updated 01:05 pm EDT, Mon June 8, 2009
Snow Leopard introduced
Apple on Monday at the WWDC event launched the latest revision of its operating system, Mac OS X Snow Leopard. The software offers a number of refinements and improvements over 10.5 including faster speed, more efficient use of system resources, and 64-bit optimizations. Support for Exchange has been added, while installation is claimed to be 45-percent faster. The OS footprint has been cut in half, now taking up 6GB of storage due to file compression.
Preview is also faster, taking half the time to open JPEG files, while AI infers the structure of text selection in PDF files. The trackpad now supports drawing Chinese characters, confirming earlier leaks. Stacks are now scrollable and allow users to move into subfolders.
Users can magnify icons in real-time, using a new control in the icon view, while Expose can be used instead of shortcuts in the dock. Finder windows also use Expose, enabling functions such as file drag-and-drop directly to Mail.
Bertrand Serlet notes that all major Snow Leopard apps are now 64-bit. The operating system is the "final stage" for 64-bit code, designed to take advantage of increased memory capacity. The company has also introduced Grand Central Dispatch, a set of low- and high-level libraries optimized for multiple processor cores. Apps, when idle, will release threads for use by other processes.
OpenCL (Open Compute Language) support represents another major feature in the updated OS. The standard is based on C and enables video cards to be used for a variety additional tasks such as scientific or physics calculations.
Exchange support is instantaneous, providing immediate access through automatic discovery. iCal, Address Book and Mail will work with Exchange, along with ToDos and Data Detectors. Users can create meetings by dragging contacts from Address Book to iCal and picking a time slot. Availability of participants and conference rooms is processed automatically for the next available time.
Mac OS X Snow Leopard requires an Intel-based Mac and is expected to ship sometime in September. Leopard owners will be able to upgrade for $29, while a family pack will only cost $49. A developer preview will be available today.