Daring Fireball linked to Paul Thurrott today, citing Paul’s comment that Lion is simply an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary update. John says:
With Mac OS X in particular, to my recollection, Thurrott has had this same take for every single major (i.e., new cat name) release. Every single one, he’s considered to be “minor” and “evolutionary”.
Sounds like fun, let’s take a look.
Microsoft and Apple developed XP and OS X in parallel, and although the first version of OS X (10.0) shipped months ago (in March), the OS wasn’t ready for consumers and casual users until 10.1’s release in late September.
Although Thurrott does not specifically say 10.1 was a minor update in this review, he does address it in the 10.3 review.
Essentially a minor upgrade to previous Mac OS X versions, Jaguar includes numerous small updates and refinements but few major new innovations.
Over the course of three minor updates (10.1 in late 2001, 10.2 in late 2002, and now 10.3) Apple has done much to strengthen Mac OS X’s underpinnings with a usable fascia that’s bursting with functionality.
Panther costs a whopping $129 for most Mac OS X users, although customers who have purchased a new Mac since October 8 can get it for free. That’s a lot of money to pay for mostly subtle refinements that, arguably, should have been in the system to begin with.
Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” is, in fact, a minor upgrade to an already well-designed and rock-solid operating system. It will not change the way you use your computer at all, and instead uses the exact same mouse and windows interface we’ve had since the first Mac debuted in 1984.
While the Apple hype machine and its fanatical followers would have you believe that Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” is a major upgrade to the company’s venerable operating system, nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, Leopard is yet another evolutionary upgrade in a long line of evolutionary OS X upgrades, all of which date back to the original OS X release in 2001.
Meanwhile, Leopard is an incremental, evolutionary update over the previous release with no major architectural changes, which makes me wonder why Apple is even charging for it: In the Windows world, such releases are called service packs.
Bottom line: Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” is a nice refinement to an already solid OS offering. But it’s almost too evolutionary to get excited about.
And finally, the article in question.
All in all, Lion doesn’t change much: People buy Macs for the beautiful hardware, not the lackluster OS X user experience. That’s still very much the case.
You’ve really just got to love this guy.