Is Snow Leopard a disappointing upgrade because there isn’t a new GUI? TechCrunch thinks so.

Sep 4, 2009 - 10 Comments

angry snow leopard TechCrunch has an interesting op-ed piece today about why Snow Leopard is seen as disappointing to some casual Mac users who upgrade. The readers digest version? It doesn’t look or feel different enough. TechCrunch author MG Siegler basically argues that to the average user, changes in the look and feel of an operating system are what users notice most. Snow Leopard looks the same as Leopard, therefore in the eyes of most users, it is the same.

“…it’s fairly hard to tell that you’re actually using something that is any different from the previous version. Yes, there are many little, subtle changes all over, but aside from maybe Quicktime X, there is nothing that immediately strikes you as being different. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a little disappointing to me.”

Interesting argument, and I partially agree, but for me Snow Leopard has brought vast speed improvements to the Mac OS X Finder, iTunes, Preview, and Safari, which make the upgrade more than worth it. Like MG Siegler, I was a little disappointed to not get the rumored ‘marble’ GUI change that has been long discussed, but Snow Leopard won me over anyway with the functionality improvements. I know that TechCrunch isn’t an outlier in thinking this way though, a friend of mine who recently installed Windows 7 told me that although he still prefers Mac OS X, Windows 7 just looks more modern and fancy with all it’s transparency, gradients, and 3d effects.

What do you think? Are you disappointed that Snow Leopard doesn’t look and feel different enough?


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS


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  1. herojig says:

    Nice balance of function and form improvements. The UI did change (see grid behavior and other tweaks) and saving 10gb of disk space was a great surprise.

  2. […] week we wrote that some people thought of Snow Leopard as a disappointing upgrade because there wasn’t a new GUI included in it, specifically the ‘marble’ […]

  3. Danny says:

    Changing the outward look and feel for the sake of change alone doesn’t make much sense. I know people are expecting more visible changes, but instead of a paint job they got an engine upgrade. It still looks the same, but take it out on the road, and you really start to see the difference. And those differences are only going to become more pronounced as developers take advantage of Grand Central Dispatch, and OpenCL. I’m very pleased with the new system, and I’m excited for the foundation it lays for third-party developers.

  4. Harry says:

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to something a bit more in my face. However, I will definitely take it over loads of bling-bling. Apple is following the KISS principle. And, I hope the under-the-hood changes that aren’t in our face will give us a better experience (with greater performance, less crashes, and something the community can build upon).

  5. Thomas says:

    Yes it would have been nice with an GUI change, but SL was “just” an under the hood update and nothing else. I think that Apple is doing the right thing by optimizing the core of the system and not the look. I am sure the company is working on a completely new interface for a later update and if I know Apple right it will BLOW away any competition once it is launched. Perhaps the new QuickTime application, Expose and contextual menu of Dock icons are showing some signs of a future update but we won’t know until we see it. It’s as mentioned a personal preference and I still think OSX is still looking stylish in a discrete and elegant way. The Windows interface does in my opinion more look like a semi complete desing made by an amateur GUI designer on Deviant Art – sorry! Again the next OSX GUI will look awesome and will be useful for several years after it’s initial release. Windows 7 will look dull and non “trendy” in a year or so. Same thing with hardware… You can setup a 5 year old Mac in a modern home and it will fit just fine, do the same with a 5 year old Windows PC and no people will visit you because their eyes hurt weeks after…

  6. Tijl Vandersteene says:

    An OS is a tool to me, like most applications. I don’t wear it on my head. So if it works and looks clean and simple it’s good for me. And it doesn’t have to get a new look every season, please not.
    It has to get better, that’s important. If it looks good and fresh, that’s great. I prefer to have style instead of following every new fashion.

  7. Art says:

    I’m disappointed because there are so many problems prevent me from installing it on my production Mac. After installing on my laptop: system (menu) fonts look awful; quickbooks has problems; dreamweaver problems reported; reported problems with Parallels. I’ve got it installed only on my laptop. Holding off on my Mac and my wife’s Mac.

  8. BC says:

    @Fox Mulder.
    “Apple prides itself in being a fashion accessory…”
    Maybe they do, but fashion doesn’t mean following the latest gangsta bling.
    Apple designs are more about ultimate style, not low-brow “fashion”.
    I am talking the Chanel’s small black vs baggy pants half way down your arse – see the difference?

  9. BC says:

    Not at all.
    It is a personal preference, but I appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the OSX design. It’s logical, inoffensive, sleek and streamlined.
    I don’t understand the need for visual bells and whistles, a well designed interface “just works”. For anyone who wants the coffin look of black bevels etc. there’s always Vista, or third party utilities.
    I just picked up a brand new MBP with 10.6 installed and I am finding tiny changes. There’re the animation and exclamation mark on the airport icon, some wording have changed in the find window, few bits and pieces – all nice and helpful.
    If it’s ain’t broke, don’t #u@k with it – I say.

  10. Fox Mulder says:

    I agree I think Leopard looked dated and was let down that Apple didn’t change the face of Snow Leopard at all. If that article is true and we have to wait until 10.7 to see a new interface, Mac OS is going to look like it’s from 2005 while Windows and Linux are living in 2011. Apple prides itself in being a fashion accessory and the interface of the MacOS is starting to look like bell bottoms when everyone else is wearing skinny jeans.

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