Snow Leopard upgrade barely noticeable, but OK

Nothing wrong with the new OS, but no fireworks, either

With 3/5ths of a family pack installed, Apple's Snow Leopard has not changed my family's lives. In fact, if you didn't know Snow Leopard was on-board, you might not notice.

Nothing wrong with the new OS, but no fireworks, either. Regained some disk space, like the change to the dock. End of story.

Well, almost.

When I didn't sufficiently love Snow Leopard on Thursday, some Apple fans told me the "speed increase alone" was worth the upgrade. And maybe it is, but it's not startling. I have this vague sense that Snow Leopard has made my MacBook Pro more responsive, but I could not tell you by how much. (Macworld has the numbers).

My disc savings seem to be in the 5GB range, which is substantial on my laptops and meaningless on the iMacs, because of their larger hard drives.

The most noticeable feature of Snow Leopard is the new behavior when you click-and-hold an open application in the dock. Previously, this gave you a menu of various choices (remove from doc, open at login, hide, quit, etc.) and a list of windows in the open program.

In Snow Leopard, the screen clears and you see the actual windows the program has open and can select from among them. I'd always wondered what the Expose feature could do that I'd find useful. This is it.

While I think such a minor upgrade should be free, if you have to assign a value to Snow Leopard features--and don't need to talk to an Exchange 2007 server--then the dock change and reclaimed disk space are worth the $10.

That's what each machine costs with the five-machine "family pack" upgrade. The one-machine $29 upgrade still seems steep.

Of course, if Snow Leopard makes Exchange useful for you, then even $50-a-machine might be an excellent value.

I had one problem with the upgrade. This will be minor to most people, but bothered me.

The upgrade seemed to turn on all the options in MobileMe Sync. This meant that Preferences and my Keychain, which I had been avoiding synchronizing across the various Macs I use were synched before I knew what happened. Hasn't caused a problem, so far, but it was a surprise I didn't need.

If you want to upgrade right away, Apple will appreciate it. If not, you'll keep a few dollars in your pocket for a little while longer.

Still, as applications begin to take advantage of Snow Leopard's "under the hood" improvements, the new OS will become more important and having upgraded already will save having to do it later.

That may seem like a weak reason to upgrade, but it beats one of my colleagues' #1 reason: Snow Leopard costs less than previous upgrades. Of course, it also does a lot less. No must-have features here.

My recommendation: There is no reason that I've found not to upgrade, unless you have an older pre-Intel Mac that cannot be upgraded. (And I still have several). If we have to pay for such a minor upgrade, at least Apple is charging a friendly price.

On the whole, I'd recommend the upgrade just to get it out of the way. If nothing else, it saved me from having to clean off a very full MacBook Pro, at least for a while longer. And the new Dock feature is nice.

Veteran Apple watcher David Coursey tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags snow leopard

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Coursey

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?