Just when you thought that Steve Jobs and Co were doing everything possible to get the last penny from its loyal consumers’ pockets, Apple have proudly introduced the release of Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), available for pre-ordering. Not only have they brought new features and fixed a load of bugs, but they are also offering their latest operating system at a generous $29 for users upgrading from Mac OS X 10.5. Last year, users upgrading to the then new and unprecedented Leopard had to make a hefty investment. This time around, Apple are being compassionate with the poor and offering the upgrade, which is in theory only 0.02 increase in terms of version number, at under 30 bucks.
Before we go further, let’s examine the new features that are brought to the table by the California giants. A visual presentation of the main features can be found at Apple’s website here. While a complete list of the “refinements” are also available via their website. If you don’t have the time or are not willing to put the effort, the following are the key players in the move for the snow version of the same animal:
- Exchange Support: With the new Mac OS, you can synchronize your calendar, contacts and email with a Microsoft Exchange server, which is widely used amongst companies of all sizes and industries
- Improved Security: Better protection against malware and threats
- Exposé & Dock Integration: IT is now easier to access open documents, combine open windows to space horizontal space
- A Better Finder: Restore files to original location directly from trash (available in Windows for a over a decade, but still considered a revolution when it’s done in Apple’s name). Also displays which applications are using an inserted drive, preventing it from being ejected
- New Quictime player: For some reason accredited to the new OS, even though anyone using any OS and download and use it
- Minor Enhancements: Fewer Safari crashes, built-in screen capture with video, A proper Wifi utility, and more
The following video show a quick demonstration of the “new” Dock Expose:
The inevitable question that results from Apple’s new release is: How on Earth is this considered a commercial upgrade and not a set of basic updates? After all, these are nothing more than the type of tasks you would find on any technicians ToDo list. There is nothing out of the ordinary, and could in fact be considered fixes that are over-due.
This is where the intelligence of the consumer is questioned. Many Apple fanatics are overlooking the fact that they are forced to pay for a group of enhancements and improvements, and are in fact impressed that they are only charged a relatively-small fee. The problem with brands like Apple is that they are associated with many social aspects that couldn’t be further from the technology world. As a result, instead of driving computer-makers to come up with products that would fit our needs, we anxiously wait to see what are the products that will be introduced to the market, and consequently find out what we need to buy. I personally find it shocking that there are not enough people who find the payment for some fixes absurd, and it was even worse last time around when the fee was significantly larger.
Apple, just like any other company in the technology realm, makes imperfect products, and therefore is constantly working to address issues and fix them. However, Apple is the only company that will charge you to patch up security flaws, grant features that have been around since the Cold War, and make improvements that are nothing more than a natural step in the cycle of any product. We cannot expect corporations to serve us in the best way possible from the start, but with the current trends in ostentatious products and name brands such as Apple’s Macs, some companies do not even need to worry too much about the user’s need; they just need to focus on dictating it so that people know what to buy.