Finally got around to watching the keynote speech for MacWorld. Lots of exciting things coming from Apple at the moment. Shameless Apple promotion follows...
I didn't realize until today how totally awesome iCal is. As naive and insignificant as it may sound, given widespread adoption, it could really revolutionize alot of what I and others do. In a collaboritive environment, the ability to share and subscribe to calendars is really convenient... yes i know iCal isn't the first, but apple has made it really convenient and easy to use. I'm tempted to undertake the personal role of maintaining a iCal version of my school's calendar, because i've never liked the way our academic calendar is handled and it would be nice to have it at my fingertips integrated into an environment i'm comfortable and familiar with.
The good news is the format iCal uses (iCalendar) is an open spec (RFC 2445) and Mozilla's calendar app has support for it, and i'm sure Outlook does as well, but i have no way of testing. I make that assumption because one of the people listed in the RFC represents Microsoft.
Apple has answered every complaint i've had with the iBook in the form of a 12" powerbook. It has everything the iBook is lacking. Namely, a G4 processor, DDR ram, proper dual display support and more storage space... and some additional goodies like the new 802.11g wireless stuff and a slot loading superdrive. It's only a matter of time before I have one, depending on how quickly i get paid for work. I went to the Apple store to see if i could test one out and ask some questions but they won't be around until the end of the month.
I tried out Apples official x11 offering (beta). It integrates surprisingly well.
Aside from recent hardware and software offerings, it's worth mentioning and re-emphasizing how developer friendly OS X is. I truly want to believe that there will be a developers revolution and mass-migration to the Mac OS X platform. Apple and OS X has a few major, very significant advantages in their favor.
First, the financial barriers to entry as a developer on the OS X platform are not has significant as many make them out to be. Many criticize Apple for making their hardware too expensive, but from a developers standpoint, compare the costs associated with that of Windows. One must purchase the OS ($100-$200), the compilers/IDE (Visual Studio $1000-$1500), the code library, APIs, documentation, resources, etc (MSDN subscription $200-$2800). After the hardware, a deveoper can spend $3000 easily, just for the software tools necessary to do their jobs. Apple on the other hand provides the developer tools for free with the operating system which comes free with the computer. In addition, many of the developer tools are open source and based on open source technologies.
Second, OS X is based on UNIX standards and technologies. This dependance upon and integration with UNIX opens up a whole new world to many experienced developers. UNIX programmers can now easily write for and extend their talents to the Mac platform with very little effort. Employers and business focused on the Mac platform now have a significantly large pool of experienced talent to draw from.
Third, NeXT history aside, OS X, Cocoa specifically, was designed from the ground up to be as friendly, powerful and easy to use and learn for developers as possible.
So... the financial barriers to entry are relatively low, there's a wealth of talent already available and the platform is literally made from the ground up to be developer-friendly. With these present conditions, more applications will come... either by individual hobbyists, students, academia, and businesses. With more applications available to the end-user, the Mac platform becomes more and more attractive to the end-user.
This is completely disregarding the reputation that Apple has for the design, music, movie, and even gaming industry.
My two cents anyway. (and yes i'm avoiding the Linux issue, maybe one day i'll write an article which addresses both GNU/Linux and windows)