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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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Exchange Server 2007?
By jonmcc33 on 8/24/2009 7:39:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Snow Leopard is the only desktop operating system with built in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007...


Who in their right mind would run Exchange Server 2007 on anything but an Active Directory (Windows Server) environment? That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard from Apple yet. Apple...you continue to disappoint.

Bob: Email is down again!
Harry: Why is that?
Bob: Steve decided to power down his MacBook Pro and take it home again so there goes our Exchange Server!

Just rolling my eyes at the concept...honestly.




RE: Exchange Server 2007?
By InsaneScientist on 8/25/2009 12:26:59 AM , Rating: 2
You wouldn't... Actually, you can't.
Exchange 2007 requires a litany of Active Directory requirements:
The Schema Master must be running Windows Server 2003 SP1 or later
At least one global catalog server must be running Windows Server 2003 SP1 or later
Enterprise level Exchange installations require at least one domain controller running Windows Server 2003 SP1 or later - Standard installations require Windows Server 2000 or later
The domain functional level must be at the Windows 2000 native level or higher
etc, etc, etc...

There's a heck of a lot more, but I'm tired of typing, and you probably don't care what the requirements are (and if you do, they're well documented, so look them up). The only reason I know all this is that I'm neck deep in an Exchange 2003/2007 transition right now.

But, to answer the implied question (i.e. why would this matter) there are an unfortunate number of circumstances in the IT world where the boss or someone that you don't have control over has decided that they're going to get a Mac and it's your job as an IT person to make it work on the network.

Over the years, Apple has made strides in making this reasonable with the introduction of SMB access to windows shares and the addition and refinement of an Active Directory plugin built into OSX.

Now they're adding client support (I think the reason that you're confused is that you're thinking it's server support) for Microsoft Exchange, which is the principle enterprise e-mail system out there.

Now if only they'll add the ability to browse computers (or servers) in an Active Directory environment rather than having to connect directly to the shares, we might actually be at the point where Macs make an acceptable alternative in certain scenarios rather than simply a nightmare for systems administrators. :)


RE: Exchange Server 2007?
By Senju on 8/25/2009 12:37:56 AM , Rating: 2
Now if only they'll add the ability to browse computers (or servers) in an Active Directory environment rather than having to connect directly to the shares, we might actually be at the point where Macs make an acceptable alternative in certain scenarios rather than simply a nightmare for systems administrators. :)

I completely aggree. AD is a mess to setup and the browsing picks up server names like proxy servers. This is a big security risk so I really wish APPLE would address those issues. If you have SANS file sharing that holds user home directories, forget it!!! OS10 gets completely confused!!!
Apple always reminds that their products are not for the enterprise but they market them that way and the end-users get big expectations!!! For now, I just solve all this by installing VMWare with XP and go home!!! :D


RE: Exchange Server 2007?
By Senju on 8/25/2009 12:27:33 AM , Rating: 2
You sound very young! There are many ways to connect to Exchange using a MAPI client. Entourage via OS10.5 can already do this. However, it looks like native support for Exchange2007 is a welcome feature for the Enterprise. This is many for admins since the setup should be a lot easier. The MAC user can already have access to Exchange2003 but the single sign-on with AD is a mess. Anyway, there is a huge population of MAC users that demand access to Exchange.

So..."the stupidest thing I have ever heard" is really not that stupid! It is a blessing from a Exchange Admin point of view.


RE: Exchange Server 2007?
By ffakr on 8/25/2009 1:14:24 AM , Rating: 2
You don't understand.. or perhaps I'm not appreciating the humor.

10.6 supports Exchange, it doesn't run exchange.

Window's doesn't bundle Outlook but Apple's bundles Mail and iCal apps can interface with Exchange 2007 via MAPI.


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs














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