Originally Posted by ulfoaf
I expect big things with Snow Leopard. Can you believe a company is actually trying to optimize performance? The standard has been just wait for new hardware to come out. Of course, the real goal is to make an efficient multiprocessor environment. No doubt the wave of the future.
Just for the record, while I agree the new commercials are some of the strangest marketing ploys in memory, Win 7 has the same stated overall basic design goals as SL.
Tighter, faster code, ripping out lots of routines papered over for a decade or more, able to function better on fewer resources, e.g., Vista won't even run at all on Netbooks, but 7 runs at least as fast as XP on Atom processors, a cleaner, leaner UI, etc.
So both are set to be uber-maintenance releases rather than all about tacked-on new features and eye candy, though both are sure to include some of that for the ooh and ahh crowds. And the buzz from respected sources is that MS is actually going to hit most of its mark this time. So if 7 gets a B+ and SL an A, for a company with 90% share, that will be a victory.
And despite all the hue and cry here, for more and more users (we're not all propeller heads) the PC OS wars are more and more irrelevant until someone comes up with a real paradigm shift which neither major is working on, settling for mostly hardening and maturing their existing franchises.
That is, as the net evolves, OS X and Windows are really becoming more and more just platforms from which most users, the great bulk of non-technical users, launch browsers and do virtually all their computing in the cloud (or company network), reducing Macs and PCs to mostly overspecced terminals.
Every day previous differentiators like Office and iLife (and soon even graphically rich games) matter less and less, with their platform-agnostic web equivalents improving by leaps and bounds. I still use Word, but my simple spreadsheet needs (including live sharing and access from any PC) are met by Google Docs just fine and I won't bother with Numbers or Excel anymore. Ditto for Picasa over iPhoto.
The real bottlenecks in the world where the net itself is the computer, and the web its OS (v 2.1 approximately) aren't within PC's but in the pipes and servers they access.
Google understands this and is working on an OS (or so I've read) which basically extends Chrome down into hooks to hardware, which they may even give away, so that you'll boot up very lean on a netbook which is all about giving all resources over to web computing, optimized, of course for their growing stable of services while bypassing both MS and Apple, and this will be fine for many.
Meanwhile, Apple "gets" that the real OS wars are clearly moving to lightweight, portable, ubiquitously connected devices which integrate web computing with telephony, video and imaging ("takin' and postin' pitchurs"), which is why iPhone OS is Apple's real strategic initiative these days, and where Android, Symbian, Blackberry, etc. and maybe even Palm may provide more competition than MS. There will be a winnowing out in this space, but I doubt it will be reduced to two companies + open source as PC's have been. There are simply too many possibilities for devices and too many ways people will be using them
Fully powered personal computers are by no means dead, but are already on the road to gradually becoming a niche for professionals and hobbyists in a multi-tiered world of many computing devices.