Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Snow Leopard brings subtle improvements to Mac

By John Bowman, CBCNews.ca.

Apple's latest version of the Mac OS X operating system, code-named "Snow Leopard," was released today and the online reaction has been, well, staid.

The consensus seems to be that there's nothing wrong with it (except if you have a Palm OS-based smartphone or run one of a handful of programs Snow Leopard doesn't like), but its improvements are subtle. Other than support for Microsoft Exchange, allowing you to sync mail, appointments and address books, there aren't any new features to speak of.

Then again, it is only $35. (Or just $29 in the U.S. We're not as bad off as the Europeans, though, who'll pay 29 euros, or about $45 Cdn.)

Snow Leopard is also a leaner operating system, freeing up up to seven gigabytes of hard drive space and running faster than Leopard on the same hardware. But if you're on a PowerPC-based Mac, one sold before 2006, you won't be able to upgrade.

Here's a round-up of the reviews:

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments

Alexey

Edmonton

Hopefully, Microsoft won't take after Apple and start charging for service packs.

Posted August 29, 2009 06:34 PM

Greg

There will be many calling Apple’s latest version of Mac OS X, Snow Leopard, little more than a service pack. From a distance, it can look that way: There’s no new eye candy mostly core technology stuff [Grand Central Dispatch, Open CL, 64-Bit, etc.], and even the ballyhooed addition of support for Microsoft Exchange (ironically, even Windows doesn’t come with it) is even sort of boring.

But the $35 upgrade is well worth it, and will reach into every corner of your Mac to speed things up. Surprisingly, Snow Leopard’s biggest improvements are to your hardware. Think of it as a tune-up for your machine. For instance, on my MacBook, Safari would run at around 25-35% of CPU, and spin up to around 100%+ under stress in 10.5 Leopard, right now, under 10.6, it’s not even showing up in the top five list, meaning it is idling at under 4%. This is with 12 tabs open.

The retail disc of Snow Leopard will install on a blank hard drive OR a drive with Tiger or Leopard, and won't complain about anything at all. There are absolutely no restrictions on that disk regarding what you need to have on your Mac before installing it. No serial number either. Apple continues to have faith in their faithful and trust that everyone will buy the proper package and install it in the proper number of Macs.

So to all those claiming Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard "little more than a service pack" I say they are either paid-off, ignorant, and/or too lazy to do even basic fact-finding.


Posted August 31, 2009 05:58 PM

Alexey

Edmonton

Greg, easy there. There is no reason to resort to name-calling. In fact, it is perfectly normal for service packs to improve performance. It is strange, though, that you advocate paying to upgrade your web browser, since all the other popular ones are free. As for the lack of SN requirement, it is the strangest definition of major OS upgrade I have seen.

Posted September 4, 2009 04:58 PM

Curious bystander

Calgary

Apple only has itself to blame for people referring to Snow Leopard as a service pack. With all their previous upgrades, they made the interface easier to use and introduced new features. To use a car analogy, people got used to getting a new paint job, improved handling and something akin to a new GPS/stereo/proximity detector with every upgrade.

So when Apple effectively rebuilds the engine for better performance and reinforces the chassis for long-term durability, people just say "meh, it's a tune-up."

Posted September 8, 2009 10:35 AM

Gayleen Froese

Edmonton

I'm delighted to have so much hard drive space back--between my main computer and my external hard drives I've got over a TB, but 7GB still helps. I've also noticed some improvement in speed.

On the other hand, Snow Leopard refuses to play nicely with Thoth and has a strange (and very annoying) problem in which the cursor disappears at random.

I have two more computers on which I could install Snow Leopard under my family licence, but have not yet decided whether I will.

Posted September 8, 2009 10:55 AM

Rob

London

OS X has never required a serial number for installation (major upgrade or not), because Apple knows that if you're using their OS then you're spending big bucks for their hardware as well. That said, there are also a lot of benefits to having both hardware and software developed by the same company. That's very evident in the Mac's far superior usability and style over generic PCs.

Posted September 8, 2009 11:54 AM

Greg Midensky

Burlington

Alexey, thanks for proving my points to be spot on. Unlike you I have actually USED Snow Leopard and installed it on a half dozen Mac's, despite your twisting my post to somehow imply that Snow Leopard is little more than a paid upgrade for a web browser, all this just proves that you know not of what you speak.

I'll let you choose whether you'd like to be in the paid-off, ignorant, and/or too lazy to do even basic fact-finding categories, you may choose to slot yourself in all three.

Posted September 8, 2009 01:00 PM

William

When you buy an Apple product don't forget to get fitted for your very own Apple straight-jacket! You can't download tunes from Media Monkey or any other third party software. Their MID's only allow you run app's that run on the O/S that you must run on their hardware. Yes, they are the easiest computers and devices for the technologically illiterate - but there is a big trade-off! You can only do what the paternalistic Apple corporation allows you to!

Posted September 8, 2009 02:16 PM

Greg Midensky

Burlington

Snow Leopard is not as big an upgrade as past versions of Mac OS X – in fact at first glance it’s not that dissimilar to Leopard. But under the hood it’s been completely rewritten with a host of subtle, but powerful changes that vastly enhance user experience and productivity. Among the new technologies 64-bit support enables applications to access more RAM, so they run faster and more efficiently. Snow Leopard also support Open CL. Open CL utilizes the power in the computers graphics processor, so instead of just being uses for graphic intensive tasks, it’s idle power can also be allocated to every day tasks. The final technology, Grand Central Dispatch makes use of multiple cores simultaneously, so they run more efficiently. Snow Leopard is an essential upgrade for any Leopard user. It’s almost cheap for the increase in speed in everyday use – and perhaps more importantly for the potential for future improvement. And coming in a whopping 7GB lighter than Leopard, it will actually free up disc space. How many upgrades do that? A Service Pack? I think not.

Posted September 8, 2009 02:50 PM

Greg

Burlington

William, your post is erroneous, false and full of FUD.

A Mac can run ANY OS natively, that includes Windows, and Unix/Linux etc. and is rated best in class in terms of hardware when compared to PC's, and they have Zero viruses, so what are these trade off you speak of? [crickets]

Posted September 8, 2009 03:07 PM

James

Calgary

Wow, that's gotta be the worst review (or lack of) I've ever seen.

Posted September 9, 2009 02:03 PM

Greg

Burlington

BTW: Daring Fireball's John Gruber noted yesterday that Apple has released libdispatch, the source code for the user space implementation of Grand Central Dispatch, taking a significant portion of the company's technology for more efficiently utilizing multicore processors open source. While some may consider the move a surprise due to the technology's key role in the core of Mac OS X Snow Leopard, MacResearch points out several reasons why the move may not be all that risky for Apple.

So why did they do it? Only Apple knows for sure, but there are compelling arguments for open sourcing Grand Central Dispatch, even for a commercial enterprise. First, Apple will of course reap the rewards of any development that takes place, just as they have with WebKit. Second, it is unlikely that Grand Central would be used by any direct competitor to Apple, like Microsoft. Grand Central is more likely to be added to other UNIX and Linux systems, none of which really pose a threat to Apple's consumer-based business.

Opening up Grand Central Dispatch for broader distribution into the UNIX community could ultimately serve to spark new innovations using the technology that could make their way back to the Mac platform. In addition, wider distribution of the technology could drive the adoption of other technologies such as blocks, the non-standard extension to the C programming language upon which Grand Central Dispatch is based.

Posted September 11, 2009 04:22 PM

Mitchell Cook

Toronto

I believe that this latest version of OSX is Macs continuing efforts to force people to buy their newest Intel powered computers. My G5 runs Logic 8 beautifully on OSX 10.5 but that's the end of the road. If I want to upgrade to Logic 9, I'm forced to give Mac $3000 for a new tower and my old one is worthless as a trade-in. Forced Obsolescence!

Posted September 15, 2009 10:52 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

Tillerson seeks Arab nations' help in U.S. effort to isolate Iran
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took the Trump administration's case for isolating and containing Iran in the Middle East and beyond to two Gulf Arab nations on Sunday, pushing for Saudi Arabia and Iraq to unite to counter growing Iranian assertiveness.
'They won't silence us': Thousands rally in Malta to honour slain Panama Papers journalist video
Several thousand Maltese citizens rallied Sunday to honour an investigative journalist killed by a car bomb, but the prime minister and opposition leader who were chief targets of Daphne Caruana Galizia's reporting stayed away from the gathering.
British police end armed hostage-taking at bowling alley
British police ended an armed hostage siege on Sunday, saying there were no casualties after a gunman took two staff members hostage at a bowling alley in a leisure complex in central England.
more »

Canada »

Sturgeon County neighbourhoods evacuated after train carrying crude oil derails
Residents of two neighbourhoods in Sturgeon County are being asked to stay away from their homes after a CN train derailed Sunday afternoon, RCMP say.
New Keep a 'wary eye' on U.S. travel visas, Goodale tells American counterpart
Canada's Public Safety Minister says he's asked his American counterpart to monitor those obtaining U.S. travel visas for the sole purpose of crossing the Canadian border.
Conservatives accuse Liberals of diabetes tax grab
Health groups joined forces on Sunday with the Conservative opposition to accuse the Liberal government of trying to raise tax revenue on the backs of vulnerable diabetics.
more »

Politics »

New Keep a 'wary eye' on U.S. travel visas, Goodale tells American counterpart
Canada's Public Safety Minister says he's asked his American counterpart to monitor those obtaining U.S. travel visas for the sole purpose of crossing the Canadian border.
Living and loving the Cold War: The wild ride of a Canadian diplomat and spy
Diplomacy is not designed to be a wild ride, but Bill Warden's lasted three decades. He died in 2011, before his vivid journals were collected and published this fall by his daughter, Lisa, under the title, Diplomat, Dissident, Spook.
Survivors wait for next steps in effort to preserve 'horror stories' of residential schools
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled residential school survivors must decide whether their accounts of abuse should be preserved or destroyed. Plans are now being drawn up to contact survivors and ask them their wishes.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

A Mortician's Tale explores the poignant — and mundane — realities of death
The Toronto-made indie game A Mortician's Tale aims to open up frank discussions about death and dying by putting you in the role of a funeral home worker preparing corpses and consoling the bereaved.
Guitars for Vets, Great Big Sea's Sean McCann help soldiers heal through music video
Guitars for Vets founder Jim Lowther and Great Big Sea's Sean McCann organize fundraising concert to get hundreds more guitars to former soldiers suffering stress-related injury.
Julie Snyder cuts ties to Gilbert Rozon, Éric Salvail over sexual harassment allegations
Julie Snyder says she and her production company will no longer work with any businesses affiliated with Quebec media figures Éric Salvail or Gilbert Rozon, who are facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
more »

Technology & Science »

Walmart ramps up self-checkout by letting customers ring in items while shopping
New scan-and-go technology being rolled out at Walmart stores allows shoppers to scan and bag their items while they shop, and it may lead to customers bypassing checkout altogether.
Germany's new facial recognition technology reminiscent of Cold War surveillance for some video
Germany is testing out facial-recognition technology at a Berlin train station. The goal is to improve security, but for those who remember the Cold War, it has shades of life under East Germany's notorious secret police, known as the Stasi.
Q & A | Teens search for way to improve magnetic resonance images
MRI scans provide information about the body without actually touching it. Now two Toronto teens are trying to adapt that approach to search for what is in someone's blood noninvasively.
more »

Money »

Walmart ramps up self-checkout by letting customers ring in items while shopping
New scan-and-go technology being rolled out at Walmart stores allows shoppers to scan and bag their items while they shop, and it may lead to customers bypassing checkout altogether.
Busting superfoods: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet
If you've been too busy this week to keep up with health and consumer news, CBC's Marketplace is here to help.
HQ2, eh? Amazon draws bids from Canadian cities to be online seller's other home
Amazon's announcement earlier this year that it is on the hunt for a second headquarters set off a flurry of interest from cities across the continent, eager to be the online giant's next home away from home. With the deadline to apply now passed, what Canadian cities followed through and threw their hats into the ring?
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Denny Morrison making strides toward Olympic comeback
With his family watching and cheering on his every stride, Canadian speed skater Denny Morrison took a serious step towards getting back to the Olympics for a fourth time.
Video How will Canada fill Marielle Thompson's ski boots? video
Marielle Thompson, the 2014 Olympic ski cross champion, ruptured her ACL and MCL, and will likely miss the Olympics. Canada has three skiers looking to help fill the void.
Recap TFC draw with Atlanta to set MLS record for most points in a season
Atlanta United set a pair of attendance records Sunday but failed to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs when Sebastian Giovinco scored on a brilliant free kick in the 84th minute, giving Toronto FC a 2-2 tie and the most points ever in a Major League Soccer season.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »