updated 08:55 am EDT, Mon August 24, 2009
Snow Leopard on Aug. 28
Validating rumors, Apple has formally announced that Mac OS X Snow Leopard will ship on August 28th, just ahead of its predicted September launch date. The software is a $29 upgrade for individual Leopard owners, or a $49 upgrade for people needing a five-license family pack. It can also be had with a new Mac computer, or as a part of the Mac Box Set, which bundles the latest versions of iLife and iWork. Single-user and family pack versions of the Box Set cost $169 and $229, respectively.
The OS introduces several underlying architecture changes, for instance removing PowerPC support, while updating all major applications to 64-bit code. Grand Central Dispatch is said to enable better use of multi-core processors, while OpenCL support allows video cards to speed up tasks outside of graphics. Protocol support also been expanded to encompass Microsoft Exchange, allowing access to the contact and calendar info through Mail, iCal and Address Book.
Snow Leopard further bundles Safari 4, and QuickTime X, which sports a minimalist interface along with improved video and decoding playback through support for GPU acceleration. The latter app can also handle HTTP video streaming, as in Safari. Some general changes in the Mac OS include faster wake and shutdown times, and tweaks to Expose and stacks, which change their operation and improve flexibility.
The software requires an Intel Mac with 1GB of RAM, 5GB of hard drive space and a DVD drive.