Windows Vista has been delayed to early 2007, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find Windows pro audio users who care. For me, the delays in Vista send a pretty clear message to PC audio users: go ahead and upgrade your machine now, rather than waiting for Microsoft. Get the PC you want, and take advantage of 64-bit computing with Windows x64 now rather than later, dual-booting if you have to. And, frankly, speaking as a cross-platform Mac/Windows user, I don’t seriously believe many PC users will flock to the Mac in the interim, any more than Microsoft is likely to tempt loyal Mac users to the PC with a shiny new OS. (Mac users have been chuckling at the absurdity of that thought for nearly a year now.)

In short:

x64 is here, it’s out, deal with it. There’s finally a critical mass of audio drivers and audio software to squeeze 64-bit performance out of the high-end machines from Intel and AMD. That to me is a lot more fun than a redesigned Start menu.

Microsoft’s five flavors of Vista are still a bad idea. Business? Ultimate? Home Premium? Home Basic? Leave it to Microsoft to take feedback from the press and users alike about its useless Pro/Home split with XP and basically give us the finger and make it worse. Think it’s just me complaining? Take a look on Vista’s Website at what Microsoft’s marketing arm considers “Business” features: security, network features, mobile computing, and built-in diagnostics. Sure, this isn’t just an audio issue, but it’s still worth mentioning: the reason the Mac has remained so popular among music and audio customers is because the platform delivers one, consistent experience. Microsoft had a chance to do that with Vista, and instead they’re going to create confusing crippleware because their marketing department thought it’d be a neat idea. (Anyone other than me thinking of Douglas Adams’ Sirius Cybernetics marketing department?)

XP works for music, for those who are already comfortable with it, at least. Keep tweaking out your XP system and enjoy it. And, like every smart Mac or PC music and audio user, I’m sure you’ll be smart enough to wait a bit on the upgrade so all your software is good and ready before you make the jump, anyway.