Barton Creek

Last week saw the opening of the 80th Apple Retail Store at Barton Creek Mall in Austin, TX. This was the third store opening I have attended, and Apple is the only reatil store I know of that actually has people lined up hundreds deep with coffee in hand early on a Saturday morning for a grand opening. As always the crowd was excited and talkative. My Bay Street t-shirt prompted many conversations as I learned that I am just a hobbyist in attending these celebrated openings (anything more that 45 minutes away is defferred to sleeping in).

But why are these gatherings so popular. Apple has definitely instilled a cult following in their user base, but not through manipulation or exclusivitiy. Instead they have consistently focused on putting out a product that makes sense to the head and has the style and panache to win over the hearts. This isn’t to get all mushy because there is always a lot of room for improvement, but overall Apple gets the user experience in a way other companies have been overlooking for years.

Another example appeared today in a Wired interview with Ken Bereskin, Apple’s director of Mac OS X product marketing.

“According to Bereskin, Apple has issued 44 security updates since Mac OS X was introduced in March 2001, and 3 percent of those were classified critical — a vulnerability that can be exploited remotely. The Help Viewer and Disk vulnerabilities are examples. By comparison, Microsoft issued 78 security updates in the same period, and 65 percent were critical, Bereskin noted.”

Those numbers are amazing but lessened in degree by remembering that OSX is a newer platform than XP. That newer architecture that is based on BSD UNIX is definitely impacting these security updates. However, considering that Longhorn, the next major Windows update (and the first away from Win95) is YEARS away, I don’t see Microsoft changing this reality very soon. And that’s disappointing, as competition breeds innovation for new or improved products and the end result could be a coup for consumers.

For now, I will enjoy my Apple products for their design and function, happy that their is a retail outlet fifteen minutes from my house where I can drool on all the new toys (I mean tools) I still want.