New Taskbar, new window controls (Aero Snap and Aero Peek), full multi touch support, virtual folders (libraries) for user files, complete new network connection ui, complete new ui standard for apps (called "Scenic Ribbon") introduced in new versions of Paint and WordPad (first update since a decade), new font rendering, hardware accelerated 2d graphics API, DirectX 11, GPU acceleration for apps, CPU acceleration for 3D (WARP), unified and centralized notification system (Action Center), a new themes system, out-of-the-box codec support even for .mov files, impressive performance improvements.
Are you sure you have tested it?
For me it is clear why Apple has chosen to deliver this next update for a special price: it is more or less just a Service Pack with some new features. But it is a wise move.
Yes I have tested it, although not the multi-touch features as I don't have the hardware.
That is one of the ares that I think looks exciting, along with the cleaned up task bar and window features.
But your analysis is way out: Things like the updates to Wordpad and Paint - well these are long overdue, considering the subtle refinements and updates Apple has made to all their bundled applications during the lifetime of OS X.
Here's a feature list for Snow Leopard (and Apple is not really talking up user facing features):
- New Dock with Exposé and updated contextual menus
- Updated Exposé window management (spring loaded, minimised windows show in exposé)
- Live icon manipulation and preview, icon zoom
- QuickLook in open/save dialogs
- Updated Preview with annotations
- The new stacks concept (added in Leopard) now allows for navigation
- Create your own system wide services (Windows has no such concept) which are now displayed contextually
- System wide auto-correct, text substitutions and data dectectors
- Built in screen recording
- Built in video editing in QuickTime and sharing with Quicktime
- Many accessibility improvements (braille device support, web spots, voiceover trackpad control)
That's ignoring the faster startups, faster shutdowns, smaller footprint etc.
The idea that Windows 7 makes Snow Leopard look like a service pack is laughable. All Snow Leopard makes Windows 7 look like is bad value for money.
Overall that list above isn't really that impressive as many features were in Leopard and earlier versions of Mac OS X.
New Taskbar = Exposé Dock (SL)
New Window Controls = Exposé enhancements (SL)
virtual folders = Smart Folders (L)
Complete new network connection ui = WiFi siginal strength in WiFi connection UI (SL)
Complete new ui standard for apps = Standard NS Toolbar
New versions of Paint and WordPad = New versions of TextEdit, Preview, Mail, iCal, Quicktime Address Book, iChat, Safari (with crash protection) etc.
hardware accelerated 2d graphics = Quartz Extreme
GPU acceleration for apps = Open CL
Edit: Not to mention Apple will be including all new and updated developer tools with Snow Leopard, whereas Microsoft will be charging up to many hundreds of dollars for their equivalents (apart from the Express editions).
Edit again: Exchange, I didn't mention Exchange support, something which Windows 7 certainly won't support out the box.