So what has Apple Leopard going to do with ? A lot. Infoworld has been recognized as a premier source of IT news and review, and its pedigrees spanning more than 2 decades exemplify the high quality and standard of its content. Hence, a review done by Infoworld will somehow influence the purchasing decision make by an individual or business alike. So given that Infoworld choose to review Apple Leopard means that Infoworld has already considered its review seriously.
Been a avid daily reader of Infoworld since the day of its printed publication (must have been 18 years then), I like the way its articles are been written in a distinctive, non-biased straight-forward style.
So just today, I came across a article, Mac OS X Leopard: A perfect 10 by Tom Yager. What caught my attention is not only the heading, but also the link that lead me to the article. The link has the following text:
Full review: Leopard lands a 10
For the first time ever, after every test, evaluation imaginable, InfoWorld awards a perfect score — to Apple’s OS X 10.5
To say the least, I am bemused by the text because never in history of Infoworld has a reviewed product been awarded a perfect score. And to have a perfect score for the first time means that it is must be very awesome product and operationally flawless. Most importantly, it will be very controversial if the product turn out to be less than perfect, and yet be the first to hit the bull-eye !
So in a country where statistic and number are known to skew to fit certain agenda, I’m more than caution to accept things as they seem rather than they really are. I probably know that number just don’t tell the truth, so that makes me all the more determined to uncover what behind the perfect score.
Flaws in article
To my dismay, what I find after reading the full article perplex me. It sound more like a marketing material than a unbiased review, and I’m sure it do little to establish the credibility of the review. This article simply highlights the improvement and enhancement done to Leopard, with comparison to Apple’s previous Tiger version and Microsoft’s Windows. There is no attempt to address the problems and issues of Leopard in the real world (I’m sure that there are a lot to address, just search Google) . This definitely deviate from the usual Tom’s standard that I come to know. The following is extracted from the review
What’s changed in Leopard is that Apple has invested enormous effort to expose Mac framework enhancements to users through OS X’s built-in facilities and applications. Leopard’s out-of-the-box experience, which I define as the things that a user can do without spending an extra dollar on software, eclipses Tiger’s, and Tiger was no slouch in this regard. In the past, third parties have offered freeware and shareware facilities to extend or even replace Finder, the Mac’s answer to Windows’ primitive Explorer. That died out with Tiger, and Leopard makes such efforts entirely useless. That is not a bad thing.
As to cost, when tallied frankly, the price of a single commercial Windows desktop in an enterprise is potentially infinite, and it is a continuous and growing expense. It is so burdensome that outsourcing the management of Windows clients is another Microsoft-fed industry.
Certainly I agree with Tom’s point in Windows, but this is not astute as he play on Leopard’s strength only not on Windows’s strength (eg myriad software, great development environment, Java compatibility etc)
Comparison to IPhone’s review
|This is a stark contrast to the review of done by Tom himself on IPhone. On July, Tom wrote a review on IPhone, a highly successful product, titled iPhone: The $1,975 iPod, in which he gave a score of 4.9, a far discrepency from the perfect 10 he give to Leopard. But that is not the point, the point is that Tom expressed his displease over IPhone as highlighted in the following.|
Answering an incoming call is supposed to be as easy as raising your iPhone to your head. That never worked for me, but your head may vary. In any case, if you add up what iPhone does, and what it’s supposed to do, it appears you have a phone that you can operate one-handed and safely answer in the car. But no. iPhone lacks voice dialing or commands, so you can’t use the phone truly hands-free.
In all other regards, iPhone is a mediocre phone. Its speaker is too quiet for speakerphone use, and the audio quality of the headset is inferior to that of BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices I have for contrast tests. Visual Voicemail, which creates a browsable inbox for voice mail, is a nice feature. You can jog through each message and view details of its sender, the time, and the date, as well as return the call with a button click. But you cannot forward the message to someone as e-mail or voice mail.
Tom’s writing style
That is exactly the kind of meticulous attention that make Tom’s past review a informative and enjoyable read because these flaws is likely to be the same sentiment share by many users. In other words, product’s success alone should not conceal its flaws. I really enjoy Tom’s articles. He write with passion and enthusiasm, but I can’t help thinking that Tom has gone a little too astray in Leopard’s review.
I start to analyze Tom’s writing style in this article compare to previous articles written by him. Tom generally write positively and constructively about the products he likes. Unfortunately, a extensive evaluation isn’t suppose to just reveal the good side but also identifying problems and issues, bugs as well. Just merely addressing the deficiencies of previous Tiger OS or comparing its strength to Windows aren’t going to make Leopard any perfect. How it works in real world is much important and how it addresses business and individual need is more critical.
I have a feeling that the article stay clear of mentioning any problem or issue so that the title and score align with each other (Perfect score allows the word Perfect to be used in heading). After all, a product is not perfect if it has some outstanding or problematic issues. Perhaps, a better humble title might be Mac OS X Leopard: A near perfect OS. Is the perfect score been given just for the sake of been the first to achieve that in history of Infoworld ? If so, Tom definitely achieve that but at the expense of Infoworld’s credibility.
The perfect Leopard
So what constitutes a perfect Leopard ? A perfect Leopard means that the product work excellently across all applications in the system but report from forum, site and even Infoworld disproved that otherwise.
Ironically, a article, Apple issues 23 updates in two days; highlights of Tiger and Leopard updates on November 15, 2007 by Tom himself shows that Leopard is not operationally perfect. And if this is any indication, more problems will likely to be identified to make this Leopard a less than a perfect operating system. Stellar ? Yes. Perfect ? Definitely no.
Sorry, Tom. Has this been a Apple marketing material, I would have unhesitatingly give it a perfect score too. Unfortunately, this is not supposed to be marketing content but a unbiased and extensive review that been assigned to test-center column. The test and evaluation are supposed to reveal real-world strength and issues not just merely about conveying features and benefits only in perfect environment. Or perhaps the the judging criteria need revamping ?
Flaws in perfect score
No doubt that MacOSX is a excellent OS, but by no means it is perfect in everyone’s eyes. I suggest never to give any product a perfect score of 10 especially one in which the editor never consider its imperfection, issues and problems. Apple may well address its deficiencies in future to warrant a perfect score, but the same can be said for Microsoft, Linux and any other vendors. So until then, a less than perfect score should be given to avoid dispute among vendors and unnecessary favouritism and bias over certain brand and product.
A less than perfect score also means that it provides a buffer for users and product where the product work less than expected etc bugs, design issue, system incompatibilities, and this is indeed the case of Leopard.
Moreover, it is inappropriate to determine a score based solely by a editor who tend to bias towards Apple and especially given that OS is embroiled in a series of politics in business environment. Not that Tom is non-credible, it just hard to have a biased decision based solely on a sole reviewer of certain preference (Even in Olympic, you have few judges determine the outcome of a athlete performance.) (Tom talks about Windows too but he seems to prefer Apple over Microsoft’s products)
Still, on the whole, I find Tom a prolific writer and enjoy the review he has written even though he has the tendency to overlook a product’s flaws over something he likes. But then, it is really hard to take something seriously without considering its flaws. If something sound too good to be true, it probably is.
Unlike my harmless blog that doesn’t mean much to anyone, a review by Infoworld may mean a lot to business and individual because they could probably based their purchased decision using Infoworld as one of its determinant sources.
So has Tom becoming too conservative and complacent in his review ? Or becoming so personal about Apple that he willing to overlook flaws in its products ? I really don’t know but I hope that is not the case.
Anyway, I certainly looking forward to forthcoming reviews from Tom which hopefully will be less biased towards certain brand and offered more balanced view. With this, I wish the best for Infoworld to continue to increase its readership and leadership in future to come.
|Tom Yager is chief technologist of the InfoWorld Test Center. He also writes InfoWorld’s Ahead of the Curve and Enterprise Mac blogs. (From Infoworld)|