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Snow Leopard is out of the bag



For the ultra low price of $29 (for existing Leopard users), Apple gave a deeper look into the upcoming Snow Leopard release -- slated for some time in September.

"We've built on the success of Leopard and created an even better experience for our users from installation to shutdown," said Bertrand Serlet, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "Apple engineers have made hundreds of improvements so with Snow Leopard your system is going to feel faster, more responsive and even more reliable than before."

Here's more highlights of the Snow Leopard release...
  • Quicktime 10: Has a post of its own, but will sport a redesign and the ability to integrate with MobileMe, YouTube and more. There's also word that the Pro version of this application will be dropped.
  • Safari 4: Available now. Initial reports say that the tab bar has dropped back below the address bar. It too will be getting its own post.
  • Exposé integration: Exposé is now embedded in the Dock. Click and hold on the application, and all the documents you're working on within that app will be exposed so you can pick one. Nice bonus for Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign etc. users. Stacks will also now be scrollable and can navigate through the folders (and this wasn't in Leopard, why?)
  • Tweaks to Finder, including faster Quick Look and Spotlight. This will be beneficial for the later-mentioned Microsoft Exchange support. All system applications (Finder, Mail, iCal, iChat, Safari) are 64-bit, and will also remain compatible with 32-bit applications
  • Grand Central Dispatch: Takes advantage of multicore processors through a process called threading. OpenCL for graphics
  • Microsoft Exchange support built into Mail, Address Book and iCal. Exchange data can also be accessed via Spotlight and Quick Look.
  • A slimmer OS: You'll reclaim 6GB of your hard drive with Snow Leopard, and it installs faster to boot.
  • Multi-Touch trackpad integrated with VoiceOver so different parts of the desktop/open window are heard when moving a finger around the trackpad. Also has built-in support for wireless Bluetooth braille devices. You can also draw draw Chinese (kanji) characters on the trackpad. What I'm curious to know is if you can also draw Japanese hirigana/katakana on it as well.
  • 640x480 video resolution for iChat and iChat Theater. Only 300Kbps bandwidth required as opposed to the current 900Kbps. If iChat fails to make a connection to another user for a video chat, it will reroute the request through the AIM relay server.
  • Enhances to PDF text selection in Preview. The need for Adobe Acrobat grows dimmer by the day ...
  • Snow Leopard + Airport Extreme/Time Capsule = The ability to share files over a network while your computer is asleep.
As Erica mentioned in her previous post, Snow Leopard will be available at some point in September for $29USD for upgrades from Leopard, $49 for a Family Pack while Tiger users can get a Mac Box Set with Snow Leopard, iWork '09 and iLife '09 for $169. A Family Pack of that set will be available for $229. In addition, anyone who purchases a Mac with OS X 10.5 on it between June 8 and December 26 can upgrade to Snow Leopard for $9.95.

Snow Leopard requires at least 1GB of RAM, 5GB of available hard disk space and -- in a day long dreaded by PowerPC users -- is only available for Intel processors.

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