This article was first published on 2009-09-24. Due to the age of this article, it is included here for archive purposes only.
Believe it or not, I rarely get Apple products right when they are released. I’m sure most of my friends consider me an Apple fanboy, but I like to think I have a more reasoned approach. But this time, I pre-ordered Snow Leopard from Amazon because it was cheap, and I wanted to see if their slow free shipping would arrive quickly with a pre-order. (It arrived Monday after the launch. Not bad)
I really wanted to like Snow Leopard and find all kinds of little gems. I also wanted it to kick some Windows 7 butt since they will inevitably be compared. So I read up on it in advance and looked forward to exploring what it had to offer. I wanted a little Dazzle. Just $30 worth.
So I installed it on 2 of my 3 Macs the week I got it and have been using it daily ever since. So what has been the result? Meh. And by that, I mean, "what new OS?" It has some advantages and some disadvantages compared to Leopard, but it comes out a wash in my book.
So what didn’t I like? Mostly driver issues. I have 2 several thousand dollar (at one time) large format Epson printers that the drivers haven’t been updated for. Yes, it’s one of those things you can check out in advance and I should have remembered that Epson has ALWAYS sucked at delivering quality Mac drivers for new OS’s. But since the problem only comes up every 2 years or so, I tend to forget how much I hate Epson in between releases. (And I do mean hate them. I have a stack of ink cartridges 4 feet high that they won’t recycle and there is no after-market for.)
Also, I have a multi function HP printer/scanner that is supposed to work with Snow Leopard but doesn’t. It prints, but the scanning software doesn’t come up where it supposed to. I may be able to wrangle it into working order somehow, but I just don’t have the time for it now.
What’s to like in Snow Leopard? Unfortunately, I can’t think of much. I know it’s supposed to have a lot of new tech under the hood, but honestly, I can’t think of many ways it has improved my Mac experience. There are 2 ways (sort of) that come to mind.
The first is that it takes up less hard drive space. I have one Macbook that is always bumping up against the limit of the internal hard drive. Snow Leopard freed up about 10 GB of space on it, so that’s a bonus.
The other major feature is great for some users, just not me. That feature is MS Exchange support. I predict this will be what Snow Leopard is remembered for. Exchange support is the last major barrier preventing Macs from being mainstream business machines. Yes, MS Excel and PowerPoint are not 100% compatible with their Mac versions, but those are smaller issues. Just having Exchange capability in Macs makes them viable to use in a regular business setting. No more having a cheap PC just to run Outlook along side your Mac in the workplace. Yeah!
Too bad it doesn’t help me. I’m not on Exchange anymore. But I’m happy for those who need it.
So where do I go from here? At first I thought about reinstalling Leopard, but fortunately, I have a backup version (that I forgot about) of Leopard on another internal drive. So for now I’m booting into 10.5 when I need the large format printers, which is not too often. Simply, it not so bad that I invest the time to reinstall 10.5 and it’s not so good that I invest the time and money to find the work-arounds to make everything run smooth in one OS.
It’s just meh.
UPDATE: See more recent conclusions in the comments.