Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard Revealed: Multi-Core Optimized, GPU Lovin' OS Upgrade Due In One YearS

Yep, you heard right: Apple showed off the OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, due out in a year, to the attendees at WWDC, and let some details slip to the public, including:

• Optimization for multi-core processors

• GPU friendly (actually GPU utilization of highly parallel tasks generally done on a CPU)

• Supports "breakthrough" amounts of RAM—16TB to be precise

• New "modern" QuickTime X platform

• Safari with 53% faster JavaScript implementation

Yes, as we've heard, this is a lot less about cool user features and more about boots-on-the-ground stability—or in Apple SVP for Software Engineering's words, "perfecting the world's most advanced OS." There's no mention of continuing PowerPC support, but then again, there's no word about discontinuing it, either. Here's more from the horse's, I mean, predatory feline's mouth. Update: The official Snow Leopard site is live.

Apple Previews Mac OS X Snow Leopard to Developers

SAN FRANCISCO, June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Apple(R) today previewed Mac OS(R) X Snow Leopard, which builds on the incredible success of OS X Leopard and is the next major version of the world's most advanced operating system. Rather than focusing primarily on new features, Snow Leopard will enhance the performance of OS X, set a new standard for quality and lay the foundation for future OS X innovation. Snow Leopard is optimized for multi-core processors, taps into the vast computing power of graphic processing units (GPUs), enables breakthrough amounts of RAM and features a new, modern media platform with QuickTime(R) X. Snow Leopard includes

out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 and is scheduled to ship in about a year.

"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's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "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."

Snow Leopard delivers unrivaled support for multi-core processors with a new technology code-named "Grand Central," making it easy for developers to create programs that take full advantage of the power of multi-core Macs. Snow Leopard further extends support for modern hardware with Open Computing Language (OpenCL), which lets any application tap into the vast gigaflops of GPU computing power previously available only to graphics applications. OpenCL is based on the C programming language and has been proposed as an open standard. Furthering OS X's lead in 64-bit technology, Snow Leopard raises the software limit on system memory up to a theoretical 16TB of RAM.

Using media technology pioneered in OS X iPhone(TM), Snow Leopard introduces QuickTime X, which optimizes support for modern audio and video formats resulting in extremely efficient media playback. Snow Leopard also includes Safari(R) with the fastest implementation of JavaScript ever, increasing performance by 53 percent, making Web 2.0 applications feel more responsive.*

For the first time, OS X includes native support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 in OS X applications Mail, iCal(R) and Address Book, making it even easier to integrate Macs into organizations of any size.

*Performance will vary based on system configuration, network connection and other factors. Benchmark based on the SunSpider JavaScript Performance test on an iMac(R) 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system running Mac OS X Snow Leopard, with 2GB of RAM.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its

award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.