All of which points to the regrettable state of affairs of this iMac, my very proud recent acquisition and my first foray into the new world of Intel-based Macintosh hardware. I was all in favor of this switch from PowerPC to Intel, not in the least because my platform of choice is now the only computer hardware available anywhere that can reliably run all of the major operating systems in the marketplace. But, if these first few weeks of ownership are any indication, Apple has bought into the general flakiness of Intel chips as much as they’ve bought into those chips’ flexibility.
Here are just a few of my troubles: The system exhibits a general stubbornness when it comes to remembering to actually launch certain log-in items. The system exhibits painful, almost glacial slowness after some long bouts of inactivity. The system refuses to display the Force Quit menu when certain applications hang and I invoke command-option-escape. The system is unreliable with regards to networking to another Mac via IP Over FireWire, which is one of my favorite uses of the FireWire bus. The system occasionally and erratically disconnects from my AirPort network.
Maybe the most annoying thing of all is that the built-in iSight, which worked fine for the first few days that I owned the machine, is now completely unresponsive. I can’t get it to work. After a lengthy call to Apple tech support, they determined that the camera is in fact broken, and it now has to be repaired by a technician. Grrr.
Classic Days of Classic
Anyway, for now, I’m focusing most of my frustration on Rosetta-reliant applications. Unfortunately, there are more than a few crucial laggards to the Intel-based Mac world, so completely eschewing these is impossible. This whole situation reminds me of my early days using Mac OS X, though, when moving over from the legacy Mac OS 9 environment meant waiting patiently for software developers to overhaul their products.
I guess I should consider it a plus that, by and large, Rosetta is a far superior experience than Classic ever was. And it consoles me a bit, too, to know that with time, this system will only get more and more stable, just as Mac OS X did over the course of several major revisions. However, by the time the Intel-based Macintosh environment is mature and reliable, I’m sure it will time to make yet another canonical platform shift of some kind. Sigh.