A fifth of Macworld Online readers say they "hate" the brushed-metal user interface (UI) of Mac OS 10.3, while almost half are ambivalent.

Of the 1,980 readers who voted, just 38 per cent "love" the new-look UI, 21 per cent hate it, and 41 per cent are either "not sure" or "don't care".

Many readers agree that Apple should ensure a consistent user experience matching the UI to its new professional offering. "I like it, I think it looks clean and sleek," said one.

Some readers see Apple's Aqua UI as "too much eye-candy", but praise Panther's Expose feature as doing a "better job of handling windows than overlapping transparent windows".

Guideline no-no Others accused the computer company of "breaking its own interface guidelines" with the move. "The result is a very patchy looking operating system – Mac users would scoff at the broken UI guidelines in Windows, now Apple is doing the same thing, with some applications in Aqua and some in brushed-metal," one reader wrote.

However, viva la difference, some readers say: "I quite like the mix of styles, and don't think applications like Word or Mail would look good in metal. However iTunes et al do suit it.”

Some users take this further: "Apple should make interface choices a system-level option, so people can choose Aqua or brushed-metal."

One professional user observed: "For home use Aqua and Metal is fine, as it sells computers, but for pro use it has little relevance. I'd prefer the simple UI of OS 9 with the stability of OS X at work. The work you produce doesn't get any better because of fruity-coloured buttons. The Dock is useful, but it also seems to get in the way of windows and palettes. A one-button toggle off/on would be nice."

Some are cynical about new Apple's aims: "Get with the Steve program. Your Mac must be the newest, best and most expensive to run Steve's OS properly. This isn't going to change. Every time the OS is updated the requirements will be more obese and hungry than before due to this rule."

G3 plea One frustrated G3 owner remarked: "If Apple does add any new compulsory graphics features to its Finder, I don't want window resizing to be like iPhoto, because that would be unbearable on a 400MHz G3. Apple should continue to support G3 machines for as long as it can, even if it switches the iBook to G4."

This may be less of a problem in Panther, if one reader who claimed to be running a Panther beta is to be believed: "I'm using a 233MHz Rev A iMac with Panther, and it’s faster."

Vote in Macworld's newest Reader Poll: "Will you upgrade to G5?" (Link visible on left of screen). Check the results so far here, or click here to take part in the debate.