Snow Leopard Plus?

by Bakari Chavanu Dec 29, 2008

A reader's response to my last week's column, My Macworld Wishlist perhaps made a valid point that none of what I wished for would probably come from Apple. He wrote, "If they [Apple] go the way you want then they [Apple's software features] become unusable for the home user.  If you want professional features then pay for the professional versions." 

Well, I do pay for professional versions, but this response got me to thinking and asking the question, should Apple produce two versions of Snow Leopard? I know even the thought of a two or more versions of OS X sounds like a bad case of Windows disease, but as a dedicated Mac user, I assure you, I haven't caught that kind of bug. But I do read several articles on Mac sites calling for features that may well be "unusable for the home user." Of course, many home users may have found the first version of OS X to be a little too advanced when it first came out. I'm also aware that Apple has it hands full in creating exiting and well developed hardware. I'm sure its developers are spending more time on five more versions of the iPhone and iPod than on a single version of Snow Leopard. Furthermore, I realize that creating a second version of its operating system may not be a sound marketing decision right now.  

But since I do seem to dream a lot when I write these weekly columns, I might as well dream aloud again and share what's on my mind. Why two versions of Leopard? Well, I think more and more there is an obvious division of amongst computer users in general and Mac users in particular. There's the home user and there's the professional or business user. The needs of these different users when it comes to basic software are often met by third-party developers who try to fill the holes so to speak that Apple leaves in their system. Take the Finder itself which I have already discussed. I would wager that many advance or professional Mac users have  a preference plug-in like Default Folder X installed on their computer, whereas many home users don't. Simply put, Default Folder X enhances the Open and Save dialogs of Mac OS X. As a professional user, I would become deeply depressed if for some reason Default Folder X was no longer updated. In fact, if the developers of this application were no longer able to fulfill their duty of maintaining their product, I would hold Apple personally responsible for making sure this software never dies out. 

My point is that there are many third-party software and plug-ins that professional Mac users use to get their work done in a more timely and efficient manner. But imagine if there were a professional version of the OS system that included many of the advance functions that professionals want. And on top of that, a professional version of the operating system would mean that third-party developers could build off of advance features while at the same time Apple's home user market will still have their needs met by the basic version of the operating system.    

Having two versions of Leopard would also help in marketing to basic home users. I've heard some complaints that even iTunes is a little too complicated and weighted down with features for some users. I have a hard time grasping that, but hey it may be true. So perhaps a basic version of Leopard would address that issue, whereby some people are not looking for lots bells and whistles on iTunes but simply want a super easy way to download music into their library and export it their iPhone or iPod is all they need or want. The same goes for many other features of Apple  software and operating system.

Now, no doubt because of the much larger Windows's market, Microsoft had to create three versions of its operating software precisely because of the diverse group of needs of its users. Despite the problems and weaknesses of its system, it would probably be a big mistake for them to try to create a one-size-fit-all program for everyone. Thus, I seriously think if and when Apple gets anywhere near the market reach of Microsoft that it too will have to create more than one version of its operating system. And Steven Jobs will have to apologize to Microsoft for mocking them about their three-teared system.

It's also obvious that there's now a division of sorts between owners of Intel-based and non-Intel-based Apple computers in which recent upgrades of Mac OS X have and will have to continue to address. There are also many Mac users who must work in and between a Windows-based system, which again a more advance Mac operating system could more adequately address. 

Finally, I too desire a more stable, even slimed down, OS system, but I like other professional users will increasingly have needs that can't be met by a one-size-fits-all operating system. Third-party plug-ins and applications will always exist to fill the gaps, but it's often better to have advance features native to an operating system rather than having to go outside the framework to get those advance features. Snow Leopard Plus could very well fill those gaps.


  • The OS, as it stands, has many many features that the majority of users are unaware of.  Only by many hours of exploration or the reading of websites that deal with Mac OS’s does one discover what they are.  To the newly switched, the OS already appears to be a professional OS.
    Also one must look at the Return on Investment when dedicating manpower to produce the various levels of an OS.  What percent of all users are Professional?  Is it worth it to dedicate manpower to produce a lesser version of the top OS?

    WetcoastBob had this to say on Dec 31, 2008 Posts: 29
  • Page 1 of 1 pages
You need log in, or register, in order to comment