Yesterday, in our Slack channel, I joked about the inevitability of music software vendors issuing a probably pre-written stock statement via social channels about how their DJ/music software isn’t supported in Apple’s latest update tagged High Sierra. “Serato DJ won’t work — it never does” I quipped. And sure enough, the first thing I see through bleary eyes in my timeline this morning is a post from Serato confirming exactly what I’d semi-joked about. Clearly I’ve been doing this for far too long.
Now in the past, I would have written a sarcasm-heavy post berating the entire industry for having months to get their collective acts together and get their products ready for opening day, which incidentally is today for MacOS 10.13.
But not anymore.
Yosemite was quite the eye opener for me and the entire Mac supporting industry too. Overnight, things broke quite drastically, and repeatedly so too. And it was only after talking to the very people who my sarcasm was lightheartedly aimed at, that I realised the issues that they face each time an OS — Apple or otherwise — gets an update.
BETA AND BEYOND
The one very important thing that you need to bear in mind is that changes can happen in an OS right up to release. What was working in the first dodgy beta might not necessary perform in the GM (gold master to use the technical term) release, and can change at any stage of the process too.
This uncertain process dictates whether effort is put into working with the day 1 beta, or simply waiting until everything has settled down in the GM. It’s about effectively managing resource. There’s every chance that nothing will have changed, but as I’ll explain in the next section, it’s vitally important that thorough testing is carried out.
Just to remind you — the OS version you’re running works just fine. Sure, iOS 11 brought some very useful features, but High Sierra does not. You are not missing anything DJ-wise by not installing it.
UNSUPPORTED VS WON’T WORK
There is a very important differentiation to make with these announcements, and one the impacts on the language that they use to satisfy their legal people.
Taking Serato as an example, they have announced that High Sierra is not supported. This essentially gets them off the hook should you decide to throw the GM into your Mac, and suddenly suffer mission-critical issues mid gig. It might be something as simple as a keystroke not working, all the way up to catastrophic data loss, but having made it clear that they don’t support it puts the onus on the end user. And rightly so — we live in litigious times, and if a software vendor didn’t cover their arses, said arses could be dragged through social media hell, and possibly the legal system too.
This however doesn’t mean it won’t work — just that Serato hasn’t spent enough time putting the GM through its paces across a number of computers running a plethora of controllers and interfaces to give it a seal of approval. And when you consider that things can change right up to release, who can blame them or any other vendor for not diverting resources to have ready at GM release?
So your software might work under High Sierra, but don’t going crying to the vendor or looking for social media sympathy if they told you it was unsupported just yet.
CAGING THE LEMMING
My 2014 MacBook Pro is due for a wipe. It’s doing some very weird stuff these days, so I’ll take this opportunity to start over, after a full backup of course, with High Sierra. But will I do it today? No. I’m going to give it a couple of weeks to allow the music and creative industries to get their offerings officially updated.
Normally, my inner fanboy/lemming would be chomping at the bit to get the latest and greatest running on my stuff. And bar a few dead and unimportant 32bit apps and poorer battery life, iOS 11 went on my devices without a problem. But they’re not vital in my working life at this time.
But having installed each successive Mac update from probably pre-System 6 up to today, I find with increasingly regularity that the keynote hoopla and excitement of “the best OS we’ve ever made” doesn’t measure up in real life. My inner lemming generally shrugs its shoulders and carries on pretty much as before. So the craving to potentially bork my entire setup just to get that super exciting new feature that in reality is actually not as awesome as the keynote made it out to be is waning with each passing keynote. It’ll take a Mac OS 9.2.2 to OS X jump to get me that super excited again.
So for me and my inner lemming, we can wait to update. High Sierra seems to be more about under the hood stuff than obvious upfront features anyway. And I’d rather the more vital day-to-day software like Photoshop and Premiere worked without issue.
A FULL 180
Having spent too many years giving the industry regular shit for not having their stuff GM ready, I’ve now done a complete about-face, which with age and possession of facts I’m fully allowed to do. I’ll still mock the usual suspects for their stock press releases that we just know were written when the first beta dropped. And should they take too long to get updated, then I’ll still be a thorn in their side — t’was ever thus and is largely my role in this industry. But I do now understand the pressures of OS releases and will absolutely cut them a little slack.
In closing — High Sierra is almost certainly not going to give you the horn the minute you install it. You will not be smarter, more attractive, or get more gigs. In fact, the opposite is more likely to occur, especially mid set when your world comes crashing down around you, meaning you won’t get booked again, and that hot thing you were chatting up thinks you’re a complete tool for installing the latest OS, especially when told not to. “Everyone knows that — DUH”.
Trust me — you can wait.