Vista Ain’t that Bad, In Fact It’s Good
I’ve used a few versions of Vista beta’s sporadically. Say what you want about Microsoft they give people a view into what they are working on, warts and all.
And there were a tremendous amount of warts in the early working versions of Vista. The OS literally sputtered at times, rendering the pointer invisible. Or, now and again the machine would just crash, emitting a monotonous tone before fading to black.
But RC1 is different. Very different. I used it for a full day. And use is the operative term here. It was fast, and the office beta was snappy to. IE 7 is very usable, stable, and reminded me of, surprise surprise, using firefox on OS X.
People have mocked (including me) Vista for ages. But RC1 is different. Sure it is still ugly as crap, marred by Microsofts apparent ineptitude with visual subteties and beauty that Apple excels at. But I suspect that most users won’t care.
Pre RC1 I always imagined that any user would be able to see so clearly the difference between Vista and OS X. I’m afraid those days are now gone. Just like most of the world couldn’t appreciate how the Mac operating system was better than Windows when it first came out most people are going to be oblivious to the differences between OS X and Windows.
I don’t pretend to understand the possible security issues with Vista and how it compares to OS X. I’m sure Apple comes out on top. But from a user experience standpoint, aesthetic differences notwithstanding, Vista and OS X look very similar. Of course Steve Jobs would say of course they do, that’s because they copied Apple. Well, after using RC1 I can say that they most certainly did. And they’ve done a pretty good job.
What this means for Apple is that the edge with OS X will disappear. And what is left? Better hardware? Perhaps. More software selection? Certainly not. The so-called advantages of a closed hardware/software platform? Most assuredly not as iTunes availability and success on the Windows platform shows.
All signs in the future point to the end of the importance of the operating system. Or, maybe it is time for Apple to start thinking about what needs to come next.