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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. 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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By Alexstarfire on 8/24/2009 8:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad you're brilliant logic brought you to the conclusion that you would sell a used laptop for less than you bought it new. Congrats on mastering econ 101.

Of course, if you're computer lasts longer than 2 years then it's not the same story. It's like assuming that everyone gets rid of a car in 3 years. Some don't, and shouldn't anyway, so getting a computer than lasts longer is probably cheaper. Depends on actual prices of course.

RE: Can someone tell me why I should be excited?
By Pirks on 8/24/2009 8:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
Learn to read. sebmel's point is a horrible deprecation of PC hardware that doesn't exist in Mac world. Buy a Gateway gamebook for $2000, you will sell it for $700 in a year, if you're lucky (that's what my Gateway P-173X eBay auction netted). Buy a MacBook Pro for $2000 and you will sell it for $1500 in a same timeframe. So you actually saving money by buying high-quality expensive goods. Ever heard saying "I'm too poor to buy cheap", Alex? ;-)

By Alexstarfire on 8/24/2009 9:14:32 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, no I haven't heard that saying before. But if you'd actually learn to read, like many people on here need to, you'd see that I said you shouldn't assume that someone has to get a new computer every so often. Yes, if you need a new computer every year or two a Mac might, and please understand that I'm suggesting that there is ONLY A POSSIBILITY, be the way to go. My point was that if you can keep your PC around longer, like 3 years or so vs 2 years or less for a Mac, that a PC is probably cheaper even in the long run.

And as I said before, depends on actual prices. It's quite hard to generalize what's going to be cheaper in the long run when actual prices matter so much. I've got my cheapo $350 Acer laptop that I'm going to keep until it no longer functions as it does everything I want already. Couldn't even dream of that kind of price for a Mac, let alone for the functions it has. It is sad that a little over a month after I got my laptop that Walmart started selling a $300 Compaq that is better at games than what I have. Ohh well, didn't get it to play games on anyway, but it sure doesn't hurt for when I'd like to.

By DEredita on 8/25/2009 12:07:00 AM , Rating: 3
I don't know who buys computers for resale value, but I buy mine to wring out every last mhz and every last mb of ram. I run my computers hard, and until they no longer work. I don't buy computers to have the latest fashion statement, and then sell them the very second they go out of style.

RE: Can someone tell me why I should be excited?
By sebmel on 8/24/2009 8:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
DEredita expressed disappointment at the amount of RAM the MacBook he/she has supports. The current MacBook supports 6GB (double the level of DEredita's), and the MacBook Pros support 8GB. I simply offered a suggestion as to how DEredita could achieve the spec he/she needs economically.

Actually anyone who uses Macs should learn to use the low depreciation, the Higher Education discount, and the 'Back to School' offers to their advantage. If any of the Macs serve your needs, bought in that way they turn out to be very cheap.

"Of course, if you're computer lasts longer than 2 years then it's not the same story."

If you keep a computer for two years you will suffer two years of depreciation and have earned only one discount... yes, that's obviously correct. But why would you do that when you could upgrade your entire system and earn a second discount which paid for the upgrade?

If there's an annual discount available that more or less matches your computer's depreciation why wouldn't you use it to upgrade while keeping your costs just at the capital outlay?

I'm sure some people would have reasons, like travel, which would prevent them... but many could, and should do so. If PCs are available with discounts then do the same thing... just check if the depreciation isn't significantly greater than the discount... because, obviously, if the depreciation is great you're better off getting some mileage out of the computer and trying buy at the lowest initial cost.

In my experience it tends to be greater for PCs (which makes the method I suggested unfeasible) and just about break even for Macs (given what discounts Apple offers). Bear in mind that Apple's Higher Education discounts are more generous than the standard High School discount shown on the Education Apple store. Call and say you're in University... it's usually 12%.

By Alexstarfire on 8/24/2009 9:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but how can a discount pay for an upgrade? If you could sell your computer for the same price as the new/better one you are purchasing then that's conceivable, but that's not what you are saying. You're simply saying that you'd end up paying less for an upgrade. But if an upgrade isn't necessary then why get it at all? Which is the point I'm trying to make.

Also, getting a student discount isn't going to help if you're not a student, which is a very small portion of the population. If you can get the discount that's great, but it shouldn't be factored in if not everyone can get the discount. Most people who are going to be buying a laptop every year or two certainly aren't going to be students. They will certainly have no need for it, and probably not the funds for it either.

By gstrickler on 8/25/2009 2:45:35 AM , Rating: 2
"There are none so blind as those who will not see."

If you can buy at a significant discount (not everyone can) and the item has high residual value when sold used, you can use that ability to buy at a discount to reduce (or in some cases eliminate) your cost of ownership.

For example, let's assume you can buy a machine at a 12% discount from retail. Further, because of it's high residual value, assume that machine will typically sell for about 75% of retail when it's used and 1 year old. That means you can buy now at 88% of retail, use it for a year, and sell at 75% of retail. Your net cost of ownership for 1 year is 13% of retail. If you're talking about a $2000 MacBook Pro, 13% of $2000 is $260. $260/year for a full featured notebook is pretty good by any measure.

In practice, it's not usually quite that cheap because to maintain the residual value, you'll probably need 3 years of AppleCare on the machine. In many cases, selling at 15-18 months old might work better. Despite that, I've actually made money on two of the Macs I've owned. I bought them at a notable discount, used them for 3-12 months and sold them for more (yes more) than I paid for them. The trick is buying a good machine in the first place and knowing when to sell it (and buy a new machine). The bottom line is that if you have access to purchasing items at a significant discount and those items have a high residual resale value, you can use those items for low cost, possibly even no cost (except for the depreciation of the currency). In a few cases, you might even make money on the deal.

It's rather like leasing a car. If you lease a car with a high residual value, your lease payments can be surprisingly low even on an "expensive" car. Lease a car with a lower residual value and your lease payments can be higher, even if the car is cheaper. Like auto leasing, this method of buying computers is not for everyone, but for some people it's very cost effective, and you always get to use the newest equipment.

I don't generally employ that method, I tend to keep computers for 3+ years, but there have been exceptions as noted above, so I know that it can work.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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