Mac nerd walks off with OS X

Aucklander John Morgan might have been the first person in the world to buy a copy of Apple's newly released Mac OS X, but for two things.

Aucklander John Morgan might have been the first person in the world to buy a copy of Apple's newly released Mac OS X, but for two things. The first hitch was violation by a US retailer of an Apple embargo on sales of the OS and the second was the fact that Morgan was given his copy, although he was fully prepared to pay for it.

Morgan, who does graphic design for Auckland clothing importer House of Janak, was one of scores of shoppers who lined up at MagnumMac in Newton Road on midnight on March 23 to be the first buyers of the OS. But the plan to take advantage of the fact that New Zealand sees the dawn earlier than anyone was foiled by US retailer Staples. A number of Staples stores put the OS on sale three days before Apple's official March 24 release date.

"It spoils it for everyone when something like that happens," says MagnumMac Auckland manager Ian Matsell.

But Morgan, who says standing in line at midnight was no imposition for a Mac nerd such as he, wasn't unhappy.

"It was a thrill to win," he says, after his name was drawn from among the late-night crowd, landing him a free copy of the OS.

"It's very stable but needs a lot of grunt," he says, after a week of running it.

Morgan's home iMac strains to run the OS on 94MB or RAM but his work machine, with 128MB, copes fine. He uses it to make up ads and brochures.

The prospect of having to fork out for application upgrades to take full advantage of the OS doesn't worry him.

"I'm long overdue for new apps," he says.

According to Matsell, he'll be waiting a while yet.

"By July, all the big guns will have their apps sorted out," he says. So far, MagnumMac has no native OS X applications on its shelves.

While Staples managed to start selling the OS before the official release date, access to the product is a bit of sore point with others. Jennifer Neumann, the head of German digital asset management company Canto Software, who was in the country when the OS was released, says her developers only received the final code at the same time as it went on retail sale.

Neumann, whose 10-year-old company started out writing software for the Mac, says Apple could face a challenge marketing a Unix-based OS, which will place new demands on Macintosh system administrators.

She says the majority of her customers today run Windows NT and the new OS will only be as important to her as it is to her customers.

"We'll ship our software for it shortly," she says.

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