As predicted, 10.6 will be released August 28th, slightly earlier than promised. It certainly makes sense for Apple to release 10.6 before Microsoft Windows 7 marketing can hit: Rather than trying to compete with Microsoft for reviews and media attention, release early and hog all the attention for yourself.
However, the extremely short lead-up between announcement and release is a bit surprising: both the 10.4 and 10.5 releases had longer marketing build-ups, with big release countdown clocks dominating the Apple homepage.
But the slightly more subdued marketing plays into the way Apple has positioned 10.6 as an incremental release: If you stick a big countdown clock on your website, people are going to expect huge fantastic changes. But with so few visible changes to Snow Leopard, that’s clearly not the kind of message Apple is trying to send. At the same time, early reviews have been very favorable and at the unbeatable price of $29, it’s hard not to be far more impressed by the new “fine-tuned” version of OS X, than the marketing would lead you to believe.
I guess that the goal of this positioning and marketing strategy is mainly to allow Apple to under-promise and over-deliver – a great way to prepare for Windows 7 this fall.
At any rate, existing Mac owners have some great improvements to look forward to, potential first-time customers will be reminded which OS is the pundits’ favorite and developers get some under-the-hood improvements to play with. All-in-all it should be a very solid release for Apple.
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