Apple previews 'Snow Leopard' the next version of Mac OS X - streamlined, improved performance, will set new standard for quality and innovation

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By: switchtoamac at: 12:14 PM on June 10, 2008 | Comments (0)
At WWDC 2008, Apple provided developers with a preview of 'Snow Leopard', the next major version of the Mac OS X operating system. Instead of focusing on new features, Apple states that Snow Leopard will enhance the performance of OS X, set a new standard for quality and lay the foundation for future OS X innovation.  Snow Leopard "dramatically reduces the footprint of Mac OS X" thus, making it more efficient.

Comments from Apple’s Sr. VP of Software Engineering Bertrand Serlet

“We have delivered more than a thousand new features to OS X in just seven years and Snow Leopard lays the foundation for thousands more,”. “In our continued effort to deliver the best user experience, we hit the pause button on new features to focus on perfecting the world’s most advanced operating system.”

Comments from Apple CEO Steve Jobs
In story published by the New York Times Apple CEO has indicated that Apple has made a "parallel-programming breakthrough".  Here are some noteworthy comments from Jobs:

  • “We’ve added over a thousand features to Mac OS X in the last five years,” he said Monday in an interview after his presentation. “We’re going to hit the pause button on new features.”
  • “The way the processor industry is going is to add more and more cores, but nobody knows how to program those things,” he said. “I mean, two, yeah; four, not really; eight, forget it.”
  • “Basically it lets you use graphics processors to do computation,” he said. “It’s way beyond what Nvidia or anyone else has, and it’s really simple.”

Key Features

  • Multicore
  • OpenCL
  • 64-bit
  • Media and Internet
  • Microsoft Exchange Support

Snow Leopard delivers unrivaled support for multi-core processors with a new technology code-named “Grand Central,” making it easy for developers to create programs that take full advantage of the power of multi-core Macs.  With the movement towards more cores and not processor speed, Apple is focused on optimizing Mac OS X by making all of the operating system multicore aware.

OpenCl and 64-bit
Snow Leopard further extends support for modern hardware with Open Computing Language (OpenCL), which lets any application tap into the vast gigaflops of GPU computing power previously available only to graphics applications. OpenCL is based on the C programming language and has been proposed as an open standard. Furthering OS X’s lead in 64-bit technology, Snow Leopard raises the software limit on system memory up to a theoretical 16TB of RAM (500 times more than is possible today).  This improves performance dramatically because applications will be able to keep more data in RAM instead of on slower hard drives.

Media and Internet
Using media technology pioneered in OS X iPhone, Snow Leopard introduces QuickTime X, which optimizes support for modern audio and video formats resulting in extremely efficient media playback. Snow Leopard also includes Safari with faster JavaScript implementation allowing Web 2.0 applications feel more responsive.

Microsoft Exchange Support
For the first time, OS X includes native support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 in OS X applications Mail, iCal and Address Book, making it even easier to integrate Macs into organizations of any size.

Apple posts Snow Leopard pages

Apple has posted pages for Mac OS X Snow Leopard for both client and server versions.  Apple indicates that Snow Leopard will be available in "about a year".

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