When Will Apple Make Great Reference Apps like Microsoft?

CodeWare, Inc.

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 24, 2002
When I want to find information, for a report, essay, etc., I go directly to Encarta.com, because it's one of the most comprehensive e-encyclopedias ever assembled. If I can't place my finger on the definition of a particular word, I use an application called BookShelf to find it. It, too, is very comprehensive--including a dictionary and an encyclopedia, bundled with several other goodies. Nearly every important entry is packed with demonstrative data: videos, pictures, histograms--all filed under MEDIA and thumbnailed for ease-of-use. I've fallen in love with these applications. To me, there is nothing in the world that could compete with them. But what's WORSE is . . . they are all products of Microsoft, Inc. What is it, us Mac users, forced to use Microsoft's superior reference suites? Why? I want to hurl Bill Gates bodily through a wall of fishhooks, I do--but you have to admit, you would be foolish not to admit, their reference software is much better than anything else. When will Apple come out with 'iReference'? Is this something we should even hope for? I do. I hope Apple comes out with a reference application that staggers the software architects at Microsoft. That lures even Bill Gates to its client-base. Until that time . . . I'm disgusted.


macrumors regular
Jan 27, 2002
SLC UT/Italy
I believe that Sherlock 3 is quickly becoming apples solution for this type of thing now. The resources they demoed during the keynote were just the tip of the iceburg. You can currently use shelock to search these things out but it will be greatly improved in Sherlock3


macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2002
Reference Application is sort of a misnomer.

You are complimenting M$ on buying lots of information (compiled by others) and writing a tiny search and display mechanism.

The fact of the matter is that Apple (and M$) shouldn't do this. Apple is sticking to its core markets (video, audio, graphics, and now consumers). M$ only did this because they feel empowered to try to do everything, usually with mediocre results. The OED (the World's definitve dictionary) is already available for Mac. I would much rather have an encylopaedia suite produced by Brittanica than Apple. However...

Since a simple search and display mechanism already exists, and is cross platform (http), if you cough up the probably $4-5 million in content licensing fees (as M$ has), and pay me $250,000, I'll write it for you...this way we can let Apple focus their energy where it needs to be.

CodeWare, Inc.

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 24, 2002

Well defined points, Nipsy. . .

Though: I am drawn by the aesthetic appeal of Microsoft's Encarta, and its consistency. I have used applications like the electronic Oxford English Dictionary--they were shipped with very amateurish interfaces. And, despite being packed with unparalleled etymological info., it's merely an OCR-scanned version of the original: there aren't any appended photographs, videos, statistics. Just like the physical OED. Bland.

True, World Book, Brittanica, etc., could be counted on to have a very impressive body of trained history-compilers . . . BUT, Microsoft MAY have the upper hand--a little thing this world calls "incentive." And, as far as Microsoft, we could be talking $MMM. Does that mean Microsoft would "skim the frosting," so to speak, and garner only the best-of-the-best? What if? Then Encarta really would be better than eBritannica or OED-ROM.


macrumors 68000
May 5, 2002
Gold Coast, Australia
If I am correct, Microsoft used to have Encarta for the Macintosh, but after 1998 edition, they focused on the Windows version only, like they did with MS Works for Macintosh. I own many versions of Encarta-and often use the online version /Microsoft Encarta online , it's the Australian version-more relevant if you are in Australia. OrUS version if you're in the United States of America.


macrumors 6502a
May 28, 2001
Hey you're right. A nice reference app would be nice.
Or indeed Sherlock could be great for that.
Only disadvantage is that if you would compare it to something like encarta, then they should do something about the look so that it would look more like an on screen journey.
Nice interface, pictures, when you search for something, that pictures are displayed immediately, ....
I think we can find some nice features to include in Sherlock to make it look awesome (should be able to switch it on/off, if you're searching for other stuff like a site or a movie)

Just thought of something, Sherlock should include a kids lookup function, so that it turns into a super awesome app that turns into a semi book - semi movie encyclopedia.