Apple: What's intuitive about "firmware?"

Stephen Baker

I was peering over my wife's shoulder as she booted up her new iMac. This was supposed to be easy, and intuitive. But early on she was instructed to update her firmware. This involved writing down a set of instructions, and turning off the computer and holding a button until a light started blinking. It worked OK, but my question is this: How many iMac buyers know what "firmware" is? Shouldn't those of us unschooled in such jargon get a clear explanation about what firmware is, and why in a brand new computer it needs updating? Maybe a bit of English?

The next chore involved telling the Mac's mail program about her Pop accounts. That was no fun, either. That said, her dazzling 24-inch screen makes this little laptop of mine look like a Blackberry.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.