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OS X set for Mac default in March

Harry Homeowner needs drivers

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Phil Schiller, Apple's VP of worldwide marketing, has gone on the record to suggest March as the date when new Macs ship with OS X as default.

Macs have shipped with both the old and the new operating systems preloaded since May, but with OS 9.x as default, and Apple has been pretty cagey so far on even suggesting a date for the big switch.

Many of the initial networking and UI glitches are being ironed out, and native applications are appearing in numbers, with Microsoft Office shipping Stateside already, and due in the UK next Friday.

But device support, for example for external Firewire devices and native scanners, is poor at best. Even when devices are supported, the drivers aren't altogether optimal. (We've just printed an eight page analyst report on our Deskjet 990, two pages a side - there's no support for the duplex option - and it took more than 20 minutes.) And both the native 10.1 Internet Explorer and OmniWeb are prone to seizures, so we reluctantly fire up the Classic version of IE for browsing.

Although Office and PhotoShop are touted as the barometers of OS X acceptance, it's how well the real simple stuff - surfing, printing, scanning - can be performed on a Mac that will determine its acceptance with Harry Homeowner. And there's still work to be done there. ®

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