Apple to force OS X in 2003

— 4:29 AM on September 11, 2002

I've read the press release about a dozen times now and I'm still shaking my head:

APPLE EXPO, PARIS—September 10, 2002—Apple® today announced that starting in January 2003, all new Mac® models will only boot into Mac® OS X as the start-up operating system, though they will retain the ability to run most Mac OS 9 applications through Apple’s bundled “Classic” software. There are nearly 4,000 native applications now available for Mac OS X.
That's right, buy a Mac in 2003 and it's OS X or the highway as far as Apple is concerned. The move throws all of Apple's weight behind the new OS, which is largely heralded as a much better alternative to OS 9. However, read a little further and you'll notice that Apple admits not everyone is happy with OS X:
All new Macs sold since January 2002 have had Mac OS X factory-set as the default operating system. Over 75 percent of customers using these Macs have elected to keep Mac OS X as their default operating system.
That 25% of new Mac buyers have rolled back to OS 9 (or perhaps Linux in a small number of cases) from OS X suggests that a rather large number of new Apple owners are unhappy with OS X. But wait, isn't the new 10.2 update supposed to fix all that? Well, according to Ars Technica's review, OS 9 is still much faster than even the latest OS X update in some areas:
User interface responsiveness continues to be an issue in Jaguar, despite significant strides in this area (e.g. QE). Booting back into Mac OS 9 gives an immediate impression of almost unbelievable speed, particularly when scrolling or resizing windows.
Does Apple really want to prevent new buyers from seeing how fast OS 9 can be? OS X may be the greatest thing since two-button USB mice for Mac users, but does Apple really need to shove it down consumers' throats? Perhaps by 2003 Apple hardware will be fast enough to make OS X feel as snappy as OS 9, but I wouldn't bet on it for the low end of Apple's line.

Is Apple thinking a little too different this time? What are they going to do next? Take away your choice of iMac colors? Oh, never mind.

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