. Way to go! I really like the fact that the RAM taken by the system was pretty much the same than with 8.5.

The worst problem I noticed is that there are no improvements when it comes to user interface. I am talking about the Appearance manager that (unlike Kaleidoscope) does not patch applications with interface quirks.

My impressions come from one day of use, but I can already say that I like it. I recommend that you get the upgrade CD if you already own Mac OS 8.5. You pay only for the shipping with Apple's upgrade program.

Although Mac OS 8.6 updates several components, it remains a maintenance release. Fine, a major maintenance release. Anyway, I think that if you use Mac OS 8.5 or 8.5.1 right now, you should get the 8.6 updater.

The new PowerBook
I am fond of PowerBooks, even though I could never find a good reason to justify the purchase :-) With new models released, I think Apple did its job just right.

Apple has established domination over all the other notebooks in the world a few years ago. The key is to make sure that PC makers cannot catch up.

The slim case is an advantage. You can enjoy the same power for a longer period with better batteries and your notebook is not cumbersome. I think you have the best possible portable in your hands, and it weighs only 5.9 pounds! The 333 MHz to 400 MHz G3 processor is good news. Imagine that your portable can perform as much as a desktop computer!

The rest...
Apple is going in the right direction. It is sad that Mac OS X will come out in early 2000 only, but the whole project is still alive. The technical specifications given by Steve Jobs about Apple's modern operating system showed us that Apple is in serious business out there with Mac OS X.

Sonata, an operating system update, should certainly satisfy many people with its 50 new features. Especially people who will not be able to run Mac OS X on their computers.

The fact that Sears is back in our arena makes me shiver. I remember the horror stories took place in their stores. Frankly, I cross my fingers and hope nothing bad will happen there. After all, they might deserve another chance. Colleague Dennis Sellers at MacCentral stated that Sears has 844 stores. Also, 54% of its buyers get their first computer. Hmmm. Let's give them a chance!

Overall, I think that Monday's news showed us that Apple stays on track, and this is as important as the new products themselves. Yesterday, you saw more than new operating systems and computers. You saw Apple's seriousness. This is bigger than you think. It is the difference between "crash and burn" or kicking some serious butt.

Your comments are welcomed.

A Mac Observer Report:
Apple's World Wide Developer Conference 1999
The oldest article is at the bottom, newer items are placed at the top of the list.

WWDC Coverage: Apple Shows Off G4 With Altivec, Should Ship In October - 5/11/99

A Detailed Overview Of The New PowerBook - 5/11/99

On The Flip Side--My Impressions On Mac OS 8.6, New PowerBooks, And The WWDC! - 5/11/99

WWDC Coverage: MacOS X Client And The Wrap-up - 5/10/99

WWDC Coverage: Sonata And Sherlock II, Including Screenshots! - 5/10/99

WWDC Coverage: OpenGL Final, MRJ 2.1.2, And QuickTime - 5/10/99

WWDC Coverage: Introduction, New PowerBooks, Sears, And 1st Mention Of P1 - 5/10/99

Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference Begins Today - 5/10/99

Michael Munger is a French Canadian living in Montreal. He discovered the Mac in 1994 while studying journalism, the profession he loves and practices. He also studied history and communications. In addition to his work at The Mac Observer, he authors the iBasics tutorial column at Low End Mac, and cofounded MacSoldiers in 1998.

You can find more about him at his personal Web site.

You are welcome to send me your comments or you can post them below.

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