Right now we’re all focused on the iPhone, Mac OS 10.5 aka. Leopard and what are the “secret features”. Will the iPhone actually work, will it be as cool as it looks, will the demand exceed supply, all fascinating stuff and we’ll know soon enough. Having followed the Mac since 1984 one thing I can predict for sure, there will always be surprises and disappointments. Here are a few guidelines when thinking about new technology; any version 1.0 thing will have some cool features and it will also need some things fixed. Beyond that there will be a “getting used to” phase followed by a reinterpretation of how it can be used plus the emergence of new ideas fostered by the last wave of technology. Which is a round about way of saying, stuff changes.
Much of what we write will be wrong in a few months but fortunately we will escape our critics because the excitement of what is really going on will overshadow the mistakes in our predictions. At least for the most part.
What is really going on is that Apple is on a path and part of that path includes a 25th anniversary Mac and whatever technology that must be developed to make that happen is already in the pipeline. So what we see in the next few months will be part of what gets us there. Will we be running OS 11.5 in 2009 or will it be some new thing we’ve never heard of. My guess we’ll still be using UNIX but is there life beyond UNIX probably but it’s a ways out there yet.
What may be more important than any of this will be if someone can teach a greater number of people to become power users. We’re still in the “blinking clock on the VCR” era of computing. Under the hood of OSX there is a huge amount of power coupled with some really great software but these systems have gone from complex to simple to complex again. We’re doing more because we can do more and with that comes needing to know some arcane stuff that we tried to get away from in the old command line days of dos.
We have the tools and the computing horsepower now what we need is some help teaching workflows to those who neither have time or the inclination to hook all the pieces together.