Apple set to focus on "power users" with 10.9, but whither the regular folks?
WWDC will bring with it the first developer's looks at new versions of OS X and iOS; Apple VP Phil Schiller said so when the company announced WWDC's dates. According to Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac, OS X 10.9 will tout features geared toward "power users," among them better Spaces management for multi-monitor systems, tabbed browsing and more.
As a power user, I'm encouraged by the idea that Apple is dedicating time and resources to helping me get more out of the OS X user experience. That's a good start, but I hope Apple doesn't lose the forest through the trees. As intuitive as it is for many of us to use, OS X can still be daunting for new users, especially the new users assimilated by the "halo effect" of iOS devices they're already using.
Macs are supposed to "just work," but as the operating system has evolved so has the complexity of the Mac's interactions with the world around it. iCloud is still subject to random outages and problems - I spent hours last week trying to figure out why my wife's calendar and e-mail weren't synching, only to find after all that that my calendar had fallen out of sync as well. I've worked with users new to the platform that have absolutely no idea how to get their iPad to synchronize with their Mac.
iTunes is a horrible, bloated beast, and while its upgrade cycle isn't implictly tied to the operating system update schedule, that seems like a good time to deconstruct things a bit. iTunes has become this massive digital cloaca through which all information flows to iOS devices, and, oh yeah, it plays music and videos too. Maybe it's time for Apple to start breaking apart these features into separate applications, or just figuring out a less unwieldy way to let iTunes manage it all. And don't even get me started on iPhoto.
Jony Ive is responsible for the direction of Apple's Human Interface teams, and is apparently putting his stamp on iOS 7. I hope he's doing the same with OS X, because his minimalist sensibility is definitely needed in areas where OS X has become anything but minimal.
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