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Review roundup: Snow Leopard sports subtle improvements

post #1 of 169
Thread Starter 
Critics are praising Apple's latest OS X upgrade, Snow Leopard, as a bargain-priced improvement that will help users get better performance out of their Mac, though there are some problems.

In general, reviewers are very positive about Snow Leopard, calling it a welcome performance boost with strong under-the-hood improvements. But what's really captivated everyone is the price: at $29, critics see the inexpensive upgrade as a no-brainer for most Mac users.

The new 64-bit architecture, built-in support for Microsoft Exchange, and the ability to open Mac OS X files while running Windows via Boot Camp are all welcome additions highlighted by reviewers.

But in the end, it's all about the performance: Applications load faster, and the OS install frees up an average of 7 gigabytes on a user's hard drive from Leopard.

That's not to say all is perfect. There are reports of applications that do not work or are glitchy in Snow Leopard. Some of the more popular software that has reportedly had problems includes Microsoft Word, Photoshop CS3 (which will no longer be supported for Snow Leopard), Growl, and CyberDuck. But as with any OS upgrade, some older applications will need to be updated in order to fully work with the new system. As has happened in the past, most software will likely see updates in just a matter of weeks to increase compatibility and performance issues.

Here are some of the review highlights:

The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg:

Though Snow Leopard has few new key features visible to users and looks virtually identical to its predecessor, it's a recommended upgrade for existing Mac owners who want more speed and disk space.

"But I don't consider Snow Leopard a must-have upgrade for average consumers. It's more of a nice-to-have upgrade. If you're happy with Leopard, there's no reason to rush out and get Snow Leopard."

Installation went smoothly and freed up hard drive space, but not without a few minor problems with a screen saver that displays photos.

Safari 4 is especially faster on Web sites that use Javascript.

Three favorite new features: "Substitutions," an auto-correct program; automatic resetting of the time zone based on location; and the ability to record videos of on-screen actions via QuickTime.

While an improvement, Snow Leopard isn't a "typical Apple lust-provoking product," so it's priced accordingly.

The New York Times' David Pogue:

Apple's "sleek upgrade" is truly optimized. A MacBook Air starts up in 72 seconds with Snow Leopard, while Leopard took 100 seconds.

Installation was fast (15 minutes) and freed up 7 gigabytes as promised.

Minor tweaks: Menu bar can now show the date, not just the day of the week; menu of nearby wireless hot spots shows the signal strength for each; icons can now be 512 pixels square, "turning any desktop window into a light table for photos."

When plug-ins crash in Safari, it doesn't take down the whole browser -- "you just get an empty rectangle where they would have appeared."

Benefits for blind users: one new feature turns the trackpad into a "touchable map of the screen," and the computer speaks to the user as they touch each onscreen element.

Those who call Snow Leopard a "service pack" are uninformed.

"if you're already running Leopard, paying the $30 for Snow Leopard is a no-brainer. You'll feel the leap forward in speed polish, and you'll keep experiencing those 'oh, that's nice' moments for weeks to come."

USA Today's Edward C. Baig:

Though Snow Leopard brings "solid" improvements, the quality of its Leopard predecessor means there is no need "for the kind of major overhaul Microsoft will unleash with Windows 7."

"There's not much new in the sizzle department. Many feature enrichments are modest."

"Snow Leopard should delight Mac fans, especially those who use Exchange at work."

iMac installation took an hour and seven minutes. Received a notification that outdated Parallels Desktop software would not work.

Microsoft Exchange integration works well. "I could quickly find past e-mails by searching via the Mac's terrific Spotlight feature."

"Snow Leopard adds bite, especially for business. But as upgrades go, this one is relatively tame."

Chicago Sun-Times' Andy Ihnatko:

Snow Leopard is like a series of boring but essential house renovations. "These are the things that keep a house functional and livable, and ensure that it'll still be a fun place to live in twenty years' time."

"It seems as though Apple's OS engineers spent the past year rummaging through all of the drawers and closets in the office, looking for every idea that they've come up with over the past few years that they've never been able to get to."

Does Snow Leopard feel faster? "Hell, yeah." Complex applications would complete tasks before having a sip of Dr. Pepper, unlike in Leopard.

"Grand Central Dispatch" makes use of multi-core processors, while OpenCL allows the OS to designate some processes to the computer's GPU. Together, they are "features that will speed up every existing app to a certain degree."

Application "Services" menu is now beneficial, allowing users to create their own via Automator. "It only took me about five minutes to create a service that converts any selected text in any app to an audiobook in iTunes, ready to be copied onto my iPhone the next time I perform a sync."

Dock Expose is favorite new feature: "It's far more than a simple window exposer." Can drag files to specific open windows by holding over the icon in the dock.

"Just 29? To make your Mac this much faster? It's a gimme."

The Associated Press' Peter Svensson:

Snow Leopard not as big of an improvement as Windows 7.

"Part of the reason Snow Leopard can promise faster, better applications is that it's designed for Macs with Intel chips, which Apple started using in early 2006. It won't run on older Macs with the previous PowerPC family of chips. The launch of the new operating system is a hint to get a new computer."

"Snow Leopard's benefits will be most apparent down the road, while Windows 7 promises more of an immediate payoff."

The new OS is "unlikely" to provide most buyers a reason to get excited about Macs.

With minor bugs and installation problems inevitable, it's probably best to wait a month before making the upgrade.

Other reviews

Numerous other takes on Snow Leopard are available from Engadget, CNet, Gizmodo, MacWorld, PC Magazine, and Wired.

Snow Leopard will be available for purchase Friday. It costs $29 for the single user license and $49 for the five-license family pack. Also available are Mac OS X Server 10.6 Snow Leopard ($499) and two upgrade box sets: OS, iWork and iLife ($169) and the five-license family pack, iWork and iLife ($229).
post #2 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The Associated Press' Peter Svensson:

Snow Leopard not as big of an improvement as Windows 7.

Huh? Who ever said that was the point? Geez.
Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
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Journalism is publishing what someone doesn't want us to know; the rest is propaganda.
-Horacio Verbitsky (el perro), journalist (b. 1942)
Reply
post #3 of 169
Quote:
with minor bugs and installation problems inevitable, it's probably best to wait a month before making the upgrade.

^^^ +1
post #4 of 169
wow AP guy is a major microsoft fanboi.. geez
post #5 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcw5002 View Post

wow AP guy is a major microsoft fanboi.. geez

As opposed to being a major Apple fanboi?

Must everyone lavish praise on the Snow Leopard? That being said, can't wait for my $10 upgrade to get here for my 13" MacBook Pro.
post #6 of 169
Not one of these reviewers knows a damn thing about the technical advances in 10.6. They should either hire an expert or defer to sites dedicated to knowing it's technical advances.
post #7 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Snow Leopard's benefits will be most apparent dwon the road, while Windows 7 promises more of an immediate payoff."

To make a fairer comparison, Snow Leopard is your healthy diet that means less problems when you get old, while Windows 7 is removing the stick that is Vista from your .... .

I like how most reviewers seem disappointed with "lack" of features. Apparently eye candy is the only thing worth paying for in their eyes still. I for one am incredibly excited for Snow Leopard, 64bit processors have been around for years now, and now there's finally a mainstream OS (sorry linux) that will get programmers to code for it.
post #8 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Not one of these reviewers knows a damn thing about the technical advances in 10.6. They should either hire an expert or defer to sites dedicated to knowing it's technical advances.

To be fair, those reviews are targeting the general consumer who likely doesn't give a *&^% about underhood crap -- just look at them, they're all from newspapers. Their readers want to see immediate benefits (i.e. eye candy, new features, etc.).

If you want a technical review, wait for Apple Insider and others.
post #9 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The Associated Press' Peter Svensson:

Snow Leopard not as big of an improvement as Windows 7.

He may even be right, but that shouldn't be taken as much of a compliment to Windows. Vista was such a... special experience... that it would have to improve mightily to catch up even with Leopard. Which it hasn't. I've got a Vista running in Boot Camp for games, so it's not like I haven't used the OS. Man, what a horrible experience. When I go over to my brother's place to place Warhammer, I try and make sure it's after his kids are asleep. There's a lot of swearing that goes on when I use Vista (like that wonderful shock you get when Vista quits your game and restarts because it just loaded an update without asking you, and now it's time to restart. SOOOO nice when you're in the middle of a pitched battle. The Mac client is notttttt quite polished, but it's getting there).
post #10 of 169
[The Associated Press' Peter Svensson:

The new OS is "unlikely" to provide most buyers a reason to get excited about Macs.

[/QUOTE]

Now, if we only had a reason to get "excited" about the Associated Press!!!!
post #11 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

As opposed to being a major Apple fanboi?

Must everyone lavish praise on the Snow Leopard? That being said, can't wait for my $10 upgrade to get here for my 13" MacBook Pro.

Not a question of praising, but what the hell was that comment about windows for? A guy makes a review of leopard just to say that isn't as much worthy of an upgrade as windows 7 wrt Vista?!? Can't people just criticize without appearing to be a shill for the competition? Where is subtlety gone?


But about w7, perhaps the guy changes his mind when he reckons that the upgrade of it will cost ten times that of leopard.
post #12 of 169
cant wait any more !! but sadly my order page shows ships by Aug 28th
post #13 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

He may even be right, but that shouldn't be taken as much of a compliment to Windows. Vista was such a... special experience... that it would have to improve mightily to catch up even with Leopard. Which it hasn't. I've got a Vista running in Boot Camp for games, so it's not like I haven't used the OS. Man, what a horrible experience. When I go over to my brother's place to place Warhammer, I try and make sure it's after his kids are asleep. There's a lot of swearing that goes on when I use Vista (like that wonderful shock you get when Vista quits your game and restarts because it just loaded an update without asking you, and now it's time to restart. SOOOO nice when you're in the middle of a pitched battle. The Mac client is notttttt quite polished, but it's getting there).


In fact, there are four options (this is from Windows 7, but Vista is similar) for installing Windows Updates:

Install updates automatically
Download updates but let me choose when to install them
Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them
Never check for updates

Sounds like user error to me
post #14 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

To be fair, those reviews are targeting the general consumer who likely doesn't give a *&^% about underhood crap -- just look at them, they're all from newspapers. Their readers want to see immediate benefits (i.e. eye candy, new features, etc.).

If you want a technical review, wait for Apple Insider and others.

Don't patronize me. Some of us actually got paid to improve it over the years when they worked there.

The point I'm making is they are ignorantly down playing the advances of the OS after a brief experience with it and applications that actually leverage it's changes.

So far I've seen them discuss Safari and Parallels. The Chicago Sun Times was especially ignorant by attempting to appear as technically competent when referencing GC and OpenCL.

Hell, Khronos.org is just getting caught up with OpenGL 3.2 and OpenCL samples to leverage for your projects.

However, when MSOffice shows up as Cocoa they'll somehow think Microsoft jumped leaps and bounds ahead from the past, without citing the fact they are just leveraging Cocoa.
post #15 of 169
[QUOTE= I for one am incredibly excited for Snow Leopard,.[/QUOTE]

As one of Apples biggest fanboys since I got my 128k in the 1st qtr 0f '84, I will and have kept upgrading from System 1.0. All my old Macs (except for a couple of bent, white laptop logic boards) still run! I'm loadin' SL 10.6 in at noon tomorrow.
If you're really smart and know Apple well, you'll be able to get back to where you were in an hour w/ TimeMachine. So who cares if 10.6 has some issues here or there! I'll check 'm out. Let 'm come.
Upgrade now. Hesitation is futile!

Having said that, here is a message i got from Parallels today:

"Snow Leopard is still in experimental mode (as is Windows 7!),
which means we need to smooth out some kinks first"
Sounds like an xWindows engineer made that quote!

Good luck if you don't use TimeMachine!
But upgrade because it's cool!
PS-my iPhone still runs from day of launch and if the Tablet has Steve's hands on it, I'll get that ASAP
(hopefully it will run Kindle, one of my favorite Apps!)
post #16 of 169
Read the AP thingy. quite elaborate, but shilling for the competition, without any context whatsoever. You are reading all about SL when suddenly,
Quote:
So how does Snow Leopard compare to Windows 7? Snow Leopard's benefits will be most apparent down the road, while Windows 7 promises more of an immediate payoff.

Wow! Amazing! Incredible! MS is da best! And why you ask? Because SL improvements are "under the hood", and worse!, SL won't run in PowerPCs, as if they cared! Most of the improvements of SL could only be noticeable in Intel chips, so why bother with PPCs at all? Why, because then you can make lines like these:

Quote:
Windows 7 combines a bigger revamping of the user interface of Microsoft's last effort, Vista, with a series of smaller under-the-hood changes. It even can work on many older PCs -- in fact, Windows 7 is supposed to run better on modest hardware than Vista did.

Ah! Check mate Apple! Wegottchyou on da run!

Quote:
Apple's share of the U.S. personal-computer market nearly tripled from 2004 to 2008 but hasn't gone up significantly since then, and now stands at around 8.5 percent, according to IDC. So Apple could use a fresh reason for buyers to get excited about Macs.

I wouldn't mind a lower price of macs at all
post #17 of 169
My Air is rev B. SSD, it starts in exactly 29 seconds every time on Snow Leopard.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #18 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Don't patronize me. Some of us actually got paid to improve it over the years when they worked there.

The point I'm making is they are ignorantly down playing the advances of the OS after a brief experience with it and applications that actually leverage it's changes.

So far I've seen them discuss Safari and Parallels. The Chicago Sun Times was especially ignorant by attempting to appear as technically competent when referencing GC and OpenCL.

Hell, Khronos.org is just getting caught up with OpenGL 3.2 and OpenCL samples to leverage for your projects.

However, when MSOffice shows up as Cocoa they'll somehow think Microsoft jumped leaps and bounds ahead from the past, without citing the fact they are just leveraging Cocoa.

My point is, know your source.

I wouldn't go to the Wall Street Journal for a review on the new Mercedes E550. I would go to Autoblog or Car and Driver for that.

I just don't understand why people are getting all hot and bothered about what some newspapers are saying about Snow Leopard, no matter how prominent they are. If I want Mac-related info, I go to Apple Insider, TUAW or Mac Rumors.
post #19 of 169
Here's an A-hole critic who really takes the cake! http://www.pcworld.com/article/17078...windows_7.html
post #20 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

Here's an A-hole critic who really takes the cake! http://www.pcworld.com/article/17078...windows_7.html

What do you expect? It's from PC Magazine. Do you really expect that Apple Insider would sing the praises of Windows 7 if they were reviewing it?
post #21 of 169
Is every name from the big cat family now used up?
post #22 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by CREB View Post

Here's an A-hole critic who really takes the cake! http://www.pcworld.com/article/17078...windows_7.html

To call him an a-hole suggest he's getting to you. The price of Snow Leopard is certainly a pale imitation of the price of Win 7. I'll just assume the article is joke, the guy is an MS stock holder, or it's John C. Dvorak writing under a pseudonym.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #23 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

If you want a technical review, wait for Apple Insider and others.

On that topic: How come AI does not have a review yet? Didn't you guys get an advance copy?!
post #24 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by coldpizza View Post

Is every name from the big cat family now used up?

Lion, Cougar?
post #25 of 169
Don't listen to people most of whom has no software engineering experience or know-how. Go out and get yourself a new copy of Snow Leopard. And for $29? That's less than 1hr phone call to tech support from any PC manufacturer. Most of these reporters do not know the difference between CPU and GPU.

Go out and get it!
post #26 of 169
[Deleted]
post #27 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuisDias View Post

Read the AP thingy. quite elaborate, but shilling for the competition, without any context whatsoever. You are reading all about SL when suddenly,

Wow! Amazing! Incredible! MS is da best! And why you ask? Because SL improvements are "under the hood", and worse!, SL won't run in PowerPCs, as if they cared! Most of the improvements of SL could only be noticeable in Intel chips, so why bother with PPCs at all? Why, because then you can make lines like these:


Ah! Check mate Apple! Wegottchyou on da run!



I wouldn't mind a lower price of macs at all

So wait, Windows 7 is just a prettier version of Vista and they didn't do much of anything under the hood??!?!?! (sarcasm

In all honesty - if you asked me which I would pay more for I'd pay for under the hood stuff before just getting something pretty. I think Apple has in the past done a good job at giving both camps enough of a reason to upgrade and they knew this one wouldn't get the eye candy crowd so they priced is super-low. MS, however, is apparently OK with charging full price for something that's only going to satisfy the "oo, it's pretty" camp.
post #28 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

Lion, Cougar?

Cougar is just going to be an old OS (10.1) repackaged in a shiny (sexy) box that begs for you to install it! hehe
post #29 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crankenstein View Post

Does "snow leopard" still come with the built in 'burst into flames now' mode that every other apple product comes with?

No, they decided to leave it out in the end. Was touch and go though.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #30 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post

Cougar is just going to be an old OS (10.1) repackaged in a shiny (sexy) box that begs for you to install it! hehe

Does the box come with a tramp stamp?
post #31 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post

MS, however, is apparently OK with charging full price for something that's only going to satisfy the "oo, it's pretty" camp.

That's not exactly fair or accurate, Windows 7 is easier to use and faster than Vista. Let's be fair. It's not worth the price though, it should have been a special price considering Vista. They should have offered Vista users a $29 upgrade price.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #32 of 169
As a long-time Mac and OS X user I applaud Apple for Snow Leopard, finally a product aimed to solve all those little annoying issues such as the Keychain.
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post #33 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

What do you expect? It's from PC Magazine. Do you really expect that Apple Insider would sing the praises of Windows 7 if they were reviewing it?

If AI were to do a review of Windows 7 it would HAVE to be done by Prince McLean. I'd expect no less
post #34 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

My point is, know your source.

I wouldn't go to the Wall Street Journal for a review on the new Mercedes E550. I would go to Autoblog or Car and Driver for that.

I just don't understand why people are getting all hot and bothered about what some newspapers are saying about Snow Leopard, no matter how prominent they are. If I want Mac-related info, I go to Apple Insider, TUAW or Mac Rumors.

The problem is that while people like us will do that and the websites we typically read give much fairer comparisons of the operating systems, the average person is going to be reading from a source such as the AP or Wall Street Journal and if they happen to be considering a Mac, then the Associated Press just told them it was kinda dumb. It sometimes makes me cringe how many people get their tech news from CNET (which has a hard-on for Microsoft more than is healthy), where you can find reviews of Psystar clones praising how they're sticking it to Apple and them complaining that the $29 fee for Snow Leopard is too much and blog posts from Don Reisinger about yet another made up reason he has come to hate Apple, yet thinks they should license out their software and become Microsoft.

Sadly, there are more stupid people in the world than intelligent ones and it's just fatiguing seeing media outlets use such uninformed reviewers to preach nonsense to the already uninformed.
post #35 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

It's not fair all that was upgraded was the UI. Win 7 is faster than Vista too. Let's be fair. It's not worth the price though, it should have been a special price considering Vista.

They did have special pricing a few months ago. I bought Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade for my wife's laptop for $50 from Amazon. Most PC guys took advantage of that promotion and are awaiting the October release date.
post #36 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

To be fair, those reviews are targeting the general consumer who likely doesn't give a *&^% about underhood crap -- just look at them, they're all from newspapers. Their readers want to see immediate benefits (i.e. eye candy, new features, etc.).

If you want a technical review, wait for Apple Insider and others.

Are you trying to say that, compared to "eye candies", dramatic detail improvements, speed improvements and more spaces are not immediate benefits users appreciate in day-to-day life? On top of that, what is your definition of new features?
post #37 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

They did have special pricing a few months ago. I bought Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade for my wife's laptop for $50 from Amazon. Most PC guys took advantage of that promotion and are awaiting the October release date.

Had. It shouldn't have been a deal. It should be the actual price.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #38 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

In fact, there are four options (this is from Windows 7, but Vista is similar) for installing Windows Updates:

Install updates automatically
Download updates but let me choose when to install them
Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them
Never check for updates

Sounds like user error to me

Well, it's always user error, of course. But no dialog has ever popped up giving me these options, so I appear to be using the default settings. And the way it works on my installation is: if I'm playing a game that takes over the screen, there's no user interaction asked or required. The installer simply goes about its business and reboots me, once again with no intervention. If I can see the desktop, there's a subtle dialog that appears in the lower right corner, which appears and then goes away on its own, giving me the opportunity to postpone.

This is actually very like Microsoft's design principles. There are many options, but you have to KNOW where they are, because they lack the well-designed discoverability that characterizes Apple's software.
post #39 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

That's not exactly fair or accurate, Windows 7 is easier to use and faster than Vista. Let's be fair. It's not worth the price though, it should have been a special price considering Vista. They should have offered Vista users a $29 upgrade price.

But how did they make it easier and faster? (Honest question) From everything I've seen and heard it's faster because they took superfluous crap out and made the GUI less intrustive (hence the easier to use part). If that's not right please let me know but, like I said, from everything I've read 7 is really just what Vista was supposed to be rather than something worthy of a whole new name and pricing structure.
post #40 of 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

To call him an a-hole suggest he's getting to you. The price of Snow Leopard is certainly a pale imitation of the price of Win 7. I'll just assume the article is joke, the guy is an MS stock holder, or it's John C. Dvorak writing under a pseudonym.

If I recall it correctly, Microsoft did not announce the pricing of Windows 7 before WWDC so how could the pricing of Snow Leopard be an imitation of the pricing of Windows 7?
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