Don’t worry, this isn’t a Mac vs. PC piece. Well, not explicitly at least. I just find the discrepancy between Apple’s updating schedule and Microsoft’s, well…interesting.
Mac users who took the plunge since the first official release of Mac OS X have had to contend with upgrade after upgrade. Just as we got used to one cat another one was thrown our way. Of course many of us were delighted to get innovation after innovation and, lets face it, the first version of OS X was rough at best, unusable for many things at worst (did you ever try to select more than 10 items in OS 10.1?)
Contrast the above with Windows XP which has been around for quite a time now (4 years?! I am blissfully ignorant of all things Windows). Microsoft releases service back after service pack but no upgrades like Apple does. Longhorn seems more likely to arrive after world peace at this stage and even Microsoft is talking about an XP plus in the interim.
Neither model is necessarily better. Apple users have been struck with dead hard drives (albeit in the minority) with even interim OS upgrades and getting used to new ways of doing things can be tiresome. Not to mention the myriad third-party software out there that has to keep up with Apple and simply can’t.
On the other hand Microsoft’s all-eggs-in-one-basket approach leaves innovation on a very slow timeframe. Say what you want about Apple’s upgrade approach, it is definitely visionary.
This all reminds me of someone I met recently who was a successful digital fine art photographer. She used an 8100 (yes, an 8100) with 64 megs of ram and a 4 gig hard drive for all her work. I was aghast. And her work was beautiful. Maybe innovation doesn’t come in the latest bits and bites and updates and upgrades. Maybe it comes in spite of it.
Which do you prefer, whirlwind upgrades or slow ones?