Mac OS X – Snow Leopard – The Cat is here

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard – The world’s most advanced operating system. Finely tuned.

One more day before Mac users can rejoice belling the all new cat. Apple releases Mac OS X, Snow Leopard tomorrow, that’s 28th of August, 2009. You may check the system requirements as laid out by Apple. For the die hard fans, there also exists an option to pre order! (However, Amazon is selling it much cheaper.)

Leopard, the current Mac OS X 10.5 is one of the most talked about operating systems available today. We’ve seen pros and newbies sticking to it and never looking back. Excellent user interface and a power packed performance makes it as an elegant performer. Apple however wants its users to get more. This quest has brought them to develop yet another release of Leopard, the Mac OS X 10.6 or what you shall better remember as Snow Leopard.

With the release date being just around the corner, we shall look at some of the features that gets the Snow Leopard up and running.

Let’s take a Snow Leopard Safari

Apple calls Snow Leopard a refined and better version of Leopard and nothing that goes into reinventing a wheel. Leopard was well known for being simple and reliable, despite a few areas which needed some concern. Apple has looked to fine tune these aspects ranging from ejecting an external drive to the size of the core applications in Snow Leopard. Some of the viable and standout changes in Snow Leopard are;

  • Lighter and faster – The primary focus of refining Leopard was to make it light and fast. The applications in Snow Leopard are considerably slimmed down contributing to a smaller footprint thereby saving up to 7GB of installation space. The sluggish installation time is also reduced by almost 45%. Snow Leopard has been tuned for faster booting and shutdown along with quick responsive processes and quicker wireless connectivity.
  • Security – System applications on Snow Leopard are built on 64-bit code. This not only ensures an enhanced performance but also offers a better security just the 64-bit apps can use better security techniques in order to protect data from malicious software and hackers.
  • Multi-touch framework – With Apple notebooks being standardized with multi-touch trackpads it will be possible for developers to enhance their applications using the code libraries and functions bundled in Snow Leopard on the lines of current multi-touch features available in Apple applications such as Safari, iPhoto and more. In-built feature of Snow Leopard also allows Chinese characters to be entered by just drawing the character on the multi-touch trackpad, instead of the conventional method where the user would have to enter the phonetic spelling of the Chinese character.
  • ZFS file system support – Leopard provided read-only features for the ZFS file system which is a combined and logical volume manager developed by Sun Microsystems. ZFS, which is a 128-bit file system was designed for high storage capacities and volume management. It is of great application in servers and workstations with multiple disk drives. For all these reasons Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Server supports both read and write features for ZFS.
  • Microsoft Exchange Server support – The new improved Microsoft Exchange Server support means that mails, contacts, calendar items from Outlook can be easily accessed. Something which most of you would have been waiting for! iCal, Mail and Address Book in Snow Leopard will be enhanced with this exchange support making it business ready.
  • Faster Backups – Leopard introduced to the world the revolutionary Time Machine which allowed the users to take backups of their hard drives with ease. With Snow Leopard, backing up hard drives is light years ahead, with backup time being reduced by up to 50%.
  • Few others – Web spot is a handy feature being imported into Snow Leopard which allows zooming in on a particular section of a webpage. Snow Leopard also boasts a slick QuickTime with an improved interface of sorts. The new improved Expose in Snow Leopard enables organized grouping of multiple open windows and applications with ease. An ardent supporter of open source, Apple has also incorporated many tool kits and gizmos which are finely tuned specifically for developer’s delight.

What’s the deal?

Pre-existing Leopard users can avail a $29 upgrade to Snow Leopard, or a $49 upgrade package for a five installation family pack. For older Mac OS X users the upgrade would be available for $169, and the 5 license package can be availed for $229. (Remember, Amazon sells at 14% discount for Snow Leopard.)

LA Times quotes;

“Microsoft, which doesn’t have much of a hardware presence to recoup its costs compared with Apple, is unlikely to match that price.”

Giving Apple an upper hand in this price driven market. But on the down side Snow Leopard is compatible only with Macs running on Intel chips. Power PC Mac users will have reached the end of the road with the existing Leopard OS.

The wait is almost over. Come September and the Mac users shall be ready to experience Apple’s self proclaimed “world’s most advanced operating system. Finely tuned.” This also comes at a time when Windows 7 is due to be released in October, this year. It is no secret that Apple and Microsoft are at war and only time shall reveal if Windows will fall a prey to the Snow Leopard.

Microsoft Windows Vista Wallpapers

Microsoft started work on their plans for Windows Vista (“Longhorn”) in 2001, prior to the release of Windows XP. It was originally expected to ship sometime late in 2003 as a minor step between Windows XP (codenamed “Whistler”) and “Blackcomb” (now known as Windows “Vienna”). Gradually, “Longhorn” assimilated many of the important new features and technologies slated for “Blackcomb”, resulting in the release date being pushed back several times. Many of Microsoft’s developers were also re-tasked with improving the security of Windows XP.

Microsoft has announced that Windows Vista will be broadly available as a stand-alone product or pre-installed on new PCs on January 30, 2007. Windows Vista will be made available to Volume License customers later in the month of November 2006.

After “Longhorn” was named Windows Vista, an unprecedented beta-test program was started, involving hundreds of thousands of volunteers and companies. In September 2005, Microsoft started releasing regular Community Technology Previews (CTP) to beta testers. The first of these was distributed among 2005 Microsoft Professional Developers Conference attendees, and was subsequently released to Microsoft Beta testers and Microsoft Developer Network subscribers. The builds that followed incorporated most of the planned features for the final product, as well as a number of changes to the user interface, based largely on feedback from beta testers.

Windows Vista was deemed feature-complete with the release of the “February CTP“, released on February 22, 2006, and much of the remainder of work between that build and the final release of the product focused on stability, performance, application and driver compatibility, and documentation. Beta 2, released in late May, was the first build to be made available to the general public through Microsoft’s Customer Preview Program. It was downloaded by over five million people. Two release candidates followed in September and October, both of which were made available to a large number of users.

Download Microsoft Windows Vista Wallpapers (ZIP)