Well, it has many improvements not only for new users, but for experienced users too:
- Installation happens in 24 minutes now. In fact, on my computer it only took 18 minutes. This was not easy, it required a lot of work: switching to LZMA, creating images for the base patterns, and the new SAT solver (which benefit general package management too)
- Installer is less hassle. You only need something like 6 clicks for the full installation. Say what you want, but we were constantly getting abused about the "long" and many clicks required for the installation in public reviews.
- Installer is more pleasing to the eye. It's the first thing users see. Many new users were erroneously reaching the conclusion that "nothing changed" in openSUSE because we kept the installer the same. You would be very surprised about the psychological effect this had on users.
- Installation is indeed run once, but it also provides a make-or-break situation for users. If there was a part they couldn't do they're probably not going to be hanging around to work it out, they'll just try something else.
So, while there is evidently a lot more to it than just the change in aesthetic appeal, aesthetics are incredibly important in their own right, as well.