GUI: 5/10 (+2 w/extensions)
Although still far from perfect, OS X is making good headway in interesting directions.
The GUI/Finder/Aqua seem to have way too much 'Jobs distortion field effect' and not enough 'human interaction blind study' influence. I'm not going to make point by point argument here, that ground has been well covered. The previous Mac OS 9 interface although far from perfect, had a following for a reason, it really was easier to use. Apple needs to get its head out of the sand and get back in to the research realm and build the easier to use OS it claims to have.
Tour de force, great job apple. They've done the impossible. The built a real modern easy to use GUI on top of UNIX. They've integrated OS9 into it (albeit with a crow bar), they made it stable, they made it extensible, they've given developers a bridge to cross and they even open sources parts of it. I could list a ton of things they did right and only a few they did wrong (like going BACK to extensions instead of FORWARD to mime/types and better meta-data for files).
They have enabled more users to do new things than any other single software company in my opinion. They've brought MP3 burning to soccer mom's., video editing to the average Joe, DVD burning, CD-R burning, Photo Organization and now editing (with iPhoto 1.11), the list goes on and on. Where PC's promise the ability to do all of these things (with a lot of technical know how) the Mac continues to pioneer making these things easier for the user to do. I won't venture to say if this is because of marketing reasons, easy to use applications, good technical support or any of a number of other reasons it could be. The important factor here is that they have done it.
I understand, I truly do. Write it first, keep it clean, then optimize later. Unfortunately, later seems to be 10.2 and is still off in the future (late summer 2002?). 10.1.4 is much better than the intolerable 10.0 release. With a few tweaks the GUI can even be whipped into decent shape. But overall driver performance, GUI performance, and a few other areas still need a decent amount of work.
There almost seems like and endless supply of new software for Mac OS X. You have all of the traditional Mac software vendors porting their applications to Carbon/Cocoa, a decent influx of new blood now writing first time Mac applications and the huge base of open source Unix software being ported and getting GUI front ends. There are only a couple of major applications that haven't been ported, but those companies are now feeling heavy pressure to keep up with the times. Lots of fun to be had here!
When 10.2 comes out, OS X will truly be the superior in all ways to OS 9 (with GUI tips installed), it will also add new innovative features and bring the Mac community back to the forefront of the computer industry again. Also, by the time it is released I expect the 1.4Ghz Dual G4's will be the new top of the line (if not a tad better) with 333Mhz DDR and rack mount ability, I predict apple will definitely be able to increase its market share substantially. I can only hope they can move back in to the 10%+ range again which will get the attention of the large software vendors that they can't just ignore Apple.
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