Apple was waiting in conference room 5252 within the Epson America, Long Beach headquarters when I exited the elevator to meet them. I knew why they were here. Apple is launching their latest Mac OS named Snow Leopard soon, and they wanted an update on what the Professional Imaging team was going to do about it.
The typical response they got from Seiko Epson Corporation in Japan via email wasn't what they were hoping for. My brief meeting this morning was to ensure them that at Epson America, things would be different.
Many of you don't realize it, but Epson America takes the core Macintosh and Windows drivers from Seiko Epson Corporation in Japan, and modifies them to our requirements. We make significant interface changes and include more descriptive balloon help. We also package them into an installer that may 'fix' potential problems. The fact was, my team had already been testing our latest customized Epson Stylus Pro drivers with Snow Leopard for the past two months. And everything was working fine.
The Macintosh OS is about 40% our professional customer-base and within our photographic business, more than half. So, it's important for Epson America to ensure our Mac driver technology is not only compatible with this latest release from Apple, but takes full advantage of any new technologies they bring with it.
Whenever Apple releases a new OS, my team gets the key questions. Should I upgrade to the latest OS now or wait? Will my Epson Stylus Pro printer work correctly? Do I require new driver or printer firmware updates? The quick answer is YES to all the above.
If you're using an Intel-based Mac, then you'll want this upgrade. I've been using Snow Leopard for about two months now. The latest release I just installed on 7.27.2009, resolved all of my open issues. This new Mac OS is ready. And I would be surprised if Apple does not release it by September or even earlier.
I should have told you earlier, but I'm kind of an Apple fanboy. My first computer was purchased from my college bookstore - a new Apple Macintosh Plus. I don't know why, but when I look back on that time now, it seems like Mac's were more exciting then. Maybe it was because computing was still so new. In any case, to the dismay of our I.T. Department, I've been using Mac's at Epson America since the day I got hired.
Here is my personal recommendation to Epson Stylus Pro, Intel-based, Macintosh users:
Please Note: This recommendation is only for the latest Epson Stylus Pro models. If you're using any other brand of Epson printer, please visit our website for more specifics about your printer model.
I would not install Snow Leopard on top of an existing installation. Instead, use this release as an opportunity to clean up your Mac. Throw-out files you don't need anymore. Replace older hard drives with bigger and faster new ones. Upgrade your memory to at least 6 GB. And for Mac Pro users, remember to mount your hard drives to their guides using those new little rubber washers, so the drive feedback vibration doesn't make your Mac as noisy.
Back-up your key data and install Snow Leopard via the 'Format and Erase' option. During the install process you will come to an option to customize the installation. Choose this method and ensure you turn 'OFF' all those standard printer driver files.
If you already installed them, or bought a new computer with Snow Leopard already installed, simply delete all the files within the 'Printers' folder, located at the following location:
Yes, throw away all the files within the 'Printers' folder and restart your computer. Then install your various Epson Stylus Pro and non-Epson printer drivers and utilities. Re-install all your apps, then copy back all your various data files. And don't forget about your email accounts, contacts, and browser bookmarks.
Yeah, it seems like a lot of work. But I find this type of work - fun. Some of you reading this know what I mean. In the end, you'll be rewarded with the most powerful operating system ever released by Apple. Makes me miss my Macintosh Plus a little less.
Adding your Epson Stylus Pro printer to Snow Leopard is better as well. To clarify, simply launch your 'System Preferences...' and click on the 'Print & Fax' icon. Click the little '+' symbol on the lower left and choose your Epson Stylus Pro printer from the list. You need to wait a little longer, to see your Epson Stylus Pro printer show up twice. This is due to both the Epson and Apple's communication drivers being installed.
For now, please only use the 'Epson TCP/IP' communication driver by selecting the Epson Stylus Pro printer tagged with the 'EPSON TCPIP' printer type. If you select the 'Bonjour' printer type, your driver may not work.
One more note, do not use the Epson driver DVD that came with your Epson Stylus Pro printer to install the drivers. Instead, download the latest drivers and utilities from our Professional Imaging website. The driver DVD installer interface is not compatible with Snow Leopard just yet. And for other's who may still be having problems, Epson is planning on releasing Epson Stylus Pro driver updates for Snow Leopard in November 2009.
As an Apple Developer, Epson America has access to the latest Apple software. We meet periodically to review the status of up-coming projects. We sometimes consult with each other on interface and workflow design. And after leaving this mornings meeting with Apple, I realized something.
Apple actually cares about how our customers use their products.
At times, we've had heated discussions with Apple, but I think they just want to ensure companies like Epson don't release bad product on their watch. This fundamental thought process is what makes Apple great. And it fits perfectly with the ideals behind the Epson Stylus Pro brand:
To develop printing technology that exceeds the expectations of Creative Professionals.
If you have a comment about this article, send an E-mail to InsideEpson@ea.epson.com