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Do we really need 200 more features and 20 pages of tutorials?

Apple's new OS Mountain Lion apparently has more than 200 new features and you need 20 pages of tutorial to understand them. In what way is this a good thing?


On my way out from the post office that sits at the rear of my local newsagent, I spotted on the magazine rack a Mac mag shouting "Mountain Lion - 200+ New Features!". And where there is one Mac title, there will be another. This one said "Mountain Lion - 20 Pages of Tutorials!"

Mountain Lion, if you didn't know, is the latest version of the Macintosh's operating system. That's all it is - an operating system.

Now I'm all for progress. Anything that will allow me to work more efficiently, more reliably and more powerfully is a step in the right direction. And doubtless there are many such improvements under the hood of Mountain Lion.

But 200 new features? Can anyone possibly need 200 new features? Can any one person spare the time to figure out what they all do? (Other than a magazine writer.)

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And 20 pages of tutorials, for an operating system!!?

I thought Apple's philosophy was that their products should 'just work'. If it takes 20 pages of tutorials to get Mountain Lion to 'just work', then clearly there is a problem.

Personally, I just want to get on with doing what I'm interested in, which is music and audio. I'm not interested in computers for their own sake, but only for what they will do for my interests.

My feeling is that we are at a point in technology where things need to get simpler. The technology needs to disappear into the background. I could give my car as a parallel. I get in, switch it on and drive off. That's it. I don't have to worry about the engine, gearbox, oil pump or any of the thousand and one systems it has. They all just get on with their work and leave me to decide which way to turn the steering wheel and how fast I want to go.

So after the next new operating system upgrade, whether it be Macintosh, Windows, Linux, iOS or Android, or whatever else might be out there, I just want to hear two words - "System upgraded". That's all I need. And I expect my computing from that point to be more efficient, more reliable and more powerful. As simple as that!

By David Mellor Friday September 28, 2012