Apple to focus on performance, core technologies in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Apple has posted information on the company’s website regarding Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and Mac OS X 10.6 Server Snow Leopard.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: Since 2001, Mac OS X has delivered more than a thousand innovative new features. With Snow Leopard, the next major version of the world’s most advanced operating system, Mac OS X changes more than its spots, it changes focus. Taking a break from adding new features, Snow Leopard — scheduled to ship in about a year — builds on Leopard’s enormous innovations by delivering a new generation of core software technologies that will streamline Mac OS X, enhance its performance, and set new standards for quality. Snow Leopard dramatically reduces the footprint of Mac OS X, making it even more efficient for users, and giving them back valuable hard drive space for their music and photos.

• 64-bit: To accommodate the enormous amounts of memory being added to advanced hardware, Snow Leopard extends the 64-bit technology in Mac OS X to support breakthrough amounts of RAM — up to a theoretical 16TB, or 500 times more than what is possible today. More RAM makes applications run faster, because more of their data can be kept in the very fast physical RAM instead of on the much slower hard disk.

• Multicore: “Grand Central,” a new set of technologies built into Snow Leopard, brings unrivaled support for multicore systems to Mac OS X. More cores, not faster clock speeds, drive performance increases in today’s processors. Grand Central takes full advantage by making all of Mac OS X multicore aware and optimizing it for allocating tasks across multiple cores and processors. Grand Central also makes it much easier for developers to create programs that squeeze every last drop of power from multicore systems.

• OpenCL: Another powerful Snow Leopard technology, OpenCL (Open Computing Language), makes it possible for developers to efficiently tap the vast gigaflops of computing power currently locked up in the graphics processing unit (GPU). With GPUs approaching processing speeds of a trillion operations per second, they’re capable of considerably more than just drawing pictures. OpenCL takes that power and redirects it for general-purpose computing.

• Media and Internet: Using media technology pioneered in OS X iPhone, Snow Leopard introduces QuickTime X, a streamlined, next-generation platform that advances modern media and Internet standards. QuickTime X features optimized support for modern codecs and more efficient media playback, making it ideal for any application that needs to play media content. Because Snow Leopard delivers the fastest implementation of JavaScript to date, web applications are more responsive. Safari runs JavaScript up to 53 percent faster with Snow Leopard.

Microsoft Exchange Support Snow Leopard includes out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 built into Mail, Address Book, and iCal. Mac OS X uses the Exchange Web Services protocol to provide access to Exchange Server 2007. Because Exchange is supported on your Mac and iPhone, you’ll be able to use them anywhere with full access to your email, contacts, and calendar.

Mac OS X 10.6 Server Snow Leopard: Mac OS X Server, the world’s easiest-to-use server operating system, combines an intuitively simple interface with a rock-solid UNIX foundation to allow even nontechnical individuals to set up and manage a server. Since it was first released, Mac OS X Server has delivered hundreds of new features and innovations, including Open Directory, iCal Server, Podcast Producer, Wiki Server, NetBoot, NetInstall, and Xgrid. Snow Leopard Server, the next generation of Mac OS X Server, delivers new core software technologies and services designed to better connect your business, unleash the power of modern hardware, and lay the foundation for a new wave of innovations.

ZFS: For business-critical server deployments, Snow Leopard Server adds read and write support for the high-performance, 128-bit ZFS file system, which includes advanced features such as storage pooling, data redundancy, automatic error correction, dynamic volume expansion, and snapshots.

More info about Mac OS X 10.6 Server Snow Leopard here.

Source: Apple Inc.


  1. Actually, this marks the perfect way to transition away from PowerPC, by hooking onto processor architectures unique to Intel’s chips. As a Powermac G5 owner, I’m a little saddened, but I can’t really expect much from the OS, given its “core” duty.

  2. Intel only would make sense.

    Much easier to revamp the core of OSX to one system then 2. It’s kind of like when they eventually dropped OS9 support in their hardware.

    It actually doesn’t make sense to hold OSX down by supporting the power PC.

    If the increases in speed and stability are what they claim they will be then Snow Leopard will turn out to be a major turning point for OSX. It sounds like it will be the start of a major leap in power when combined with future hardware and software.

  3. The performance part sounds good. I had so Force quit Safari three times before it would work, this morning.

    Leopard still works well in general, but there are a few bugs that never seemed to be fixed.

    I still love my Mac though ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  4. This is a great move on Apple’s part. Though it may turn out to be the least popular version of OS X (or at least the one that a lot of people skip over), it will pay absolutely huge dividends in the future, especially when you think about how slow and unoptimized Windows will be in comparison. Grand Central may be one of the biggest developments in years. We now have computers with 2, 4, 8+ cores, but the developers have no clue how to use them, so tasks end up getting split unevenly, placing most of the burden on one core, and giving hardly anything to the other. Grand Central alone makes Snow Leopard worth the purchase for anyone with a multi-core machine. I never thought I’d be so excited about an OS with no new features, but the potential that Snow Leopard will open up is astounding.

  5. And here’s hoping Apple decides to make it a cheaper upgrade. Ironically, they will probably do more work on Snow Leopard than on any other version (except the original, of course), but consumers won’t be able to see what they’ve done, so they won’t be willing to pay the standard $129 to upgrade.

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