Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 95 E300
Location: Inside my head
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Snow Leopard preview at WWDC
Among the news and announcements at the WWDC Keynote this morning, Apple previewed the next iteration of Mac OS X Leopard. Snow Leopard, as Mac OS X 10.6 is known, packs a lot of new features and is slated for release in September, though no hard dates were announced during the Keynote.
The goal of Snow Leopard, according to Apple, was not to reinvent Mac OS X, but to refine, simplify, and speed up the overall experience. During the first public look at the latest version of Mac OS X 10.6 this morning, we got to check out some of those changes.
During the Keynote, Apple's Bertrand Serlet outlined new features in Snow Leopard. For coverage of Safari 4 and QuickTime 10 features, read this blog post from Seth Rosenblatt.
In addition to QuickTime and Safari improvements, Serlet hit upon several other enhancements in the latest Mac OS X. Using slim and efficient coding, Apple managed to decrease the install time of the operating system by 45 percent. As an unexpected perk, the OS takes up six fewer GB than before, which will mean a significant storage boost for current Leopard users.
Changes to Leopard include small refinements that make it even easier to use. We already liked the convenience of Expose to quickly find what we're working on when there are a lot of windows open on the desktop. But with Snow Leopard, an added interface enhancement lets you click and hold on a Dock icon to bring up all the windows associated with the application. You also can drag an item from one program, use the Dock access to Expose, and quickly move files where you want them--like grabbing an image to send in an e-mail, for example. Usability refinements like these seem small, but will make using a Mac an even more seamless experience.
Stacks will also see an upgrade, including the ability to open and explore folders within the stacks window--the current version opened the Finder when a folder was clicked. During this part of the presentation, Serlet also showed how Snow Leopard can now preview images, videos, and PowerPoint presentations, even if you don't have PowerPoint installed on your Mac.
Support for Microsoft Exchange is a feature many users have been waiting for (a very long time), and with Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Exchange support is finally here. Simply add an account to Mail, choose Exchange, and your Mac will autodetect your Exchange information from your address book, or you can enter the information manually. From there, you will be able to use Exchange's global list of addresses and drag and drop contacts into iCal to easily schedule meetings. Smart technology surrounding meeting locations enables your Mac to discover time conflicts and change the meeting time and location to work for everyone.
With Snow Leopard, Apple has made all of the Mac's core applications take advantage of the 64-bit architecture. This means faster applications, faster loading times, and smoother overall performance. Snow Leopard further extends support for most hardware with Open Computing Language (OpenCL), which lets any application tap into the GPU computing power previously available only to graphics applications. It also improved threading across multiple processors using what it calls a grand central dispatch to control threads. These tweaks should help improve overall performance and we'll be able to determine more about the efficiency and speed of Snow Leopard when it comes out in September.
Along with the idea of improving on an already great concept, it seems Apple has priced Snow Leopard as an upgrade rather than a complete OS replacement. Current Leopard users will only need to pay $29 to upgrade to Snow Leopard. The family pack, which allows you to install the new OS on five computers in your home, will cost $49. Though Apple didn't announce a specific date for release, we already had some idea it would launch in September. Leave it to Apple to hold on to one more thing for us to start rumors about as we wait for the upgrade.
The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and that’s what I intend to reverse.
~ Senator Barack H. Obama