The newest version of the Mac OS X called Snow Leopard came out last Friday. Since this was a $29 upgrade, I pre-ordered from theApple Store a few days before. The FedEx driver showed up after lunch with the package, and I waited until my friend came over before installing on my first-generation, black MacBook. We ate pizza while watching the installation progress bar fill up for 45 minutes, which is twice as fast as installing Leopard. With Dilbert having a very geeky strip on dating relationships that day, I dared ask the most geekiest question: “Is this the reason why we don’t have girlfriends?”
We both shuddered, inhaled deeply, and returned to our true love.
Snow Leopard has a ton of performance enhancements and no significant features. My first impression was that the overall interface is much faster and more snappier. What used to take five seconds for something to happen, now takes a few seconds. That may not sound like a lot but it does add over time. Beyond that, you really need to dig deeper to find all the other improvements. Ars Technica has a 23-page detailed analysis of what’s new in Snow Leopard, if you really, really want to know. If you work professionally with Macs that will be running Snow Leopard, this is required reading. Be forewarned, the analysis is so technical that it even put me to sleep.
Snow Leopard has been smoothest upgrade that I ever had on a Mac. The only program that wasn’t compatible was an older version of Parallels Desktop for running virtual machines that I haven’t upgraded. (Which, not surprisingly, I got an email today to upgrade to newest version that’s Snow Leopard compatible.) The Image Capture program has a better interface that makes downloading from my camera easy since I have 385 pictures accumulated over the last three years. (One of these days, I’ll dump the whole lot intoAdobe Lightroom and erase the memory card.) I also like how editing a photo in Adobe Photoshop doesn’t change the file association to open in Preview. That was something I was always changing back under Leopard.
My only real complaint with Snow Leopard is that this upgrade is only compatible with Intel CPUs. I would very much love to have this performance increase on my Mac mini with a PowerPC CPU. Then again, I really need to get a newer Mac mini that would run Snow Leopard a lot faster and take advantage of features that my MacBook can’t handle.