Apple’s frequent update experiment has failed; it’s time for another Snow Leopard

“As many of you have by now heard and experienced, OS X Yosemite has its fair share of problems,” Jim Tanous writes for TekRevue.

“Some of them are minor (not preserving non-native scaling at boot or wake on Retina Displays which causes saved user windows to open at the wrong size and position) and some of them are major (UI slowdowns and system freezes that require daily reboots to clear, or Wi-Fi connectivity issues),” Tanous writes. “But the fact is that the list of bugs as of 10.10.1 (many of which are still present in the latest preview build of 10.10.2) is long and troubling, leading me to a realization this week: I no longer trust OS X. In fact, OS X Yosemite on both my 2013 Mac Pro and 2014 MacBook Pro is unusable in its current state.”

“At WWDC 2009, Apple’s then-Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Bertrand Serlet, took the stage and announced something that he called “unprecedented” in the computing industry: the upcoming OS X Snow Leopard would have ‘no new features,'” Tanous writes. “That wasn’t technically true, of course, but his point was that Apple was focusing on refining Leopard — fixing bugs, introducing under-the-hood improvements, and providing performance boosts across the board — rather than rolling out yet another set of end-user interface and functionality changes. It was indeed a bold move, but it paid off, and Snow Leopard is generally viewed as one of the best operating systems ever released by Apple.”

Tanous writes, “It’s time to do that again.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015


  1. When it rains, it pours.
    It is getting too difficult to hide the fact that Apple software has been going downhill. Apple has been dumping quality, intuitiveness and functionality to give us features that we don’t want.

  2. I guess I should feel fortunate I haven’t experienced any of these problems with my MBP Retina, for me it all just works, just like my other Mac devices. It sounds like these are isolated issues, they’re certainly not universal. I’ve never had the wireless problem, for example, and no display problem (even though I use it with an external monitor), and definitely no freezing problems.

  3. Next OS X will integrate a powerful Siri and proximity awareness (approach the computer and be auto-logged in by the device on your arm). There’s no time for a Sno-semite.

  4. Agile or whatever software development methodology Apple now uses is probably terrific for applications, like Safari or even Adobe CC: new features released incrementally are great for consumers.

    But it’s a poor model for operating systems where security and stability should be the key drivers.

  5. Snow Leopard remains the apex of OS X in performance and stability- it also still supported Rosetta.

    Finally, it looked better without the UI downgrades introduced by Jony following Windows with the fad of flat graphics.

  6. I have a Macbook Air purchased this past August, and a late 2011 Macbook Pro. The Air runs like a dream with Yosemite, and I don’t recall encountering ANY issues with it. My Macbook Pro is another story, unfortunately. While I wouldn’t call it “unusable,” it certainly has major issues.

    I don’t know if I blame that on Yosemite itself, a bad install, hardware issues, or whatever else. But I would welcome Apple taking a year to focus on tightening up the performance of its OSes rather than cramming in new features.

  7. Complete hyperbole mixed with ignorance.

    First of all, every release of OS X has had issues, even Snow Leopard, Yosemite is no different. I’ve been using Yosemite since the GM and never has it been “unusable”.

    Take into account…
    1. Yosemite has the highest adoption rate of any release of OS X.
    2. There are 2-3x as many Mac users today, than when Snow Leopard was released.
    3. The complexity of the system has grown; there are many, many more features, subsystems, etc. in OS X now.

    That means there are more people using Yosemite, using more features, so the probability of an issue being reported becomes much, much higher.

    It’s ignorant to think that adding user facing changes (features) to an operating system would result in more bugs than adding foundational changes. Snow Leopard had many, many changes under the hood – it also had many reported issues, including, WiFi, Bluetooth, FireWire, battery, performance, multitasking, graphics, hard drive, etc.

    Anyone who lacks the memory can easily look all of this up on the interwebs.

    1. The author (and most of you) seem to think Apple releasing another “Snow Leopard” like version would be good because it would allow them to fix all the MAJOR problems with Yosemite that renders his systems “unusable”… Because for some reason everyone believes that “no new features” is equivalent to “no new bugs”.

      So I’ve taken his show stopping major issues he listed above and found all these corresponding issues from Snow Leopard.

      Apple Support – Snow Leopard Wifi Connectivity Issues
      InsanelyMac – Snow Leopard Wi-Fi Problems
      Yahoo Answers – Problem connecting to wifi after upgrading to Mac OS Snow Leopard?

      Apple Support – Snow Leopard = downgrade in performance with serious Bugs found
      Betalogue – Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard): Performance and video issues
      Lifehacker – Performance Update Targets Hard Drive Issues in Leopard, Snow Leopard

      Cnet – Freezes in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
      MacRumors – Snow Leopard – Crash / Freezing Issue – Hard Reboot Required
      iLounge – Two Proposed Solutions to Snow Leopard Crash Problems on Macs

      And that’s just the beginning. 10.6.2 contained over 40 bug fixes. I’m pretty sure byte for byte, Snow Leopard had just as many bugs and problems that Yosemite does.

      1. Michael, Michael, stop this at once! You’re making entirely too much sense for the brain-dead folks who claim quality must be declining since they can’t (or won’t) remember all the software issues that existed long before Yosemite came along! 😉

      2. “OS X 10.6.2 contained over 40 bug fixes.”
        Right. 10.6 was created to optimize and fix bugs that still existed in 10.5.8.

        Per Apple’s news release, “The update to Mac OS X 10.6 will focus on improving performance, efficiency and reducing its overall memory footprint, rather than new end-user features.”

        Each 10.6.X release fixed many bugs. That was the whole point of this version.
        In doing so this release took 1 year and 10 months to be released.

    2. I had wanted to post something similar but chickened out. Why bother with statistical research if you know you’ll be raked over the coals anyway? While people’s individual concerns are valid, they can’t resist generalising them, bolstered by confirmation bias, and starting a petition. This kind of thing can result in the worst sort of crowdsourcing, generating memes that operate in one’s narrow interest but too often go viral and chew the leg off the dog. A canonical example would be the number of complaints Apple received about bent iPhones.. in the single digits, compared with thousands of strident voices raised in righteous calumny

      1. People buy into the hype all too often. It is sad actually. This is the biggest problem with the web today. Same shit gets repeated enough, people start to believe it, even when it does not apply to them. Or they are a having a problem so their anger clouds their ability to think rationally.

        I’ll be the first to say Yosemite isn’t perfect – I have an issue with Safari and a specific website (AppleInsider), for no reason at all my system randomly freezes and I have to reboot. It’s the damnedest thing.

        But honestly, the people that think waiting longer to release software, or not adding features will put an end to bugs and issues really are naive.

        Consider this… Snow Leopard added no new “features”, took almost TWO YEARS to develop, but it still had problems and a lot of them as I mentioned above.

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