CRITIQUE OF APPLE PRESS RELEASE

snide commentary by Russell T. Johnson

This is a critique of a press release regarding Apple's release of their latest revision of their OS-X operating system. I'm sure the product is just fine, but this press release stinks. The verbiage is puerile hokum. I'm guessing it was written by somebody fresh out of business school or somebody who found a pamphlet of last year's buzzwords. My comments are italicized in parentheses.

WWDC 2002, SAN JOSE, Calif., May 6, 2002 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Apple(R) today previewed ("showed") the next major version ("major?" Why not just "next version?" When I see "major" in this context it creates the expectation of the word "dude.") of Mac(R) OS X, code-named "Jaguar," (Code named "Jaguar?" Notice the aggressive terminology computer geeks attatch to their equipment. "Jaguar," "RAM," "Hard Drive," "RISC." The adoption of such language is ironic in that so may of of these guys have arms as thin and brittle as sugar cane.) to more than 2,500 Macintosh developers at its Worldwide Developers Conference. "Jaguar" will be available to customers in late summer 2002, and will further establish Mac OS X as the most advanced operating system in the world. ("Most advanced" meaning what? Most complex? Most complete? Longest? Most recent? Best for the Mac? Best in the opinion of the writer who was paid to compose this press release? Also, establish is something that happens once, "further establish," is meaningless, kind of like "double dog dare.")

"Jaguar is packed ("Packed" is from the buzzword catalog. It contains three hard consonant sounds packed, as it were, into one syllable. Supposedly this makes packed a very dynamic word and it gets used a lot.) with incredible new features (Just for clarification's sake, only the instant messaging feature is "new" to Mac OS, and instant messaging has been around for years, so it's inaccurate to call it "incredible.") that Mac OS X users are going to love (If they love their present operating system they should be just as fond of this virtually identical one, right? Very clintonesque, Mr. Jobs.), including our iChat instant messaging software," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Jaguar takes the world's highest-volume UNIX-based operating system to the next level (The Next Level? I hate that phrase for its lack of meaning. As I mentioned above, The Next Level is so similar to This Level that you might want to sit out a couple of levels.), adding amazing new technologies never before seen in any operating system. (That should be good. Why don't you describe some of these amazing new technologies never before seen?)

"Jaguar" includes many innovative new (redundant "innovative" and "new" mean pretty much the same thing) features, such as: (Wait a minute, a second ago these were amazing new technologies never before seen. Now you're telling me they are innovative new features, not amazing new technologies. I guess you'll soon be telling me Jaguar has some "interesting new doo-dads," or are you saving those for the next level?)

-- iChat, Apple's new AIM-compatible instant messaging software that is built into Mac OS X and integrated with the new Mail and Address Book applications; (Instant messaging is not an amazing new technology or an innovative feature. It's been around for years. What else you got, Clyde?)

-- QuickTime(R) 6, the first complete solution (Companies used to sell products and services. Now it's "solutions." By the way, the earlier QuickTime versions still work for most of what you're likely to come across.) for industry standard MPEG- 4 video and AAC audio streaming; (If you know what MPEG- 4 and AAC audio streaming are, then you know whether or not they are the industry standard. If you don't know what that alphabet soup means, then "industry standard" isn't going to mean anything to you. If something goes without saying, then go without saying it.)

-- Rendezvous, Apple's proposed new industry standard ("Proposed new industry standard" is an interesting word choice. Kind of like "projected surplus." What I infer is that your software guys came up with a few novel lines of code and you think it'd be swell if the rest of the world licensed them from you.) for automatic discovery ("automatic discovery" Does that mean a little packet of electrons that snoops around a network to see what's plugged in and what's switched on? Give it to us in English whenever possible, pleeeeeeaze.) of computers, devices, and services on IP networks (i.e., Ethernet, AirPort(R)); ("i.e.," Are you sure you don't mean e.g?)

-- Address Book, Apple's new system-wide database for managing contact information; (Oooh! An address book! How clever of thee! Still waiting to hear about those "amazing new technologies" you promised.)

-- Finder(TM), now enhanced with spring-loaded folders and new instant searching; (Finder folders are now "spring-loaded," eh? Next year you'll be adding turbo hyperdrive and St . John's Wort.)

-- Sherlock(R) 3, Apple's all-new Internet search and services tool; (All new in what way? Yeah, that's what I thought. If it has the same name as Sherlock 2 and performs the same functions as Sherlock 2, then chances are that Sherlock 2 and Sherlock 3 have a lot in common, so characterizing it as "all new" is inaccurate.)

-- Quartz(TM) Extreme (Don't you love the product names? Thin, pale boys who have never been outdoors adopt the nomenclature of snowboarding and bunjee jumping.), the hardware accelerated Quartz graphics and compositing engine (In this case, "engine" is a little computer program, not a throbbing hunk of churning steel.);

-- UNIX Tools, the latest UNIX advancements including FreeBSD 4.4 updates, the new GCC 3 compiler, IPv6 and IPSec (Dayum! Say hello for me to the rest of the gang back on Remulac.); and

-- Windows Support, for increased compatibility with Windows networks with SMB (I've thought of a list of things that SMB could stand for, but I'm not sharing them with you.) browsing and sharing as well as built-in PPTP VPN security.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution (Mixed metaphor. If the first half of your allegorical image ignites, the second half of the allegorical image should burn in some way. "ignited the personal computer firestorm," for example, or "fomented the personal computer revolution." Again, "ignite" is one of those college course dynamism buzzwords, and if you don't find a way to use it, the professor is going to take points off.) in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer ("Reinvented the personal computer" is inaccurate. What actually happened was that the Mac introduced to the mass market improvements that they had obtained without cost from Xerox. I guess copying is a kind of reinventing.) in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators (teachers?), creative professionals (artists?) and consumers ("Consumers" is the vaguest possible term short of "humanoids") around the world (spanning the globe) through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings ("offerings?" How about "products?" Does apple make products? Does anybody any more?)

NOTE: Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh, QuickTime, AirPort, Quartz, Finder and Sherlock are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners. (Blahblahblahblahblah.)

Apple makes a fine product, or solution, if you prefer. And I don't want to be unnecessarily hard on the youngsters who composed this news release. After all, the assignment was to sell this year's operating system update without getting caught in an outright lie. So they went to the old familiar bag of rhetorical tricks and rewrote last year's OS X press release. I assume they counted the words after completing each paragraph, since there are profession-wide rules of thumb regarding length of press releases. Boiler plate and bland as boiled bread. Easy money. And what else could they do? Just blurt out the truth? Like this?

WWDC 2002, SAN JOSE, Calif., May 6, 2002 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Apple(R) today previewed the next version of Mac(R) OS X to more than 2,500 Macintosh developers at its Worldwide Developers Conference. The new version will be available to customers in late summer 2002, and promises improved performance and new features in an operating system already preferred by top professionals.

Among the improvements are:

There. That wasn't so hard, now was it? Think of all the time I save by not reading words that don't mean anything. And aren't Mac users the kind of people who appreciate being spoken to like adults? Anybody who'd be taken in by all that superfluous, transparent hype is probably a Windows user anyway.

And by the way.... YOU'RE WELCOME!

RTJ--6/1/2002

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