Snow Leopard changes Apple’s enterprise spots

Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Somewhat overshadowed by the release of the 3G iPhone, Apple also used the first day of its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) to preview the next release of MacOS X codenamed Snow Leopard.

The update, due for release some time next year, appears on the surface to be more of an upgrade to 10.5 Leopard rather than whole new release of the OS more of a 10.5 and a half release yet features a large number of functional changes to support enterprise systems and improve performance.

It is optimised for multi-core processors, exploits the power of graphic processing units (GPUs), enables unprecedented amounts of RAM to be used in systems, and has a new media platform with QuickTime X. Other software refinements include support for Microsoft Exchange and ActiveSync, allowing for enterprise push email support and syncing with Exchange calendars and address books.

A new technology code-named Grand Central enhances support for multi-core processors making it easy for developers to create programmes that take full advantage while Apple's new Open Computing Language (OpenCL) lets any application tap into the gigaflops of GPU computing power previously available only to graphics applications. And with further improvement to OS X's 64-bit technology, Snow Leopard raises the software limit on system memory up to a theoretical 16TB of RAM.

"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."