|(c) 1998 Andrew C Stone. All rights reserved.|
Lately, on several of the electronic mailing lists dedicated to Rhapsody, there has been much criticism of Apple's apparent silence surrounding Rhapsody, and projected release dates of Rhapsody Developer Release 2 (RDR2). I hope to give you some insight on why this is an excellent strategy, and give you some things to do while we all sit around and wait.
One of Apple's time honored strengths is the ability to create intense desire for their products through the keeping of such secrecy. The power of the moment of unveiling is acheived by using the high drama format of a rock concert with smoke machines and Marshall stacks. And Steven P. Jobs is the undisputed master among masters in these media coup de graces. We all know this, we all love this, we all, at some level, live for this!
Silence speaks loudly to me - it is indicative of having something to be very quiet about - something so conceptually revolutionary that it requires the right context for its presentation and understanding.
So I contend that we all need to cool our collective jets until the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) on May 11th - the appointed time for Apple to release the surprises around Rhapsody. Even well-placed Rhapsody developers with ready to ship shrinkwrap apps such as Stone Design are not privy to what's going down inside Apple. And this is a good thing, because it indicates to me that some really interesting stuff is going to be announced.
Last January at the San Francisco MacWorld, it was announced that "Premier" was to be replaced by "First Customer Release", due in the first half of 1998, which effectively means in June. The semantic difference between "Premier" and "First Customer Release" is important: the first release to the public will not be some perfect solution, but instead, an evolving tightly coupled feedback loop between the early adopters, Apple Computer and third party Rhapsody software developers. This is a sage understanding of how important it is to temper users' expectations with reality.
The further morphing of the name of the next Rhapsody release to "RDR 2" is further proof of Apple's insistence that they get it right, before releasing something this cool and powerful to the double-click masses. It is my hope that the audience for RDR2 is wider than just developers, and that Apple realizes it needs the feedback loop from real sites using this technology.
And I don't even care if they drop RDR 2 and instead ship the "New MAC SERVER OS" - names are a game for marketeers, its up to the technoids to sift through the glass bead game and find the relevance
Because I have waited 10 years for NextStep/OpenStep/Rhapsody to be available to the mass market, I can wait a few more months. After all, it was Robert Heinlein who kept insisting in "Stranger in a Strange Land" that "Waiting is." In the spirit of the productive wait, here are nine things to do to pass the time until WWDC:
Join the various Rhapsody mailing lists
Read all you can about Rhapsody resources
Build an app based on the Omni Frameworks
Polish your app and add new features while drinking latte
Watch first time Rhapsody users beta test your app
Plant a real organic garden
Get involved with cyber rights & EFF
Expand the frontier of consciousness and support MAPS
Listen to Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now"
Take a walk in your neighborhood and give cyberspace a rest...
PS: Come back to this site on Wednesday for a special edition of Stone's Throw!