Mac OS X 10.6: First Impressions of Snow Leopard as Announced so Far
When Apple announced they were releasing a new version of the Mac OS so soon after the initial release, I nearly threw a hammer through the dashboard. Â Why so soon? Â We were just getting Mac OS X 10.5 training down, and now they have 10.6 coming as soon as January? Â That's Crazy!Â But then, when I heard about the goal of 10.6, it made a bit more sense. Â So what is that goal?
- Streamline the OS. Â They want to streamline Mac OS X so that it runs more efficiently, particularly when it comes to power consumption. Â Apple is no fool: Â They know that energy prices are going up, and more people are moving to notebooks. Â They also know that notebook owners are away from an outlet longer these days. Â So, battery life needs to be improved. Â The OS will be optimized for this event. Â
- OpenCL Processing Power: Â All that processing power in the GPU that can't be accessed, Â all going to waste! Â Why not use it as another processor in the machine? Â The processing speed goes up overall on the machine while decreasing the need for faster (and more power-intensive) processors. Â I'm not fully aware of what OpenCL can do, but from the whitepapers on the topic, it looks promising. Â
- Security: Â Apple has been plagued with some security news lately, mostly due to Safari's vulnerabilities. Â That will be focused on within this release, making Mac OS X more secure as a result. Â I'm interested to see the results when they are done.
- Exchange Integration: Â Finally! Â Mac is going to integrate Exchange into iCal and AddressBook (or Directory, either of which will be fine). Â That means users can finally stop having to use that train-wreck, er, I mean program called Entourage to work with their Exchange calendars. Â I'd also like to see some Exchange plugins for Calendar Server, allowing integration and publishing from the Server side of things. Â
There are a couple of other features that are slated to come to Snow Leopard, but nothing major. Â No new features like Spaces or Dashboard, which make the next upgrade necessary. Â So why will people move to Snow Leopard after having purchased Leopard a little over a year ago? Â Because of the Exchange features. Â That is the Spaces of Leopard, and the Dashboard of Tiger. Â It's the killer app that everyone will want, because they need to work in an Exchange environment. Â
Now, the question is whether or not the upgrade will be free to all Leopard owners, or a paid upgrade. Â Well, that's hard to say. Â Traditionally all major updates (10.3 to 10.4 and so on) have been paid updates. Â But then they didn't come out so soon after the last OS was released. Â And Steve hasn't been too stingy when it comes to upgrading a device OS because the money is made on the device (i.e., iPhone or Apple TV). Â Will that be the case here, since the money is made on the computer, and it's so soon after 10.5 was released? Â Only time will tell. Â
So those are my impressions of Snow Leopard. Â The only thing left to say is I hope the Training doesn't change significantly, because it would mean going through the upgrade certification all over again, and I'm not sure it's something the department can do so soon. Â