I’ve had quite some time to think about the concept of snow leopard, but I’m still struggling with the concept in its entirety.

Here we are, just over the one year mark for Leopard, and we’re already gearing up for a first quarter release in 2009 of Snow Leopard. I know the acceleration at which change occurs tends to speed up over time (Moore’s Law), but I can’t stop the feeling I get when someone spouts off the changes that we should expect in Snow Leopard. It feels like a glorified patch, a system update that we should get in the software update, and more importantly, it feels like something that should have been in Leopard in the first place.

Apple has said that we should expect both quality and performance issues to be addressed in the release. That isn’t exactly marketing speak for new and improved. It’s marketing speech for old and busted. If leopard isn’t seen as being as good as it could have been why did they decided to release it? Why could they not have addressed these issues and released it when all these performance issues were worked out.

I’m positive that most people would agree that when Leopard came out there was not that much of a change from the basic tenants of Tiger, outside of some aesthetic changes and time machine integration. Is there a new Apple release schedule of operating systems? Is operating systems now broken into two segments? The first part being the pretty GUI, and the second being performance, and more specifically, are consumers now really paying for their operating systems twice?

We sure love new–illustrated by the huge demand for beta and alpha invites–and it seems that the next logical extension to the beta epidemic is to suck the consumers into pretty new graphics and interfaces, and then, have them pay for functionality under another banner–Snow Leopard.

The internet has completely blurred the line between what’s acceptable to ship, and what needs to be delayed. I can’t even begin to imagine how many of these companies would have lasted back in the late eighties and early nineties before they had the ability to throw out patches via the internet. The natural progression has moved from shipping a complete functioning product, to shipping a product and addressing bugs as they come up for free, to shipping half finished products and charging for updates. It’s not acceptable, and it has me seriously considering a pass on the next Apple release.

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