The New York Times Eats Out Of Steve Jobs's Hand

from the reality-distortion-field dept

The New York Times has an interview with Steve Jobs about Apple's plans for Mac OS X over the next decade, and it appears that Jobs had his famous Reality Distortion Field cranked up to full power. In the interview, Jobs says “I’m quite pleased with the pace of new operating systems every 12 to 18 months for the foreseeable future,” he said. “We’ve put out major releases on the average of one a year.” The story then notes that Microsoft took "almost seven years" between XP and Vista, and notes that the next version of Windows is slated for 2010. The reporter states that "At Apple’s current pace, it will have introduced two new versions of its operating system by then." Now maybe I'm bad at math, but I'm pretty sure that recent versions of Mac OS X haven't been released a year or even 18 months apart. The last version of Mac OS X was released two and a half years ago, and the one before that was released four years ago this week. So Apple has actually be averaging about 2 years per release, suggesting that "at Apple's current pace," they would release 10.6 (or whatever it's called) in October 2009, and 10.7 in October 2011. On the other hand, if you think the next version of Windows will be out before the end of the decade, I've got some real estate in Florida you might be interested in.

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Companies: apple, ny times

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Comments on “The New York Times Eats Out Of Steve Jobs's Hand”

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jon says:

You’re right, you aren’t good at math. An average is not one or two specific instances but rather a collection of instances. Apple released Mac OS 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3 between 2001 and 2004. Now add 10.4 and 10.5.

6 releases since 2001 is an *average* of?

……carry the denominator
……oh heck I’ll ruin it for you 6/6 = 1

Tim Lee (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Jon, Apple released several versions in rapid succession early in the decade, but each new release has taken longer than the last. I don’t think it’s reasonable to interpret “Apple’s current pace” as referring to the pace they were setting 6 years ago.

Even if we do look at the last 6 years, your math is wrong. What we care about is the number of releases since 10.0, so you can’t count 10.0 itself. And 10.1 was a free bugfix, so it’s not really fair to include it in the count (otherwise we might as well include XP service packs). So there have been 4 new releases in the last 79 months, for an average release time of just under 20 months. That’s neither “12 to 18 months” nor “on the average of one a year.”

fg says:

How many months in a year-and-a-half?

Oh, right. 18. Now, 4 minus 2.5? 1.5.

More directly.

10.0: 3/24/2001
10.1: 9/25/2001 (6 months)
10.2: 8/23/2002 (11 months)
10.3: 10/24/2003 (14 months)
10.4: 4/29/2005 (18 months)
10.5: 10/26/2007 (30 months)

The comparison has other flaws. Vista is far more different from XP than 10.5 will be from 10.4; Apple’s changes are far more incremental. However, that doesn’t change the fact that you don’t seem to know what an average is.

Danno says:

Hmm, well, maybe, but there are at least a couple of features in Leopard that I am really, *really* looking forward to. Specifically Time Machine (oh god thank you incremental automated backup, no more nightly rsyncs, HALLELUJAH) and iChat screen sharing to name two.

I’ve also heard that Leopard actually has quite a few optimizations that might cause some speed increases in a few apps, so that’s nice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Who cares what the average is. Their systems take much much shorter time to be released, and are much much more stable than M$ could ever dream of being. Not to mention you don’t have to bother with all the crap M$ dumped into their “so-called” OS like serials, WGA, etc.

Long live Apple.

Oh and what kind of person would Jobs be if he didn’t lie a little? We all secretly want to be a rich theif like old Billy boy don’t we?

Shun says:

Law of Averages


10.0: 3/24/2001
10.1: 9/25/2001 (6 months)
10.2: 8/23/2002 (11 months)
10.3: 10/24/2003 (14 months)
10.4: 4/29/2005 (18 months)
10.5: 10/26/2007 (30 months)

Someone please tell me what “average” means in a situation like this. It appears that Apple is taking longer and longer to release a new version of its operating system.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Windows release schedule looked similar.

This is the opposite of Ray Kurtzweil’s “Law of Accelerating Returns” and goes back to the stone-age economics of the “Law of Diminishing Returns”. Gee, remember that, kiddies?

Looks like the old economy is here to stay, again. In fact, if you look at that OS X release schedule, it looks close to a Fibonacci Sequence. So 10.6 will take between 3 and 4 years to develop. Some average. Note to Steve : start working on OS 11. (But this one goes to 11!)

For that matter, who updates their OS’s besides ultra-geeks? I mean, unless there is something horribly wrong with the previous iteration, who’s going to buy a new OS…Mac Fanbois? M$ Fanbois? Geeks with nothing but time and money on their hands?

I mean, if I can run mail, web, and IM, I’m set for life. Also, if I can write nasty little comments on techdirt, I don’t care what OS I’m using.

jeff says:

Re: Law of Averages

“For that matter, who updates their OS’s besides ultra-geeks? I mean, unless there is something horribly wrong with the previous iteration, who’s going to buy a new OS…Mac Fanbois? M$ Fanbois? Geeks with nothing but time and money on their hands?”

With vista we pretty much have to if we want a to buy a new computer in a retail store. This is one of the reasons that MAC sales have increase – ex-pc people who couldn’t get a new computer with xp (I’m one of them…)

Mrrar says:

Ubuntu releases a new OS version every 6 months…

Also, as someone who is forced to read white papers, I can tell those who dismiss OSes as irrelevant.. they are anything but. an OS is more than just ‘a system on which programs run,’ it’s the forefront on computer security, as well as the forefront on, well, making your computer _do_ things. Regretfully most OSes, be they *nix or win32 based… sorta suck.

An OS revolution is in order.

Mac is hardly leaning. Leveraging the code of *nix and pretended they invented it is more than laughable, it’s downright dishonest.

I use a Mac. “It just works” is about as bullshit as any claim made my a Windows or Linux evangelist.

They all have flaws, but pretending your company does something it doesn’t (consistently release OSes in a short period of time), frankly isn’t right…

Just because AOL is up to version 352 doesn’t mean the current iteration is better than 2.5

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Closed-Source Dead End

As Mrrar points out, Ubuntu manages a new OS release about every 6 months. And that distro offers tens of thousands of packages, totalling hundreds of millions of lines of source code–bigger than Vista and OS X put together. How’s that for greater productivity?

Yes, it does seem like Apple is taking longer and longer to bring out new releases. It looks like it’s approaching the same brick wall that Microsoft has already hit with Vista–ultimately, your capacity to add more and more new features, while maintaining backward compatibility with a longer and longer trail of poorly-thought-out past decisions that you cannot change because of the need to maintain binary compatibility with obsolete closed-source apps that your customers might still be using, becomes impossible to maintain. Your ability to stave off the forces of entropy becomes exhausted, and a Vista-type product is the result.

DMM says:

Re: Closed-Source Dead End

Actually, Apple had already hit a dead end with Mac OS 9, and out came OS X. That transition was painful–I should know, having been a Mac user for 17+ years. The underpinnings of OS 9 had its original roots in the first Mac OS, so the overall lifespan of that technology was about 17 years (1984 to 2001).

The underpinnings of Windows (e.g., the registry and other OS base technologies) is now at least 12 years old, counting from the release of Windows 95. The next release might therefore represent the end-of-life for the underlying technology, and we may see MS making a huge switch similar to the one Apple made from OS 9 to OS X.

With this history in mind, it would appear as if the technology underlying OS X still has ten years of life left.

Jon says:

Tim, you can argue all you like, but that’s just semantics and quite petty if you want to know. It seems like you’re trying to change the terms to fit your argument. First off, do your homework, releases 10.0.1 to 10.0.4 were bug fixes OS 10.1 was a bit more than a “bug fix,” there were in fact a number of added features, and regardless it was a point release. You can argue with what Jobs is counting and the merits of each release if you’d like, but the math is still there. The fact remains that there has been six releases in six years.

And if you want to be petty about things it would also seem you’re misreading things. You quote Jobs as saying that “I’m quite pleased with the pace of new operating systems every 12 to 18 months for the foreseeable future.” It’s a statement of intent. That means from now on the release cycle would be 12 to 18 months. The future is the time ahead of where you are, the past in the one behind us. Now I can see that *maybe* you’d like to say the past here can predict the future, but the numbers don’t support your argument either. The only release not to fall within the 12-18 month rate of release is 10.5. And if you don’t believe me look it up. 10.3 came out Oct 2003 and came out 10.4 Apr 2005 that is 18 months. So in the end it seems that your argument based off of one exception. Here is another math term that is important when trying to predict and analyze things “outlier.”

Anonymous Coward says:

If you going to compare the Mac OS to the Windows OS, keep the “versions” straight. 10.0 through 10.5 is still 10! I see these comments about XP to Vista, with no mention of SP1 or SP2. There were three major XP versions. If you are going to give Apple credit for it’s minor updates, at least do the same for Microsoft.

You don’t get it do you?

bshock (profile) says:

We've seen this before

It’s called “Stenography Journalism.” It happens in Washington, D.C. — particularly at the White House — every day. Those who style themselves “journalists” have decided that they have no obligation to be skeptical, or even to fact check. Reporting whatever comes out of someone’s mouth is sufficient.

With one caveat: the journalist/stenographer believes that an unfounded statement is “news” only if it comes from the mouth of the wealthy and/or powerful.

John (profile) says:

Changing the subject...

“I’ve got some real estate in Florida you might be interested in.”
Yes, I’m interested in hearing about real estate in Florida. 🙂

Back in the late 1970’s, my parents were approached about “buying real estate in Florida”. They passed, thinking it was a scam to sell them swamp land.

That swamp land became the town of Punta Gorda, near Ft Myers (south of Tampa/ Sarasota), where developers built canals similar to Ft Lauderdale so every home has water access. The average price of a home is anywhere from $350,000 to $500,000 and up.
If my parents had bought the “swamp land” in the 1970’s and held it until the late 1990’s, they probably would have made a fortune.

So, where did this expression come from and why are we still using it? 😉

Bonzo says:

Walt Mossberg too!

In his Oct 25 (yes, that’s tomorrow) review of Apple’s new operating system, Leopard, Walt Mossberg says something similar:

“And Apple has upgraded OS X far more rapidly than Microsoft Inc. has upgraded Windows, bringing out major new releases roughly every 18 months, while Microsoft struggled for more than five years to produce the latest Windows iteration, Vista, which came out in January.”

More here:

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