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Even free, iCal isn't worth the price. Everyone else is pointing to this, I might as well too.

Consider the history of the iApps: iMovie was, and is, great, defining a category of its own with its power and ease of use. The few bizarre interface designs in its early versions were worked out. iTunes made its name among MP3 players with some incredible design, and rose to the top when nothing else could compete. It's simply terrific, one of my favorite programs, though it was a bit buggy in early versions, and keeps getting better. iDVD I've never used, so I can't comment. iPhoto was slow, clunky (especially in its on-disk storage), innovative in places but overall so very capable that people used it despite its failings. iChat is decent, cute (in a good way), somewhat feature-poor and buggy, but has a lot of promise for the future, and compares especially well against the commercial IM clients with their constant onslaught of ads.

iCal is slow, clunky, innovative almost nowhere, and aside from the calendar sharing, is outshone by Palm Desktop. When Palm Desktop was Claris Organizer, I switched to it from Now Up-to-Date and Contact, and was willing to give up a bit of functionality for the amazing elegance (and, at the time, lower memory use). Earlier versions of Palm Desktop had some issues with database corruption, especially relating to Palm synchronization, but it's been months since I've had any problems. Not to mention the personal support I got at MacHack from Chris Page :-).

Some apparent trends from the above: Almost every iApp had some bizarre interface quirks in version 1.0 which were later resolved. There's been a general decline of initial quality. There's a discontinuity after which the products exhibited much poorer initial quality starting with iPhoto, when Cocoa became the implementation language of choice.

Hints to Apple: Make sure your new iApp competes favorably with the free software you already bundle with your machines. Cocoa doesn't have to equal buggy and slow. Test your software.

Hint to Palm: Develop a multiuser and iCal-compatible calendar-sharing version of Palm Desktop for Mac and charge for it. I'll pay $100 for it. So will a lot of other people I bet. Really.

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