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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: Ordered
By Pirks on 8/25/2009 1:26:33 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
The High End iMac ships with a Radeon 4850. That's a pretty high end video card
Well, looks like telling these obvious things to Alex and Omni is a waste of time. The boys just like to bash Apple, that's all. Let'em play :)


RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 8/25/2009 3:59:13 AM , Rating: 2
Ahhh, I'm quite sorry for getting that information wrong. I went and looked on the Apple website before posting but missed it. I checked several computers to see if I could configure it with a better video card, but I couldn't. I therefore assumed, which I suppose I shouldn't have, that none of them could be configured with a better video card. Still, the cheapest computer with that card would cost you $2000 from what I'm looking at, the 24-inch 2.93 Ghz iMac. I find it atrocious that it's a $200 upgrade to get a card that can be had for half that price for a PC. And mind you that's full price, not just for an upgrade.

Unlike Pirks, I can admit when I've made a mistake. With this new information I can say that what Omni said is false, but for all intents is quite true. You have to pay and arm and a leg to get a decent video card for a Mac. Though, I'd be interested to know just what kind of performance boost you'd get out of these video cards with OpenCL.


RE: Ordered
By MrBlastman on 8/25/2009 11:00:34 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget to mention the fact that the 24-inch iMac's response time for the screen is ~14 ms.

Far too slow to do any serious hardcore gaming. With a screen that slow you'll be seriously hindered in your playing ability.

A 5 ms screen for me is even way too slow, 2 ms is acceptable but nothing beats the sub 1 ms CRT's. So really, what is the point of having a fancy graphics adapter on a MAC if their displays are slow as heck?


RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 8/25/2009 2:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
Who cares about games on a Mac? We all know that Mac OS is horrible for games and that no person in their right mind buys a Mac for gaming.


RE: Ordered
By MrBlastman on 8/25/2009 2:07:48 PM , Rating: 2
Well, you're right. :) But, to me, I only see a point in fancy high-speed graphics hardware for gaming. That is really the only point my desktop computer serves for at home. My laptop and office computers are for work.

The thing is--do Mac users know the Mac OS is horrible for gaming? Probably not. Apple's website says the 24 incher is good for gaming. We all know i-Fans follow the word of Jobs.


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay














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