Apple OS update mania

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 11:28 PM | comments: 0

Apple released some updates today, both to the desktop and mobile operating systems. Against my better judgment, I installed both.

First, on the desktop, there was actually firmware update for MacBook Air I just received. It says it fixes issues with using Boot Camp (which I don't use) and something about NetBoot and ethernet. All I know is that the fan doesn't sound like a jet engine when the CPU gets a little warm, which could just be the result of replacing the firmware and something being reset.

The update to OS X "Mountain Lion" seems to have a lot of minor updates, but chief among them is one that brings Facebook integration to the OS. Inputing your account is not intuitive or easy to find, because it's under the "Mail, Contacts & Calendar" preferences, of which Facebook is none of those things. Windows 8 and Windows Phone just call this "accounts."

The other completely weird thing is that the notification bar never seems to actually retain anything. I see the pop-up notification, but then when I open up the notification pane, nothing is actually there. I've checked the preferences, and they seem to think there should be something there.

Mac nerd sites say that battery life is greatly improved, but since I've only had the Air for a week, I guess I wouldn't know the difference. If the estimate the machine is giving me right now is correct, then eight hours while not using a Windows VM appears perfectly attainable. That's fairly outstanding. Of course, now that they've declared war on optical drives and mechanical hard drives, it's clear that things are mostly made of batteries now. I'm definitely not complaining.

Meanwhile, iOS 6 is out, so I updated my iPad. It also has centralized Facebook connectivity. Yeah, I'll be a smart ass and mention that I remember when Windows Phone had it two years ago. The biggest changes are that Siri is now available for the third generation iPad, and there are many smaller tweaks all over the place. Siri is neat, but talking to your iPad I'm sure looks like shooting video with your iPad. They also replaced Google's mapping with their own, and I'm not sure I like it better. The Internet is abuzz with people who hate it. I've never actively used the iPad for mapping, because my car already does that.

I think iOS is finally inching toward my complaint that it's too app-tastic when there should be more account integration. I care about that less in OS X, but they're finally understanding what people use computers the most for, in the mobile case in particular. Still, I can't help but feel like the way iOS presents itself to you is a barely evolved paradigm that launched five years ago. The more I use Windows 8, the more I'm itching for a tablet based on it. I love turning it on and finding it instantly useful, before I launch a single app. It seems like such an obvious thing now to replace a static icon with a view into the app. Even Minesweeper is going to tell me about the daily challenges without opening it!

It's such a weird time for my product likes and dislikes. Three years ago, if it had an Apple logo on it, I couldn't wait to have it. Since then, Windows Phone happened, and now Windows 8, and at least the software side of things has completely changed my view. I have zero desire to go back to iPhone. Then the whole fiasco with the screens on the Retina MacBook Pro has soured my faith in their computer hardware, for what should have been the greatest computer ever. (Fortunately, the MacBook Air has saved their hardware reputation, and I really do love it.)


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