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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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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.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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