"Gee, Brain, what do you want to do today?"
from "Pinky and the Brain"
(MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA) Want proof that OS X is selling? I gotcha proof, right here. Over the past months, there have been several people, Mac users and PC users alike, who have been envisioning a half-mad Apple for creating OS X.
If the Minneapolis store I worked last weekend is any indication, Apple can safely claim that the rumors of Appleis demise are greatly exaggerated. We experienced brisk OS X sales all day, as well as very high interest in Appleis latest incarnation of the venerable Mac OS.
What really interested me was the attention given by computer users who have never touched an Apple computer. To wit: several customers I spoke with never owned a Mac, yet the majority of them have either purchased a Mac recently, came into the store to buy one, or will be buying one. Every one of them said the reason they were even considering the computer was for the express purpose of running Mac OS X.
Itis the Unix, stupid.
Many of the customers I spoke with were either Linux fiends or true-Unix acolytes. One couple was a woman who considered herself the command-line geek, while her significant other was the self-professed, graphics-professional Mac user; I assured her that, yes, it is Unix. Another person was a Linux user who had a PowerBook G4 Titanium on order. Yet another was a Unix user who had never touched a Mac before; I stopped my OS X demonstration and gave him my seat in front of the G4; the man spent several minutes typing in arcane commands at the Terminal application. He began to rhapsodize about the possibilities of running Unix through an easy-to-use interface. His final analysis: "Whoid a thunk it?"
This was pretty much the gist of conversations that I carried on with various people over the weekend.
Unconvinced, I mentioned to people that OS X didnit have support for CD recordings nor DVD recordings (surely the Chicken Littleis in the media have their finger on the pulse of discontent among shoppers, right?). The customers looked at me like I was crazy for even mentioning it, since Iid just showed them how easy it was to run applications in "Classic" mode and/or reboot into OS 9.1.
My overall impression of the day was that Apple has played a masterful stroke in its plans for gaining mind share today and market share in the future.
Do you really have any idea how much of a big thing OS X is? One customer laid it bare before me: "I work for a company that writes software," he told me as he showed me the "ll" Unix command (a variant of the "ls" command). "All of us hate Microsoft [his emphasis]. There are a lot of people who are watching to see how this operating system turns out."
Another customer spoke at length about how easy it will be to "port" Linux- and Unix applications to OS X. We had a good-natured argument over whether or not "Gimp" (a Linux, Photoshop-like app that should make Adobe lose sleep at night) has already been ported to OS X; he claims that it has been.
I told him that I was from Missouri; he asked for my e-mail address, so he could send me some choice URLs. Based on my conversations and observation, my final analysis is this: OS X will ultimately do for Apple software what the iMac did for Apple hardware. To quote William Shatner: "this is big, really big."
Call it boosterism. Call it shameless optimism. But, I have never felt this many good vibes about Apple in all my years as a Mac user. Time will prove, though, whether Apple will rise above its legacy as industry innovator to its rightful place as industry leader.