John Carmack: Apple still needs to get its act together

When id programming guru John Carmack appeared briefly at Steve Jobs' MacWorld keynote address last week, many people took it as a sign that the new G3 machines had, in fact, surpassed the Pentium II. Otherwise, people argued, why would the creator of such best sellers as DOOM, Quake, and Quake II have bothered? Well, it turns out that Carmack isn't as enthusiastic about the Mac as you might think: Apple basically promised to get its act together if id agreed to port their next game--the widely anticipated Quake3: Arena--to the Mac. Id decided to go for it and Carmack showed up at MacWorld as a favor to Jobs.

"\[The first beta\], and later the full commercial Quake3: Arena, will be simultaneously released on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms," Carmack said in a note to fans this week. "I think Apple is doing a lot of things right. A lot of what they are doing now is catch-up to \[Windows\], but if they can keep it up for the next year, they may start making a really significant impact."

"I still can't give the Mac an enthusiastic recommendation for sophisticated users right now," Carmack continued, "because of the operating system issues. \[Apple is\] working towards correcting that with MacOS X."

Carmack also attacked Apple's bogus speed comparisons with Windows boxes, which the company continues to shell out to the excitable Mac faithful.

"Basically, its a great system, but Apple has oversold its performance relative to Intel systems. In terms of \[Quake gaming speed\], the new G3 systems should be near the head of the pack, but there will be Intel systems outperforming them to some degree. The Mac has not instantly become a 'better' platform for games than \[Windows\], it has just made a giant leap from the back of the pack to near the front," he wrote. "I wish Apple would stop quoting 'Bytemarks'. I need to actually look at the contents of that benchmark and see how it can be so misleading. It is pretty funny listening to Mac evangelist types try to say that an iMac is faster than a Pentium II 400. Nope. Not even close."

"From all of my tests and experiments, the new Mac systems are basically as fast as the latest Pentium II systems for general CPU and memory performance," he continues. "This is plenty good, but it doesn't make the Intel processors look like slugs."

Since we're on the subject--Apple's insane claims have always frustrated me considering the number of things they could (and should) crow about--it should be noted that Jobs' claims of $1599-$2999 pricing for the new G3s is also basically bogus. These prices are achievable for only the most bare bones systems. A full-blown 400 MHz G3 runs around $5000, and a typical mid-range system will set you back about $3600. The point here is just a simple request for truth in advertising: Steve Jobs can get the Apple faithful in such a lather that they'd be believe anything. It's a shame to see him bend the truth so readily

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