Originally Posted by Tardis
I am not a user of ATOK, so I have no idea why it would help the Mac OS X Japanese text input. It seems to me that Apple is doing a pretty good job of that on its own.
But you really do need to be a user of ATOK to more fully understand why Apple is not doing "the best job possible" on its own. Any native Japanese who has used the built-in Japanese input methods of OS X or Windows will be able to tell you the failings and limitations of those input methods (yes, I work with native Japanese, and they tell me, and I experience the failings in my own work too), and a good number of those failings are addressed in ATOK. But such makes logical since because Just Systems is not concentrating their software development efforts on an entire OS like Apple or Microsoft. They are able to concentrate more effort on making the best Japanese Input Method possible, which is why ATOK is a noticeable improvement over the standard Japanese input methods.
All this talk about ATOK may seem irrelevant to native English speakers, and it is for those who live outside Japan and who never use non-English languages. But for those of us who must use Japanese even a little, ATOK offers a lot. And as I said before, the ability to "sketch" in Kanji that you cannot read (but want to read) is a real boon indeed. The only downside is that ATOK is still, after all these years, largely unknown -- especially outside Japan. Most people just trudge along with their inferior Japanese input methods and complain about why things should be better, not knowing there is something better out there. That's why I think Apple can really bring something great to the Japanese market if it could vastly improve Kotoeri by replacing it with ATOK.
Kotoeri has improved through the years, and I am not calling Kotoeri "garbage" or anything of the sort. I am simply saying it could become so much better. And truly, for Japanese people and those who use Japanese, an Input Method is something you use on your computer whenever you use that computer. You get more use out of it than a web browser, word processor or any other individual app simply because you input text everywhere throughout the OS and in every app.
As to Steve Job's sentiments about Japan, I have little doubt his love stems mostly from how Japan benefits Apple's bottom line, including the fact Japan amounts to 6% of Apple's sales and the fact Apple sources key components from Japan and has been trying to source more over the past year. But Steve is also well aware that Japan is a tough market with a very demanding consumer base. And any American company who is truly committed to making the best products possible is obligated to test their products in Japanese waters and then improve those products to the satisfaction of the Japanese. So Steve could also love Japan because Japan has indirectly helped Steve make his products better. Such not only makes better products "for Japan," but better products in overall -- hence my desire to see a better input method in OS X (which again only becomes abundantly clear if you are native Japanese or have lived in Japan many years and use the language here). If the verbal love Job's has expressed for Japan is real, he'll put those words into action, with continued improvements specific to helping the Japanese, above and beyond mere "vertical text in TextEdit."
As to AppleInsider "spelling errors," I've commented on those in other articles from time to time. My feeling is, if there were no spelling or grammar checkers, or if the authors were all amateur writers, such would be excusable. But neither is the case. Moreover, this isn't just any article either. It is classified as a "FEATURE" story. As such my expectations as a reader are higher. One can only hope AppleInsider takes these "spelling mistake" comments to heart in their future articles. But if past comments about bad spelling are any indication, they won't do that for us. I can therefore only express "continued disappointment" at the sheer apathy toward proper writing in English. I can appreciate the desire to kick out articles quickly, but those articles should also be quickly-yet-carefully proofed before published.Disclaimer: I do not work for Just Systems (creators of ATOK), nor have I ever worked for them, nor do I know anyone who does work for them, nor do I get any direct benefit by speaking positively about ATOK. The content (and bad Japanese) of this particular AppleInsider article coupled with my having lived in Japan over 16 years simply provoked me to write about "Japanese text input improvements." I have no hidden agenda here.