Leopard Changes Spots for Racing Stripes

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Leopard Changes Spots for Racing Stripes


Apple’s newest operating system was announced at the 2008 Worldwide Development Conference. Code-named Snow Leopard, the new version’s moniker implies Apple is focusing on refining the operating system more than making major changes.


Although Snow Leopard will undoubtedly come with the usual bevy of feature enhancements and interface tweaks, the stand-out features of the new OS are almost all performance related. In particular, it has a heavy emphasis on multi-core processing.


Instead of adding new features, Snow Leopard will be tooled to increase the Macintosh’s performance. For example, according to Apple’s page on Snow Leopard, Safari will run JavaScript up to 53 percent faster.


Apple is giving us a peek of what Snow Leopard has to offer:


- Native support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. Exchange is the center of many businesses’ IT infrastructure, so out-of-the-box support for it in Apple’s bundled Mail, iCal and Address Book applications makes the Mac a much stronger contender for the corporate desktop. (The iPhone will also be gaining these features.)


- Better parallelization. With applications requiring ever more processing speed, Snow Leopard’s “Grand Central” optimizes the operating system so that it can use more cores, more efficiently, more of the time. It will also be easier for developers to parallelize their applications to take advantage of multiple cores. Correspondents on the front line of the OS wars will be looking to compare Snow Leopard’s ability to scale to multiple cores closely to Microsoft’s efforts.


- General-purpose GPU processing. If “Grand Central” isn’t enough, Snow Leopard will also offer OpenCL, a library written to take advantage of the graphics processor(s) in the system to offload processor-intensive and massively parallelizable operations (read: video transcoding) to the GPU. There are plenty of media applications that could greatly benefit from OpenCL.


- Support for elephantine quantities of memory. OSX has been 64-bit since Leopard, but Apple have been busy tinkering in its 64-bit innards to enable up to 16 TB--yes, that’s terabytes--of addressable memory. Since most of us are still clutching our hearts over the price of 4 GB, this is going to be more interesting to Apple’s server offerings.


- A sped-up QuickTime, code-named “QuickTime X,” evidently one of the first beneficiaries of the push for parallelization as well as technology developed for the iPhone, with support for more codecs and media formats.


- The usual round of changes and enhancements that everyone will love/hate/blog about incessantly.


None of the major features are on the surface but under the skin of the OS.


Apple has not announced a release date for Snow Leopard. But Leopard users will likely have to wait a year for the Snow to fall.





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Tylerr Br00tl3

I'm a 15 year old and I currently have the late 2007 MacBook 2.0 GHz running 10.5.3. I mean, sure, aren't new upgrades of operating systems appealing to most of us? I watched the WWDC and OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard doesn't appeal to me. I'm not trying to discourage [Intel] users to not upgrade to it. Many people have said "sure, a little speed boost would be nice", but I mean, if it means a 2 or 3 second increase on Adobe Creative Suite or similar programs, just stay with Leopard. I strongly recommend that Apple slaps Snow Leopard with a FREE upgrade instead of paying for it. Obviously there will be glitches here and there, but like I stated, if there is a slight speed boost for your mutli-core processor, just stick to Leopard, which can run on PowerPC Macs =]



Let's hope you folks who say it'll be free are correct. Have you ever known Apple to give free anything?


Mr Dave

I thought 10.1 was a freebie.



well the 1phone v2.0 software...


simon r

i like this a lot because i have not upgreaded to Leopard yet. Im still on Tiger, if all goes well with Snow Leopard, i guess i'll be upgrading to it on a brand new machine ofcourse.



I'm in the same boat running tiger still. It will be worth the update for people still in our situations and didn't see enough reason to upgrade to .5 but will with the combined changes of .5 and .6. Should be interesting.



On the first announcements of the Leopard, Apple told about 10 new features, that some might appear in the new Windows 7.

I remember when one of my best friends showed me the "New" features of Vista, and when I told him that all of them appeared in Mac OS X since Tiger and Panther.

The hardest for Redmont is to copy the Architecture.

I believe that Apple will present some new features in the Snow Leopard, but maybe it's not the right time to show them. Anyway these new features will make us pay for the New Cat.



I'm running a PowerPC Dual 2.0 G5. I have 10.5 OSX. I have absolutely no complaints. It's fast and reliable. I run Adobe's entire Creative Suite at the same time and virtually see no bumps. Was this a problem for others? Hey, a free speed boost is cool but I'm not paying a dime to upgrade (if it actually supports PowerPC chips). What would be the point? All I see is potential glitches with the upgrade that frankly I don't have time for.



I swear I'm going back to using my SE/30.



My hope is that 10.6 will support PowerPC (ie. G5) processors. My DP G5 is still going strong, and I have no need to replace it any time soon. I'd sure love a free speed boost, though!



From what I remember, SnowLeopard will NOT support the PowerPC chip. Hope I'm wrong 'cause I'm running a dual 2.5 G5 myself...



Aside from the release date I am more curious about whether or not apple will, and if so, how much apple will charge for snow leopard. Paying an additional 130 dollars for what is in essence a cleaned-up version of the OS you just got a year or so ago seems rather obnoxious.



I actually remember reading somewhere on Macrumors.com that OS 10.6 would actually be a free update to users of Leopard.

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