I’ve had the Mac for a month or so now, and on the whole I’m very happy with it. It’s certainly much easier to use than my Linux box was, and it’s much quicker to get work done on it. (Except for OpenOffice, which actually seems worse than the Linux version. Hope that improves soon!)
One thing I’ve noticed with Apple’s software though, is that on the whole it’s wonderful and does everything you need, but it often “falls at the last hurdle” by missing some killer feature, or doing it very badly. I suspect a lot of this is to “encourage” you to subscribe to .mac (which frankly after spending $3K on a new computer I’m loath to do) or buy some other add-on. Sometimes it’s downright annoying, and often means you have to fork out for some 3rd party shareware app to get the job done properly.
Exhibit A: iPhoto. Wonderful app. I love the ease of browsing and in-place editing, and can process and manage my photos so much faster than I could with just The GIMP and a file system. However, the “Export to Web Page” feature falls into the “why did they even bother?” category. It’s terrible. It produces a plain HTML page with a table of thumbnails in it. That’s it. No selectable colours or templates. It doesn’t even have CSS classes on the table elements, so you can’t even style it yourself.
I’m thinking of writing a Perl script to parse the HTML files and insert CSS classes, then at least it can be styled. In the meantime I found this excellent (and luckily, free) third-party app which does a proper job – lets you select some photos then produce a web album with some decent templates and customisation options. In other words, what I expected iPhoto to do in the first place. Naturally, Apple want you to subscribe to .mac, at which point I’m sure you can magically produce all sorts of pretty web albums…
Exhibit B: iSync and the Palm. Now I know Apple and Palm hate each other and Palm went off in a hissy fit and refused to update Palm Desktop on the Mac. But if Apple are going to advertise that the Mac will sync with the Palm Tungsten (which I have) then frankly I expect it to do a proper job. By which I mean, actually syncing the Palm categories with iCal’s as opposed to ignoring them and dumping all To Do items in “Unfiled”. Oh, and actually syncing the Palm memos at all would be nice. Even if it was just to text files.
As with many things on the Mac, the answer is to buy a 3rd-party shareware app. It does a decent enough job, and even has its own memo pad application to sync with Palm memos. But again, there’s no getting away from the fact that this kind of thing should be built into the Mac.
Exhibit C: Front Row. This is a lifesaver app that we use all the time. Power down the iMac, move it into the living room (sans mouse and keyboard), plug it in, turn it on. Click the “Menu” button to bring up Front Row, slam in a DVD and watch it. The Mac as a media centre. Lovely! After the movie we’ll often listen to some music in the iTunes library too, and maybe have an iPhoto slideshow, all from within Front Row, and all just using the remote. Wonderful!
Then it’s time for bed, so we need to turn off the Mac and move it back to the office. Err… so how do we turn it off with the remote? That’s right, you can’t! You can sleep it, but that’s not much good it you’re unplugging the Mac and moving it around. So I have to go back to the office, grab the mouse, bring it into the living room and plug it in, just so I can select “Shut Down” from the apple menu. Lame!
Most of the time, Mac OS X feels complete and very well integrated, but there are quite a few “glaring omissions” like the above. Maybe they’ll get sorted out in future software updates?
Is there anything that bugs you about Apple’s software like this? Where the app is basically great, but “falls at the last hurdle” by missing out a really obvious feature?