When Apple launched the “Snow Leopard” version of the MacOS X platform, there were initial doubts expressed in the computing press about Apple Macintosh users upgrading their existing equipment to this newer platform. The doubts that were expressed were primarily directed at the operating system not exposing new functionality at the user interface. This was because a lot of the work was done “under the hood” through a code rebuild for the Intel processors.
Over the past two years that I have seen MacOS X “Snow Leopard” in the field; I have talked with various Macintosh users about how their computer has fared under it. There have been some users who have bought it pre-installed on a new Macintosh-platform computer or have upgraded their existing Mac to this platform. Remarks I have heard included relative performance improvement as well as a reduction in the disk space required for the operating system compared to prior versions of the MacOS X platform.
This year sees the imminent release of the “Lion” version of this same platform, where there has been a lot of key changes and improvements made to the operating system. Examples of these functionality improvements included: enabling the Macintosh platform for touchscreen use, the implementation of “full-screen” operation for Macintosh applications without the need to have the Apple Menu Bar in view all the time; a multi-window view of all the currently-running programs; an iOS-style icon screen for all the programs installed on the Mac as well as the previously-mentioned iTunes App Store for the Macintosh.
What it seems like for me is that Apple have decided to take the job of improving the Macintosh platform in to two stages; the first one being primarily an “under-the-hood” effort which culminated with “Snow Leopard” and the second one with all the user-visible improvements culminating with “Lion”.
If you intend to upgrade your Macintosh to the “Lion” version, you will need to make sure it is based on an Intel Core-based or Xeon-based processor which means most relatively-recent Macs; and runs the latest version of “Snow Leopard”. The upgrade will be available as an electronic download available at the App Store for US$29.99 and downloads straight to your Mac.