Snow Leopard truly is an optimized version of Leopard. It starts up faster (72 seconds on a MacBook Air, versus 100 seconds in Leopard). It opens programs faster (Web browser, 3 seconds; calendar, 5 seconds; iTunes, 7 seconds), and the second time you open the same program, the time is halved.A lot of little fixes and features:
‘Optimized’ doesn’t just mean faster; it also means smaller. Incredibly, Snow Leopard is only half the size of its predecessor; following the speedy installation (15 minutes), you wind up with 7 gigabytes more free space on your hard drive. That, ladies and gents, is a first.
The Mac now adjusts its own clock when you travel, just like a cellphone. The menu bar can now show the date, not just the day of the week. The menu of nearby wireless hot spots now shows the signal strength for each. When you’re running Windows on your Mac, you can now open the files on the Macintosh “side” without having to restart. Icons can now be 512 pixels (several inches) square, turning any desktop window into a light table for photos.Pogue's advice:
if you’re already running Leopard, paying the $30 for Snow Leopard is a no-brainer. You’ll feel the leap forward in speed polish, and you’ll keep experiencing those “oh, that’s nice” moments for weeks to come.and conclusion,
If you’re running something earlier, the decision isn’t as clear cut; you’ll have to pay $170 and get Snow Leopard with Apple’s creative-software suites — whether you want them or not.
Either way, the big story here isn’t really Snow Leopard. It’s the radical concept of a software update that’s smaller, faster and better — instead of bigger, slower and more bloated. May the rest of the industry take the hint.