Apple previews Mac OS X Snow Leopard with QuickTime X

Apple today previewed Mac OS X Snow Leopard, which builds on the incredible success of OS X Leopard and is the next major version of the world’s most advanced operating system. Rather than focusing primarily on new features, 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 is optimized for multi-core processors, taps into the vast computing power of graphic processing units (GPUs), enables breakthrough amounts of RAM and features a new, modern media platform with QuickTime(R) X. Snow Leopard includes out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 and is scheduled to ship in about a year.

“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,” said Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “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.”

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. 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.

Using media technology pioneered in OS X iPhone(TM), 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(R) with the fastest implementation of JavaScript ever, increasing performance by 53 percent, making Web 2.0 applications feel more responsive.*

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

*Performance will vary based on system configuration, network connection and other factors. Benchmark based on the SunSpider JavaScript Performance test on an iMac(R) 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system running Mac OS X Snow Leopard, with 2GB of RAM.

Source: Apple Inc.

87 Comments

  1. This will lay the groundwork for full multitouch using the multi core macs that will be standard with 4 GB of RAM in a few years. Then OS X 10.7 will come out before Windows 7 and it will be years ahead of windows 7. They are so far ahead, they can do what MSFT should have done when they had a big and growing OS lead. Apple won’t let it get as bloated as Windows has become…

  2. I like this strategy! I feel like 10.5 has plenty of features, I doubt I use 25% of its available feature set. It’s time to go under the hood and optimize performance. Utilizing the GPU for general purpose computing and fully exploiting multiple cores will be a lot of work, but will pay off in the end for Apple and it customers.

    If Apple can get OS X performance on par with Linux, it would probably be the end of Linux. (Windows is already toast!)

  3. “goal of Snow Leopard will be to enhance the performance of OS X, set a new standard for quality and lay the foundation for future OS X innovation.”

    Microsoft calls that a “Service Pack”. Presumably Snow Job Leopard will be free?

  4. #1. they didn’t SAY they were dropping the PPC
    #2. in about a year … June, not January

    OK, the former lends a (likely) false sense of security for my G5. The latter gives me another six months to save up for an Intel-based replacement. It sounds like Jobs & Co. are taking a well-deserved breather to get a lot of things “fixed”. A chance they might have had to pass by, had Vista not sucked quite so amazingly.

  5. So about the time OS X is kicking butt on 64 bit processors, Windows 7 will still be stuck with separate 32 and 64 bit versions.

    And enough with the “Service Pack” crap. Microsoft Service Packs are bug fixes. Snow Leopard is the next version of OS X.

    P.S. You don’t have to upgrade.

  6. “Snow Leopard is the next version of OS X.”

    Which apparently does nothing more than fix some bugs and tune some existing code.

    And Microsoft service packs add about the same amount of functionality as a full OS X release, so this isn’t even a service pack. it’s more like some small patches on the OS, fixing everything that should have not been broken in the original Snow Job Leopard.

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