Many new features coming in Apple’s ‘no new features’ Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

“Apple is marketing the idea of there being “no new features” for Snow Leopard and instead promising an overall improvement in how Mac OS X works under the hood, thanks to a diligent code optimization and refactoring cycle discussed in the previous article. At the same time, there are plenty of significant new features coming in Snow Leopard to look forward to. Here are ten big new features (plus a few minor ones) that you probably haven’t heard much about from anywhere else,” Daniel Eran Dilger writes for RoughlyDrafted.

Dilger looks at many new fetaures and techinologies, including:
• LLVM (Low Level Virtual Machine)
• CUPS 1.4 (Common Unix Printing System)
• ZFS support
• QuickTime X
• Grand Central
• OpenCL
• Multi-Touch™ support
• Resolution Independence
• Code optimization

Full article here.


  1. Anyone who has used OS X from day 1 should remember how each new OS release has generally increased system responsiveness whilst also providing new features.

    Optimization of the code is a big deal and will further increase the lead that Apple have over M$ and windows.

    The average user may not upgrade to Snow Leopard. However all new machines will have it installed and that’s the major way upgrades are brought into the fold.

  2. I’m not paying for improved system performance or stability! Smells like M$!! These are things that should have been done BEFORE 10.5 was released initially. What’s next, $1.99 patches?! I LOVE APPLE but this is building up to a huge disappointment!

  3. This all sounds great, but how do we get Apple to change their mind and make Snow Leopard available for those of us with the Power PC chips. I got mine just before they announced the switch to Intel and I feel like I have been left out in the cold with out any jacket. These machines aren’t that old to be left by the way side.

  4. Skabeetle:

    You are quite short-sighted and obtuse. 10.6 is not a point release. It’s not a bundle of patches. It’s a complete overhaul to squeeze out every single ounce of power from your system.

    Smells like Microsoft? Are you joking? They never promised anything like this before. Apple has the vision and foresight to refine their work.

    “I’m not paying for improved system performance or stability!” That comment alone shows up many brain cells you rub together… and what a raving lunatic you are… Go buy a Windows PC!

  5. Since this is being optimized to run on Intel machines,and as PreDrag said

    “These new features seem to be geared to significantly improving the performance. That will probably show most prominently on lower-powered machines, as MacBooks, Airs and Minis. I’d say, these features will probably benefit the general user the most.”

    Does anyone think this may be the 1st Mac OS X licensed to PC OEM’s?

  6. Above all, I’d like to see Airport start functioning properly again.

    I get more Airport-related issues than anything, and before Leopard, I never had any.

    I work at a Honda dealership that provides free wi-fi to customers. Several of us here have Mac laptops, and many of our customers that come in do too, and not one of them that has Leapord can connect to our wi-fi router! The system asks for a password, even when there isn’t one set!

    I’ve posted this on Apple’s own message boards, as well as various others, and I’ve seen similar complaints are a common trend, but I have yet to find a fix. We called Apple on the issue, but they insist that it isn’t on their end. Funny though, isn’t it, that the very same laptop will connect using Windows, but not Mac OS X?

  7. Good catch, my man! You wrote to say:

    “New features that will help the hard core, not the general user.”

    “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.”

    “That’s generally pretty hard core stuff.”

    There’s another way to speculate about this: reducing the footprint of OS X doesn’t just help Mac users. It could also mean that a smaller system might help extend its capabilities for products other than the Mac. Hmm…I wonder if that could extend to certain handheld devices?

    While Apple is not talking up bold new features, it could be these “boring” developments that allow for third parties to develop hardware and software products that could amaze us. The big news is that OS X Snow Leopard would be an enabling system for some interesting new advances we can’t currently imagine. Or so we can hope. Based on what Ampar said in his/her quote above, it’s worth speculating about this.

    It’s just like Apple to underpromise and overdeliver. Perhaps this is a coy move on Apple’s part. And it stands in stark contrast to all the over-hyped, broken promises that a certain competitor based in the Pacific Northwest once shouted out about a highly criticized operating system of their own.

    The future could be more interesting than we can imagine.

  8. I write this as someone who hasn’t done any hardcore development, but it strikes me that there is a large general population who are getting all bent out of shape without really knowing why.

    And – with the best will in the world – that’s why WWDC protects a lot of this stuff with NDAs and keeps it out of general circulation.

    My take on Snow Leopard is that it is almost the OS XI rather than OS X 10.6 and I have some rationale which can back that up.

    Many years ago, I did some research on an outfit called Kendall Square Research who were working at the cutting edge of coherent cache: non-uniform memory access (cc:Numa) technology: their raison d’être was that, as symmetric multi-processing went beyond 8 processors or so, it became exponentially more difficult for programmers to manage cache memory.

    Well, in the world of Apple, Nehalem represents the boundary between 8 cores or processors (the present) and the world of 16 cores or more (the future). Nehalem will be superseded by a process shrink (Westmere) prior to being replaced by Sandy Bridge which will have 32 cores organised, so I’ve read, in 8 groups of 4 cores.

    In this brave new world, Apple has to find an elegant method for developers to make their applications work on anything from a dual-core CoreDuo iMac through a dual Sandy Bridge Xserve.

    They also have to find a way which abstracts the management of processors, cores and cache memory so that modern, highly-threaded applications (and indeed the operating system and its components) utilise the available resources in the most efficient way possible.

    It strikes me that much of Snow Leopard, particularly Grand Central and OpenCL, is effectively aimed at the new truly multicore future. Given that PowerPC only ever achieved multicore or multiway capability on a handful of G5 systems, it makes absolutely no commercial or technical sense to divert developer resources to address what could be best described as a niche audience, not to mention the resources that would be necessary to maintain the damn thing going forward as each software update has to be developed.

    In one word: no, no, no! OK, that’s one word repeated three times, but the basic principle is sound.

    BTW, I write this as someone who will have to finally dispose of both his G5 Power Mac and 1.67 PowerBook and enter the Intel future.

  9. @Viktor,
    If software update isn’t finding your apps (like iMovie), it means either you renamed them (even just adding a number after the name will do it), put them inside a folder that is in the Applications folder, or you got rid of the package receipts that reside in one of your libraries.

    Another place to look at for troubleshooting is the console log. Console is an app in the utilities folder that lets you look at log files. When you get a crash, look at the most recent entries in the user log – this can give you a hint sometimes as to what is going wrong. Also, is English (American) the default language on your Mac? Sometimes these problems are localization specific.

  10. Translated here for the newb’s to Mac…
    Dilger looks at many new fetaures and techinologies, including:
    • LLVM (Low Level Virtual Machine) – a guy named yowsa who lives inside your mac working to keep it running.

    • CUPS 1.4 (about a C I think.)

    • ZFS support (german…. “ze frikking server!”

    • QuickTime X – It finally catches up to OSX

    • Grand Central – A new game that recreats the experience of going to a retail apple store.

    • OpenCL – x rated, only for MDN readers

    • Multi-Touch™ support – Again, x rated, only for long time MDN users.

    • Resolution Independence – A way to resolve issues without having the same old mac vs pc, or lib vs neocon arguments.

    • Code optimization – They finally take out all of the PPC crapware left in osx. Your computer doubles in speed instantaneously.

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