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