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Snow Leopard in action looks a lot like OS X Leopard, but its significantly faster, according to Apple.  (Source: Apple)

The new OS also improves accessibility, adding support for braille wireless accessories for the visually impaired.  (Source: Apple)
Apple is ready to spread OS X 10.6 to the masses

Apple's new operating system, OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard", will beat the company's own launch target of September – an official launch date of August 28 was just announced.  The new OS is priced at $29 per license for OS X Leopard users (with additional discounts for bulk license users).  Apple notes, "Snow Leopard builds on a decade of OS X innovation and success with hundreds of refinements, new core technologies and out of the box support for Microsoft Exchange."

Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, describes, "Snow Leopard builds on our most successful operating system ever and we’re happy to get it to users earlier than expected.  For just $29, Leopard users get a smooth upgrade to the world’s most advanced operating system and the only system with built in Exchange support."

The new OS is set to go head-to-head with Microsoft's Windows 7 and delivers many major improvements for Mac users.

Over 90 percent of the 1,000 core programs in OS X had their performance tuned and improved, according to Apple.  Many -- namely, Finder, Mail, iCal, iChat, and Safari -- were moved from 32-bit into a 64-bit world, which boosts memory performance, among other things.  Apple says that its Finder is "more responsive", its Mail client is twice as fast, and Time Machine is 80 percent faster at its initial backup.

Apple includes the new QuickTime X and Safari 4 with the OS.  Apple says that the new version of Safari is more resistant to plug-in crashes and 50 percent faster at general web browsing (Safari recently received the accolade of being listed by Futuremark as tied with Google's Chrome as the fastest browser).

The size of the installation has also been cut in half freeing 7 GB. 

Apple is pushing a couple of new technologies with Snow Leopard.  The first is its Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) a technology designed to optimize multi-core usage.  Another new tech is OpenCL, a C-based open standard, which looks to provide heterogenous processing on both GPUs and CPUs.

Ironically, one of Apple's biggest selling point with the new OS comes from competitor Microsoft.  Apple explains, "Snow Leopard is the only desktop operating system with built in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and it allows you to use Mac OS X Mail, Address Book and iCal to send and receive email, create and respond to meeting invitations, and search and manage contacts with global address lists. Exchange information works seamlessly within Snow Leopard so users can also take advantage of OS X only features such as fast Spotlight searches and Quick Look previews."

Unlimited licenses of Snow Leopard are available for $499, half the price of an unlimited pack for Leopard.  The new OS will start shipping this Friday to customers that pre-order.  Amazon.com has already been holding an unofficial pre-order for the last couple weeks and saw Snow Leopard jump to the top of its software sales charts.

Snow Leopard Server will launch on August 28, as well, alongside the new consumer OS.  The Server edition comes with Podcast Producer 2 and Mobile Access Server and costs $499 for an unlimited license.



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RE: Can someone tell me why I should be excited?
By gstrickler on 8/24/2009 7:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
it is essentially a service pack.
It's "essentially a service pack" in exactly the same way that Windows 7 is "essentially a service pack" for Vista. Service packs are to fix compatibility, stability, security, or bugs. Occasionally a vendor will add new features or make notable infrastructure changes in a service pack, but that is rare.

It's a major update/rewrite of the infrastructure with a number of new technologies that end users won't use directly, but will benefit end users in the long run.

It provides a compeletely rewritten user shell (the Finder), MS Exchange support, and faster backups, those are the major change users will see.

Behind the scenes, it includes a significantly rewritten kernel (both 32-bit and 64-bit versions) that is smaller and faster, a new multi-threading technology and scheduler, a new QuickTime architecture, new 64-bit versions of all the major included applications, and OpenCL.

Far more than a service pack by any measure, and comparable to the differences between Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Mac OS X 10.6 upgrade from 10.5 = $29, $169 for users of Mac OS 10.4 (includes newest iLife and iWork applications). Earlier versions of Mac OS aren't relevant because all Macs that are compatible with 10.6 shipped with 10.4 or 10.5.

Windows 7 upgrade from Window XP/Vista (and possibly from any prior Windows) = $119 (Home Premium), $199 (Pro), $219 (Ultimate). Note that you must upgrade to at least a version that is comparable to your current version (Ultimate to Ultimate, Business to Pro/Ultimate, Home Premium to Home Premium/Pro/Ultimate, etc.)

Those are all MSRP, so you may be able to get lower prices. Both offer discounted upgrades for users who purchased a new machine in June or later (exact dates vary).
quote:
People are kidding themselves if they really think the move to 64 bit will actually increase the speed of the OS substantially, especially on older hardware with less RAM are kidding themselves. 64GB environment with 2GB RAM (or less) = no thanks, no matter what OS you run.
Because of the way Apple implemented their 32/64-bit system, users who move to 64-bit will see a performance boost, as long as they have a 64-bit enabled machine with 2GB RAM. Even users who remain on the 32-bit kernel will see some performance boost from the streamlined kernel and rewritten Finder. That means that every machine that is capable of running 10.6 should see some performance boost. You might bother to learn something about Mac OS X before making baseless comments about it.


RE: Can someone tell me why I should be excited?
By DEredita on 8/24/2009 7:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
I much rather pay $200 for an OS upgrade on a machine that can have the memory upgraded, than pay $29 on a machine that can only support 2GB of memory.

Now if this OS upgrade also included firmware upgrades that flash the machine to enable upgrading the memory to 4GB or 8GB, than I would be satisfied.

All of my Windows machines have 4GB to 8GB of memory, they all have been affordable, and are highly capable machines of doing heavy Adobe CS4 work with 64-bit Adobe applications (something the Mac doesn't have).


RE: Can someone tell me why I should be excited?
By gstrickler on 8/25/2009 12:02:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I much rather pay $200 for an OS upgrade on a machine that can have the memory upgraded, than pay $29 on a machine that can only support 2GB of memory.
Either you don't read or you just like ignoring facts. The machine in question isn't limited to 2GB, it can have 4GB installed, and just like Windows machines based upon the same chipset, it can only use 3GB of that 4GB, so there is no reason to install more than 3GB.
quote:
Now if this OS upgrade also included firmware upgrades that flash the machine to enable upgrading the memory to 4GB or 8GB, than I would be satisfied.
What part of "it's a hardware limitation" didn't you understand? His machine uses the Intel 965GM chipset, which supports a maximum of 4GB of RAM. The first Intel mobile chipsets that support more than 4GB of RAM were introduced in Q3 '08, 8+ months after his particular model was discontinued. In fact, neither Intel, AMD, nor Nvidia made a MOBILE chipset capable of supporting more than 4GB RAM prior to 2008. A firmware update can NOT provide support for addressing that isn't supported by the hardware.

Just in case I was unclear the first 5 times, 4GB is a limitation of the chipset and there is nothing Apple or anyone else can do about that.
quote:
All of my Windows machines have 4GB to 8GB of memory, they all have been affordable, and are highly capable machines of doing heavy Adobe CS4 work with 64-bit Adobe applications (something the Mac doesn't have).
You're correct that CS4 for the Mac is 32-bit only, and Adobe plans to address that in CS5. See this adobe blog for details.
http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2008/04/photoshop_lr_...

However, 32-bit on Mac is not the same as 32-bit on Windows. 32-bit versions of Windows (excluding the very expensive "Data Center" or "Enterprise" editions) are limited to a maximum of about 3.5GB RAM (less on most hardware configurations, as little as 2.2GB on some). 32-bit Windows apps are limited to 2GB (yes, I know about the /3GB boot.ini switch, it's not really relevant and it's of very limited use). From a practical standpoint, 32-bit Windows is limited to 2GB/app and about 3GB total RAM. You need a 64-bit version of Windows to actually use 4GB or more and you need 64-bit applications to make use of more than 2GB/app.

32-bit Mac applications can use a full 4GB and the 32-bit kernel in Mac OS X (10.4 and later) can support up to 32GB of RAM. In short, a 5GB Mac with Mac OS X 10.5 and 32-bit versions of CS4 can use the same amount of RAM a 5GB PC running 64-bit Vista and 64-bit CS4 can.

Your 4GB machine has no real advantage over a 4GB Mac running CS4, and your 8GB machine has only a small advantage vs an 8GB Mac, and then only if you're working with really large images.


RE: Can someone tell me why I should be excited?
By encia on 8/27/2009 9:54:52 AM , Rating: 2
Dell M1530 (Santa Rosa Chipset) can support more than 4GB of RAM.

Refer to http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=2...

6GB of RAM was installed.


By gstrickler on 9/16/2009 6:41:42 PM , Rating: 2
I had a typo in my post. The Santa Rosa (965) chipset can support up to 8GB of RAM, however, the machine in question has the Napa (945) chipset, which is limited to 4GB RAM. As I said, it's a hardware limitation.


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