On my Om
On Technology & Change
If you had to read one post about the iPhone-Leopard shuffle, then Rui Carmo’s is the one to read.
The blog writer [The Tao of Mac is © 2002-2007 Rui Carmo] obviously has not done any programming, else he would not be so quick to pass on a new and improved OS with a comment as to its ‘fleas.’ As complex as an OS is, NO OS will be without bugs, especially considering the permutations of hardware/software.
Good summary, though I don’t entirely believe the PR and its explainers either.
When talking about being short on resources, remember that this is a company that maintained parallel builds of OS X on Intel architecture, made a decision to completely switch over chip architectures, and completed that transition for its entire OS, consumer and professional apps in a timeframe and with a smoothness many industry professional were in awe of. PowerPC to x86 variants aren’t trivial, as the fact of Adobe, Microsoft and many others taking so long to deliver Universal Binaries shows.
Apple is also a company that went from observing “there aren’t many MP3 players that support the Mac” to mobilizing to create a ground-breaking, industry-advancing product in record time. (Steven Levy’s book “The Perfect Thing” emphasizes this.)
Yet we’re expected to believe they can’t allocate resources between two quite distinct product lines (OS X crossover notwithstanding).
As for QA, doesn’t Steve do most of that personally anyway?! After all, he was the main beta tester for Keynote, drove the engineers mad insisting the initial iPod had a “satisfying click” for its headphone jack and 101 other refinements, and he’s been snapped using the iPhone at a son’s soccer match, so intent is he on smoothing out every last bug.
Perhaps, along with the “Leopard just isn’t ready” theme, it’s also that:
1) 2007 is the year of the iPhone, The Next Big Thing. Nothing is allowed to distract from that until it is underway. Not the 6G widescreen iPod. Not a new OS X release. Not an solid state, flash based MacBook ultralite. Even if Leopard were finished and ready tomorrow, there would still be reasons to ship it later.
2) The mysterious “secret features” depend on something that is industry dependent. Just as the recent AirPort router needed the WiFI stands body to reach “draft N” stage before it could be delivered, Apple may need to wait for an ISO standard somewhere. (For instance, is the (non-secret) ZFS, a new filing system used in Leopard, undergoing any change at the moment?)
3) They’ve decided to give the Leopard a new coat… That is, to clearly delineate it from both Tiger and Vista, a late decision has been made to add more. The features announced so far have mainly been developer or power user features: memory management garbage collection in Objective-C 2.0, Xcode (a development tool), CoreAnimation APIs, etc. Even Time Machine and Spaces virtual desktops are power user features rather than the ones the moms at that soccer game would be using.
It’s possible that other, not initially secret, only recently decided features are going to be added, and that needs more time to deliver.
Just some ideas. I’m not entirely convinced Apple pushed its Gantt charts out by temporarily pulling people off the Leopard team to put on the iPhone one.
@Don, for the sake of correctness: I don’t suppose you have, in fact, read the whole piece (otherwise you would have realized that the point about Leopard’s fleas is based on the nine point revisions each of the previous cats underwent), nor bothered to spend enough time on the site to stumble on the copious coding examples (which include hacking Linux kernel extensions and whatnot…).
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