Should you upgrade to Snow Leopard?

Michael Sohn/AP
Yawn: Is a Snow Leopard upgrade worth it?

A coworker just stopped by and posed the question: 'Should I upgrade to Snow Leopard?'

On the surface, the answer seems simple enough: New, updated software can improve a computer's performance and offer new features. Snow Leopard's $30 pricetag is easy on the wallet. And keeping up-to-date is the best policy. Right?

It's not that simple, as it turns out.

While some are heralding the arrival of Apple's OS 10.6 – analysts Piper Jaffray predicted 5 million copies would sell in September – others aren't so bullish on the big cat. Smarterware's Gina Trapani isn't the first to call it nothing more than a service pack, dinging the leaner upgrade for being just a package of bug fixes rather than a full-fledged new operating system.

And more troubling, many users have come forward with complaints that some software – including older versions of Apple's own Aperture and Keynote – won't open under Snow Leopard. Gizmodo has compiled a Mac OS X Snow Leopard Applications Blacklist. Some have called the upgrade "barely noticeable."

Still, there are some bright spots to consider when deciding whether to update. First of all, many are noticing that things appear to be sped up a little bit under 10.6. And because of the way Snow Leopard manages the processor, programs run more efficiently, resulting in longer battery life, according Wired News.

In addition, many report favorable space  changes – both from Snow Leopard's svelte size and the way remaining space is calculated – expect to get anywhere from one to 10 GB back. And The Unofficial Apple Weblog, in its "Pawful of quick Snow Leopard Tips," points to other subtle touches that users may appreciate. Heck, System Preferences even got a makeover.

So, should you upgrade? That, of course, is up to you, but a smart move (as always) might be to wait until Apple and application makers have time to sort out their compatibility issues, and upgrade then. So, Eoin, if you're reading this, wait.


Did you upgrade to Snow Leopard? Should Eoin? Leave us a comment or tell us on Twitter. We're @CSMHorizonsBlog.

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