Thursday, August 27, 2009

Apple OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Apple's upcoming release of its new operating system, code-named Snow Leopard, is arguably the most important advancement since the initial version of OS X. This new OS is a full 64-bit operating system and completes the Apple migration from Power PC chips to an Intel architecture. What does this mean for the average user? First, it won't run on any Apple with a Power PC processor like the G5, G4, and G3. Secondly, as a full 64-bit system, users should see speed increases with compatible applications of 10-60%, depending on other factors such as installed RAM and video specifications. Snow Leopard's improvements and additions are mostly "under the hood", so users will generally see little cosmetic changes and few new applications. However, don't let this fool you as there is a LOT under that hood. Some of the major improvements include:
  • Open CL allows the use of the graphics CPU for general purpose tasks
  • Quicktime X
  • Improved Accessibility and additional VoiceOver functions
  • Native Microsoft Exchange support in Mail, iCal, Address Book - no longer requiring MS Entourage
  • Malware checks and protection
  • Improvements to the Dock
  • A rewritten Finder with expanded capabilities
  • Improvements to Exposé
  • Smart eject for removable media and storage devices
  • Better substitution
  • Enhanced functions in Preview
  • New speed enhancements to Time Machine
  • Better reliability and recovery time to Sleep and Wake Up
  • 7 GB less space needed compared to Leopard
  • iChat gains higher resolution
  • Printer driver updates available through software update automatically
  • More efficient file sharing
Apple has priced this cat to move. At an upgrade price of only $29 for a single user or $49 for a Family Pack covering up to 5 users , there is little reason to not upgrade. However, you must already be running OS 10.5, known as Leopard, to qualify for the special upgrade pricing. If you don't have OS X 10.5, you need to purchase the box set, which will also include the updates to iLife 09 and iWork 09. Walt Mossberg, of the Wall Street Journal, has uncovered that users with OS X 10.4 Tiger can use the $29 upgrade on their systems and this has since been confirmed by Brian X Chen of Wired. However, while this may technically work, you will be in violation Apple's End User Agreement. Before you run out, buy the upgrade, then slip the DVD into your system for the install, read over what you need to prepare before performing the upgrade. Lifehacker has an excellent piece on what is needed, as does ComputerWorld. These purchases can be made at your local Apple store or from Amazon using these links: Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard Mac Box Set – (with Snow Leopard) Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User)

No comments:

Post a Comment