The Mac, the myth, the legend: how Snow Leopard became synonymous with reliability

Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac:

Following the news that Apple had refocused their plans for iOS 12 around stability and performance over new features, many were quick to liken the move to a “Snow Leopard release” of iOS. In recent years, the phrase has reached mythological status in the Apple community, a catch-all referring to stable software and “the good ol’ days” of the Mac.

But how did this perception develop? Was Mac OS X Snow Leopard really the gold standard of software releases, an undefeated champion in the halls of computing history?

This is a fascinating look at the history of Apple and software reliability. It pairs well with the Axios story Apple delays iOS features to focus on reliability, performance and Michael Tsai’s response.

Michael Tsai:

I think the real difference is that, with more time between major releases, there was less churn, and there was time for things to settle down before the next major release upended everything again. The last few versions of each cycle got to be really good, and you could stick with them until the next version settled down. Some people stayed with 10.6.8 for multiple whole cycles. (There was also less pressure to update then.) Last fall, if Sierra was buggy for you, the choice was between sticking with a release you weren’t happy with or rolling the dice on High Sierra, which included significant fixes but also introduced new problems of its own.

Nothing is ever rock solid. But there are certainly many shades of grey between rock solid and terribly buggy. And Apple’s reputation is critical to their continued success. Apple cannot allow their brand to tarnish (or at least to become synonymous with terribly buggy). That’d be the ball game.