Monday, August 24, 2009

Snow Leopard Coming August 28th

Good news for Apple fans:
Amid the leaks and speculation, the online Apple Store went down this morning, only to return with Snow Leopard release information -- August 28th. It also turns out that the box photo that was leaked last weekend was legit, showing the Snow Leopard on the front.

The pricing remains at $29US for a single user upgrade, or $49 for a Family Pack upgrade. You can only install the upgrade edition if you're using Leopard. If you're not, you'll need to buy the Mac Box Set, available for $169 for a single user or $229 for a Family Pack.

Before you install, check out our upgrade guide. Also, note that If you purchased a qualifying Mac on or after June 8, 2009, that does not include Mac OS X Snow Leopard, you can upgrade for $9.95.
Read more about Snow Leopard here, including a description of many of the improvements.

If you're a student (like me) and have been thinking about getting a Mac (like me), now is an ideal time to buy. You get a student discount, a free iPod Touch, and a free printer too -- plus the new operating system. Students have until September 8th to take advantage of the free iPod Touch.


Clint D said...

I'm kind of excited about the upgrade. Anything that boosts performance sounds good to me. I bought two copies of the $9.95 update when I got my Macs.

I think, however, that I'll let the hardcore maniacs use it for a week and monitor the web before I put it in my machines.

I'm also curious is the CDs will show up at my door on the 28th or if I'll have to wait.

Shawn said...

that would be the *28*, not the *8*

Ali Hasanain said...

If I was in the market for a new computer right now, I'd probably wait till October to see how Windows 7 measures up.

I was rather taken aback to see how much of a premium we're paying for Apple's integrated hardware/software experience (perhaps as much as $500 in the case of a Macbook Pro). In other words, a PC for 900 (leaving aside money for a Touch and printer) is going to be significantly higher-spec'd that the Macbook Pro. I found a comparison on Dell's website I'm gonna mail you.

The other thing is that I've heard very good things about Windows 7 release candidate from my developer friends. It's supposed to a) not have hiccups like Vista, and b) be a much more user friendly experience than before.

Not that I expect any of this to matter...

thinking said...

I do see what Ali seems Microsoft has really done their work on Windows 7.

That being said, I still cannot believe that it will match the user experience of a Mac with OS X. But we will see...

Brian Hollar said...


Thanks for passing on the info on the Dells. Question for you: If I were to take the engine of a Ferrari and put it in a Hummer, would they be equivalent vehicles? The horsepower and other selected specs would be the same on paper... you could even modify them so they hold the same amount of fuel. Despite the specs, I think you'd agree they'd offer very different driving experiences.

There are some things that aren't fully captured in the numbers -- particularly qualitative and experiential information. The hardware/software integration you mention is part of the "magic" of the Mac that Apple sells. If two cars have the same performance numbers, but one is always breaking down and randomly slowing up, which of the two will people prefer? That's a big part of why you have a ton of hardcore Mac fans and not so many equally dedicated fans of similarly equipped $900 Dells.

Ali Hasanain said...

That's a misleading analogy. A Ferrari is far more than its engine, technically (i.e. suspension, weight balance, etc.)

A better analogy would be: would I prefer a Mercedes-Benz E-Class over a Hyundai Genesis. The Hyundai has similar levels of luxury and space with about 10% less refinement and about 40% less cost.

The answer: I'd buy the Hyundai in a heartbeat.

Anyway, these analogies both miss the point I was trying to make: I was trying to point out that you're paying about $500 dollars as a premium for using OS X over Windows, and for the integrated experience.

And let's not forget you'll have to buy a MiniDisplayPort to DVI adapter, Office for Mac (which I assume you already have for Windows), so your real premium is about $750.

So here's the right question to ask yourself: Suppose you have a new PC laptop with the same sort of specs as a new Macbook. You have $750 lying next to it.

Now you can spend that money to:
-upgrade to a Macbook
-increase the specs of your PC (you can double RAM, go for a solid-state harddrive, and do God knows what else)
-buy lots of software
-buy an iPhone and have enough left over to adjust for the premium they'll charge you monthly
-spend that money on your next technological escapade: a new SLR maybe? HD Camcorder? Teleportation device?

The reason I'm saying all this is not to dissuade you from a Macbook, but just to give you a clearer sense of the premium you're paying. If I had known how much more expensive the Apple experience would be, I'd at least have serious second thoughts, but if you think otherwise, hey, as always, de gustibus non est disputandum...

Brian Hollar said...

You're correct in saying the Ferrari is more than its engine and that's the analogy I'm trying to make. A computer is more than just its processor and hard drive. The Ferrari's body and engine is designed to operate as one smooth piece of machinery. The hardware/software integration of a Mac seems to accomplish this engine/body co-design much better than PCs. This translates into better performance out of Macs with similar specs relative to PCs.

Since teleportation devices aren't available yet outside the CIA, I may have to content myself with a Mac.

Mac's may cost more up front, but there are strong arguments to be made that total cost of ownership is less - particularly if you value your time a lot and/or have problematic PCs. (And I'm convinced there is a much higher probability of problems with PCs than Macs. Maybe I'm wrong on this?)

For the record, I would gladly have paid a high premium of more than $750 to have avoided all the problems I've had with PCs in the last four years...

Ali Hasanain said...

Still think it was a faulty analogy, but let's leave that at that.

I think you're mistaken about the advantage of hardware/software integration. Remember that Apple's current and future range of computers is diverse enough that it can't afford to tailor its software too much for any one computer. I'd imagine there is a big saving in the number of drivers installed, but apart from saving a negligible amount of disk space I doubt there's much of a performance difference at all. The big advantage of the integration is compatibility: when doing a fresh system install, you don't have to scour the net for an obscure driver (or ten). This is a problem with Windows (at least with XP when you've lost your installation CD, like I had), but I hear, as previously mentioned, that they're taking a big jump on the driver front with Seven.

Given your experiences with PC-based machines over the last few years, I don't blame you for shifting. On the other hand, I fear that you might be using an availability heuristic/bias (estimating a probability based heavily on personal rather than population experience). I think you'll find that the difference in reliability isn't nearly as great as you're probably imagining right now. My Apple crashes or needs a reboot for other reasons as regularly as my Dell used to need. In 3 years of using that Dell, I did a fresh install of Windows once, when I was getting rid of it and wanted to format the hard drive. In 1 year of using an Apple, I've had to do a recovery once (which was easily done btw). I don't know if my Apple is a lemon (hehe), but I'm quite sure my PC experience is far more representative than yours has been (Faisal and Kara have ran PCs for the last 3 years and rarely complain of any problems).

Bottom line: an Apple is a lot of things - stylish, easy to use, beautifully put together - but there is a significant premium you're paying for it (my conservative estimate of my premium: $400) over a similar-performing PC. I didn't realize this when I bought mine. All I wanted to do with this lengthy diatribe is make sure you keep your eyes open.

Beyond that, good luck with whatever you decide...