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Next-Gen Mac OS X 'Snow Leopard' Coming in 2009

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At its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) Monday, Apple released preliminary details of "Snow Leopard," the forthcoming successor to Mac OS X 10.5 ("Leopard") and the next major revision to the Mac operating system. The new OS will focus on performance, according to Apple, "rather than focusing primarily on new features."

"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 senior vice president of Software Engineering, in a statement released today. "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."

What does this mean? For one, Mac OS X is going through an optimization period, refining performance on multi-core processors through a new technology code-named "Grand Central" and taking greater advantage of GPUs through the adoption of OpenCL ("Open Computing Language"), which, as Apple described it, "lets any application tap into the vast gigaflops of GPU computing power previously available only to graphics applications." OpenCL is a proposed open standard.

Further, now Leopard will increase the practical software limit on system memory up to 16 TB.

Other changes revealed today include:

  • The introduction of QuickTime X, which will be optimized for "modern audio and video formats";
  • A new version of Safari, Apple's Web browser, which promises a 53 percent increase in JavaScript performance to enhance the experience of Web 2.0 applications; and
  • For the enterprise, native support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 in Mail, iCal, and Address Book.

Apple said Snow Leopard will ship in about a year. We'll bring you further details as they become available.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

A 21-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192 or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education). A selection of David Nagel's articles can be found on this site.


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