Online shoppers' opinions on Apple's new Snow Leopard computer operating system ranged from two thumbs up to underwhelmed following the OS's first weekend on the market.
"Great new (and inexpensive) OS," wrote Amazon customer Brian, in a review posted Monday to the online retailer's Web site. Brian said the upgrade to Snow Leopard, aka Mac OS X 10.6, "took one click of the mouse and around 50 minutes to install."
Brian, who gave Snow Leopard five out of five stars said most of the improvements over OS X 10.5 function "under the hood" but helped his system run faster.
Another customer, identified as ten sense, said he or she also felt the new operating system lived up to its feline namesake. "What I noticed right away is performance in speed in everyday tasks such as browsing with Safari, searching through Finder, using Mail, and opening up apps," wrote the customer. "For $29 bucks it's a great upgrade," wrote ten sense.
Others were less enthusiastic. "If you already have Leopard, prepare to be less than impressed," said "W. Holleman." Holleman said he "bought this with few expectation and that's just what I got." The customer complained that "the interface is exactly the same, the speed is about the same, not much to get excited about."
Patrick Groeneveld, of San Jose, Calif., wrote on Amazon that Snow Leopard is "Not worth the trouble." Groeneveld, who gave the software just one star, said the improvements over Leopard "are barely noticeable and there are no killer features to make this worthwhile."
Still, most online shoppers appeared more than happy with Snow Leopard. 50% of Amazon's reviewers awarded it five stars, while only 12.5% gave it one star. 37.5% were somewhere in between.
Snow Leopard introduces a number of new features to the Mac operating environment, including 64-bit versions of Finder, Mail, iCal, iChat, and the Safari Web browser.
Mac OS X 10.6 also includes a new multithreading technology called Grand Central Dispatch that should prove popular with gamers and other users that require maximum horsepower for graphics processing and other computationally intensive tasks. GCD enables applications to take full advantage of multi-core processors.
For corporate users, Snow Leopard offers built-in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, a feature that could help Apple make gains in the enterprise and small business computing markets.
Amazon last week reduced the price of the upgrade version of Mac OS X 10.6 by 14%, from $29 to $25. It also cut the 5-user Family Pack edition by 10%, from $49 to $44. Additionally, the online retailer reduced the Box Set Family Pack (non-upgrade) from $229 to $199.
Mac OS X 10.6 Server is down 11%, to $445. Amazon is also offering free, "Super Saver" shipping on all versions of Snow Leopard.
Apple is continuing to charge the original prices for Snow Leopard on its Apple Store Web site, but is offering discounts to customers who purchased a Mac on or after June 8 through a program called "Up To Date." Qualified buyers can buy the upgrade version of Snow Leopard for just $9.95 through the program.
Apple shares were off 1.06%, to $168.24, in trading Monday.