Snow Leopard is a necessary risk for Apple. A very big, calculated risk. Chris Gaylord of The Christian Science Monitor asks if Will Snow Leopard be Apple’s Windows Vista? Mitch Wagner of Information Week pointedly says, Snow Leopard Could Be Apple’s Vista? I won’t use weasel words or question marks. Snowy is not Vista. Here’s why.
The Vista That Wasn’t
Windows Vista’s adoption rate by the home user who purchased PCs in the past few years is nearly 100-percent. That’s a good record.
Business and enterprise, on the other had, were content with Windows XP, because Vista came with plenty of bugs and even more incompatibilities with older software and hardware.
For business and for Microsoft, Vista was a disaster; uniformly panned by the press, hated by early adopters, and considered a pile of pop up interference for the users.
Is that what awaits Snowy? It is if you believe the poorly informed technology pundits in mainstream media who regurgitate distorted facts like the editors of a tabloid rag.
To read pundits Gaylord, Wagner and a few others who apparently are more interested in catchy headlines to drive up readership that balanced and accurate reporting, Snowy has lots of problems, Vista style.
Between the list of more than 100 Mac programs that no longer work because of the update and the rampant reports of bricked machines seemingly tied to Snow Leopard, Apple has had a rough week.
Massive problems? Nothing could be further from the truth.
Every new release of any desktop operating system comes with a few inherent problems and incompatibilities, Snowy included. Mac software developers have had a year to update their applications, utilities, and games to match the changes in Snow Leopard?
Did they? And do the vast majority, the tends of thousands of apps work fine on Snow Leopard? No, and yes.
No? Apple slipped everyone a curve by announcing that Snow Leopard would ship to customers in September. In Apple talk that usually means late September, if not very early October. Apple surprised everyone, developers and customers, by shipping Snowy in late August.
Some Mac developers were caught by surprise and were not quite ready to release their Snowy compatible software updates. Chris Gaylord:
But the flood of articles, blogs, and forum posts this week has some drawing comparisons between Snow Leopard and a certain infamous Windows OS.
Flood? Hardly. Both Apple and those in the know, not the hit-whoring malicious headline grabbers, have already dubbed Snow Leopard as the most compatible OS X release to date.
Comparisons? Hardly. Only by those media pundits who love to stir up conflict and comparisons where none exist.
The Reality and the Risk
In reality, in the 10 days since Snowy’s release, most of the so-called incompatible software, which actually numbered in the dozens, has been updated to run fine using Snow Leopard. Any comparison with Windows Vistas disastrous launch and slow adoption rate is ludicrous.
The reality is that Snow Leopard is a necessary step toward improved performance and capability, which will not even be noticed by most users for another year. That also means a break from the past. Snowy won’t run on older PowerPC Macs. It’s Intel Inside or nothing.
Unlike Windows Vista on PCs, all new Macs going forward will run Snow Leopard just fine. In the future we’ll see iLife and iWork updated to 64-bit versions, along with Apple’s Pro apps, and more utilities.
Snow Leopard’s Grand Central Dispatch technology will make it much easier for Mac software developers to create 64-bit versions that take advantage of Intel’s multicore processors. We won’t see much of that capability for a year.
What’s the big risk? Change. Any time a software maker tinkers with the basics, problems will arise. Microsoft didn’t do a good job with Vista and reaped the scorn of users and media.
Apple has been more willing to make calculated, graduated, but sometimes disruptive changes to Mac OS X as it progresses. Does Snowy have hiccups? Very, very few. It’s been the easiest upgrade I’ve made since my first venture into OS X in 2001, and my Mac is loaded with hundreds and hundreds of apps and utilities.
Snow Leopard is not Apple’s Vista.