Maverick and Applications
One action this week was a full OS/X roll on three boxes; fairly event free. The main feature for me is "better multiscreen support". There's also now an OS/X version of Linux's Powertop; as with powertop is more of a developer "your app is killing the battery" than something end users can actually do anything with -other than complain.
The other big change is to Safari, but as I don't use that, it's moot.
The fact that its a free upgrade is interesting -and with Safari being a centrepiece of that upgrade, maybe the goal of the upgrade is to accelerate adoption of the latest Safari and stop people using Firefox & Chrome. The more market share in browsers you have, the more web sites work in it -and as Safari is only used on a macs, it can't have more desktop browser market share than the market share apple have in the PC business itself. A better Safari could maximise that market share -while its emphasis on integration with iPads and iPhones rewards people who live in the single-vendor-device space, making us owners of Android phones feeling left out.
One offering that did get headlines was "Free iWork", but that turns out to be "Free on new systems"; if you have an existing OS/X box, you get to pay $20 or so per app -same as before.
Except, if you go to the apple app store, the reviews of the new suite from existing users are pretty negative: dumbed down to the point where users with existing spreadsheets, documents and presentations are finding things missing -where in keynote a lot of the fancy "make your presentations look impressive" features are gone.
They're not going to come back, now that iWork is a freebie.
If the NRE costs of maintaining iWork are now part of the cost of the Mac -and OS upgrades are going the same way. Even if apple maintain market share and ASP margins over Windows PCs, the software stack costs have just gone up.
Which means those applications have gone from "premium applications with revenue through the app store", with a business plan of "be compelling enough to sell new copies as well as regular upgrades from out existing customer base", to "bundled stuff to justify the premium cost of our machines".
That's a big difference, and I don't see it being a driver for the iWork suite being enhanced with features more compelling to the experts.
Where apple are likely to go is cross-device and apple cloud integration, again to reward the faithful single-vendor customers. Indeed, you do get the free apple iCloud versions of the iWork apps, which look nice on Safari -obviously. Apple's business model there: upsell storage, does depend on storage demand, but the harsh truth is, it needs a lot of documents to use up the 4GB of free storage. Photographs, now, they do take up space, which clearly explains why the new iPhoto has put work in iPhoto to iCloud sharing. Yet it does still retain Flickr sharing, which, with 1TB of storage, must be a competitor to iCloud for public photos, while facebook remains a destination for private pics.
I wonder whether that Flickr uploader will still be there the next time Apple push out a free update to the OS and applications
[photo: a line of Tuk Tuks, Tanzania/Kenya Border]