Thursday, Jun 19, 2003
There's been a lot of speculation about Mac OS X 10.3, 'Panther' that Steve jobs will be demoing on Monday at the WWDC keynote speech. even though the update isn't due to come out until September, it's being unveiled to get developers on the bandwagon to support 10.3 features on launch day.
One of the features with the biggest potential for impact is 'multiple GUI logins' which basically means that more than one user can be logged in at once. The conventional wisdom has been that this would let Bob stay logged in while Jane logs in to work on her paper as Bob is temporarily away, so each user doesn't have to shut down everything they're doing just so someone else can access their files and use the computer. I think this could be a lot bigger, though.
Ever since the iMac came out with two headphone jacks on the front of the computer, it's been clear that Apple realized that educational computers are shared computers. The ability to log in to a computer has been tremendously important in educational environments, because students can take their workspaces with them.
but what I haven't seen mentioned is the possibility for simultaneously shared computers. Pop in a second video card, plug in another keyboard and a second mouse, and suddenly you have the usefulness of two computers where before you had one. And when you only need one, you have one computer with two screens!
True, there's the obvious argument that this could cost Apple sales, but I really wonder how many two-mac homes there are right now. It seems to me that the ability to buy one computer that the kids and parents could use at the same time would be a strong reason to buy Mac over PC, and when you only have a 3% market share, coming out with a feature that could lure a fraction of the remaining 97% is worth losing a fraction of the 3%.
Now that assignments are required to be typewritten at earlier and earlier ages, two or more kids having to share one computer at home is turning into a big problem. Wouldn't it be nice if the mantras on the value of sharing weren't halted by the digital divide?
And wouldn't it be nice if Apple came out with a 2lb thin client wireless tablet so you could use your computer anywhere around the house, even as your wife does the same?
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