Apple Snow Leopard 10.6
Whats New In Snow eopard
Refined from installation to shutdown.
In ways big and small, Mac OS X Snow Leopard makes your Mac faster, more reliable, and easier to use.
Mac OS X is renowned for its simplicity, its reliability, and its ease of use. So when it came to designing Snow Leopard, Apple engineers had a single goal: to make a great thing even better. They searched for areas to refine, further simplify, and speed up — from little things like ejecting external drives to big things like installing the OS. In many cases, they elevated great to amazing. Here are just a few examples of how your Mac experience was fine-tuned.
Since 2001, the breakthrough technologies and rock-solid UNIX foundation of Mac OS X have made it not only the world’s most advanced operating system but also extremely secure, compatible, and easy to use. Snow Leopard continues this innovation by incorporating new technologies that offer immediate improvements while also smartly setting it up for the future.
64-bit computing used to be the province of scientists and engineers, but now this generational shift in computing gives all users the tools to apply the power of 64-bit to speed up everything from everyday applications to the most demanding scientific computations. Although Mac OS X is already 64-bit capable in many ways, Snow Leopard takes the next big step by rewriting nearly all system applications in 64-bit code¹ and by enabling the Mac to address massive amounts of memory. Now Mac OS X is faster, more secure, and completely ready for the future.
The entire computing industry is moving from 32-bit to 64-bit technology, and it’s easy to see why. Today’s Mac computers can hold up to 32GB of physical memory, but the 32-bit applications that run on them can address only 4GB of RAM at a time. 64-bit computing shatters that barrier by enabling applications to address a theoretical 16 billion gigabytes of memory, or 16 exabytes. It can also enable computers to crunch twice the data per clock cycle, which can dramatically speed up numeric calculations and other tasks. Earlier versions of Mac OS X have offered a range of 64-bit capabilities. Now Snow Leopard takes the next step in the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit.
The 64-bit support in Snow Leopard makes Mac OS X completely ready for whatever computing enhancements might arrive in the future. For example, Snow Leopard is ready to support up to 16 terabytes of RAM — about 500 times more than today’s Mac computers can accommodate. That may sound like more RAM than you’ll ever need, but who can predict the requirements of high-performance computers in the future? Mac OS X Snow Leopard comes prepared for anything.
Another benefit of the 64-bit applications in Snow Leopard is that they’re even more secure from hackers and malware than the 32-bit versions. That\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s because 64-bit applications can use more advanced security techniques to fend off malicious code. First, 64-bit applications can keep their data out of harm\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s way thanks to a more secure function argument-passing mechanism and the use of hardware-based execute disable for heap memory. In addition, memory on the system heap is marked using strengthened checksums, helping to prevent attacks that rely on corrupting memory.
64-bit applications in Snow Leopard deliver faster performance at common operations.²
To ensure simplicity and flexibility, Mac OS X still comes in one version that runs both 64-bit and 32-bit applications. So you don’t need to update everything on your system just to run a single 64-bit program. And new 64-bit applications work just fine with your existing storage devices, PCI cards, and Snow Leopard-compatible printers.
More cores, not faster clock speeds, drive performance increases in today’s processors. Grand Central Dispatch takes full advantage by making all of Mac OS X multicore aware and optimizing it for allocating tasks across multiple cores and processors. Grand Central Dispatch also makes it much easier for developers to create programs that squeeze every last drop of power from multicore systems.
In the past, the best way for computer chip makers to improve performance was to turn up the clock speed on the processor. But that generates more heat and consumes more power, which is bad for computers, especially notebooks. So instead the industry has moved to chips with multiple processor cores, which can provide more performance while consuming less power. Today every Mac runs on one or more multicore Intel processors.
To take full advantage of these processors, software applications must be programmed using a technology called threads. Software developers use threads to allow multicore processors to work on different parts of a program at the same time. However, each application must do its own threading, which reduces the efficiency of the entire system. And because threads can be difficult to program, many developers don’t invest the effort to make their applications multicore capable. Consequently, lots of applications aren’t as fast as they could be.
Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) in Mac OS X Snow Leopard addresses this pressing need. It’s a set of first-of-their-kind technologies that makes it much easier for developers to squeeze every last drop of power from multicore systems. With GCD, threads are handled by the operating system, not by individual applications. GCD-enabled programs can automatically distribute their work across all available cores, resulting in the best possible performance whether they’re running on a dual-core Mac mini, an 8-core Mac Pro, or anything in between. Once developers start using GCD for their applications, you’ll start noticing significant improvements in performance.
Grand Central Dispatch is extremely efficient at what it does. It dynamically scales the workload of an application to account for the number of processors in the computer. And it makes applications more efficient by using only the number of threads required for the work being done. For example, without GCD, if an application needs 20 threads when at maximum capacity, it might set up 20 threads and consume the associated resources even when it has nothing to do. GCD, by contrast, frees resources when it’s not using them, helping to keep the whole system more responsive. Imagine the efficiency and performance gains if every application on your Mac were using GCD.
Grand Central Dispatch is deeply integrated into Mac OS X Snow Leopard, making it easier for all kinds of applications to take better advantage of multicore processors. In addition, your Mac as a whole becomes more efficient at handling numerous tasks at the same time, resulting in performance gains across the board.
Developers will program for Grand Central Dispatch using the Xcode tools included with every Mac. They can use the Xcode debugger and Instruments performance analysis tool to get insights into GCD at runtime. These tools make it possible to quickly inspect any GCD work queue, even down to a specific block of executing code, giving developers a complete understanding of their application as GCD efficiently assigns tasks to each available core.
With graphics processors surpassing speeds of a trillion operations per second, they’re capable of considerably more than just drawing pictures. OpenCL in Snow Leopard is a technology that makes it possible for developers to tap the vast gigaflops of computing power currently in the graphics processor and use it for any application.
Over the last few years the performance of graphics processing units (GPUs) has grown exponentially as measured in gigaflops. Today’s fastest GPUs are capable of over one teraflop, as much as the room-size ASCI RED supercomputer of just 12 years ago.
Now a new technology in Mac OS X Snow Leopard called OpenCL takes the power of graphics processors and makes it available for general-purpose computing. No longer will graphics processors be limited to graphics-intensive applications such as games and 3D modeling. Instead, once developers begin to use OpenCL in their applications, you’ll experience greatly improved speed in a wide spectrum of applications.
For example, sophisticated financial modeling techniques can be incorporated into desktop accounting software and personal finance software. Media applications can perform complex, intensive operations with larger video and graphics files. Games can have more realistic physics simulations. And scientists and researchers can tackle far more challenging problems using their everyday Mac computers.
OpenCL automatically optimizes for the kind of graphics processor in the Mac, adjusting itself to the available processing power. OpenCL provides consistent numeric precision and accuracy, fixing a problem that has hampered GPU-based programming in the past.
OpenCL stands for Open Computing Language. It’s a C-based programming language with a structure that will be familiar to programmers, who can simply use Xcode developer tools to adapt their programs to work with OpenCL. They don’t have to completely rewrite applications to use OpenCL. They need only rewrite the most performance-intensive parts of their application in OpenCL C. The vast majority of application code can be left unchanged. Best of all, OpenCL is an open standard that’s supported by the biggest names in the industry, including AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA.
Snow Leopard introduces QuickTime X, a major leap forward that advances modern media and Internet standards. QuickTime X includes a brand-new player application, offers optimized support for modern codecs, and delivers more efficient media playback, making it ideal for any application that needs to play media content.
QuickTime X is the next-generation media technology that powers the audio and video experience in Mac OS X Snow Leopard. From its inception in 1991, QuickTime has stood at the forefront of video technologies — first with software-based video, then with Internet video. Now QuickTime X takes another leap forward by building on the amazing media technologies in Mac OS X — such as Core Audio, Core Video, and Core Animation — to deliver enhanced playback, greater efficiency, and higher quality.
QuickTime X debuts a brand-new version of QuickTime Player, the standalone application used by millions to watch QuickTime-based video. Using the power of the Core Animation technology in Mac OS X, QuickTime Player offers a clean, uncluttered interface with controls that fade out when they’re not needed. And large thumbnail images make navigating chaptered movies simpler than before.
With a single click, QuickTime Player can now capture audio or video using the built-in camera and microphone in your Mac. You can easily trim media to the perfect length, then send it to iTunes for syncing to an iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV. You can also use QuickTime Player to publish your media to MobileMe or YouTube — without worrying about codec formats or resolutions.
QuickTime X is optimized for the latest modern media formats — such as H.264 and AAC — through a new media architecture that delivers stutter-free playback of high-definition content on nearly all Snow Leopard-based Mac systems. QuickTime X maximizes the efficiency of modern media playback by using the graphics processor to scale and display video. QuickTime X further increases efficiency by supporting GPU-accelerated video decoding of H.264 files.
QuickTime X takes Internet video streaming to new levels with support for HTTP live streaming. Unlike other streaming technologies, HTTP live streaming uses the HTTP protocol — the same network technology that powers the web. That means QuickTime X streams audio and video from almost any web server instead of special streaming servers, and it works reliably with common firewall and wireless router settings. HTTP live streaming is designed for mobility and can dynamically adjust movie playback quality to match the available speed of wired or wireless networks, perfect whether the video is watched on a computer or on a mobile device like iPhone or iPod touch.
Because it’s built into the heart of Snow Leopard, QuickTime X uses Mac OS X technologies such as Cocoa, Grand Central Dispatch, and 64-bit computing to deliver greatest-possible performance and enables QuickTime Player to launch up to 2.4x faster.2 QuickTime X also takes advantage of ColorSync to provide high-quality color reproduction during playback and when sharing media to your iPhone, iPod, or Apple TV.
Innovation for everyone
Mac OS X already includes a range of assistive technologies and features that help people with disabilities experience what the Mac has to offer. Now innovations in Snow Leopard advance accessibility even further.
The advanced screen-reading technology in Mac OS X, VoiceOver, now offers a breakthrough new capability: You can control your computer using gestures on a Multi-Touch trackpad even if you can’t see the screen. The trackpad surface on your Mac notebook represents the active window on your computer, so you can touch to hear the item under your finger, drag to hear items continuously as you move your finger, and flick with one finger to move to the next or previous item. You’ll hear how items are arranged on the screen, and you can jump directly to an item just by touching the corresponding location on the trackpad. For example, you can drag your finger around the trackpad to learn how items are arranged in a web page, a spreadsheet, a presentation, or any document with text. The more you touch, the more information you gather.
The Mac is the only computer that supports braille displays right out of the box. Snow Leopard broadens this built-in support by including the latest drivers for over 40 models, including wireless Bluetooth displays. Just connect one and start using it — no additional software installation necessary.
Snow Leopard also introduces a new feature, called braille mirroring, that enables multiple USB braille displays to be connected to one computer simultaneously. It’s perfect for classroom settings, where teachers can lead all of their students through the same lesson at the same time, even if the students are using different display models.
VoiceOver in Snow Leopard offers new capabilities that make web browsing easier, faster, and more enjoyable. VoiceOver has been updated to take full advantage of powerful multicore processors, so it can scan and analyze large, complex web pages quickly and allow you to enter commands right away.
VoiceOver will begin reading an entire web page automatically after it loads, and you can use key commands or gestures to control VoiceOver as it’s talking. To help you more quickly size up web pages you haven’t visited before, VoiceOver can provide a customizable web page summary, including the title, number of tables, headers, links, form elements, and more.
Snow Leopard fully supports HTML web tables without the need for a forms or table mode. You navigate tables using the same commands you already know. You can hear the contents of a table, including the column title and column and row number, by dragging your finger across the trackpad or using simple keystrokes.
Instead of forcing you to memorize keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the screen, VoiceOver offers a unique virtual control called a rotor. When you turn it — by rotating two fingers on the trackpad as if you were turning a dial — VoiceOver moves through text based on a setting you choose. For example, after setting the rotor to “Word” or “Character,” each time you flick, VoiceOver moves through the text one word at a time or one character at a time — perfect when you’re proofreading or editing text.
You can also use the rotor to navigate web pages. When you’re on a web page, the rotor contains the names of common items, such as headers, links, tables, images, and more. You select a setting, then flick up or down to move to the previous or next occurrence of that item on the page, skipping over items in between.
A new feature called Quick Nav uses arrow key combinations to move the VoiceOver cursor so you can control the computer using just one hand without the need for modifier keys. For example, you can move up, down, left, and right by pressing the arrow keys individually, or press the up and down arrows together to click a button or a web link. Other combinations let you adjust the rotor and move the VoiceOver cursor according to the setting. With Quick Nav, you’ll be navigating and reading documents and web pages in no time.
Out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchang
With Snow Leopard, the Mac is the only computer with built-in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. So you can use your Mac — with all the features and applications you love — at home and at work and have all your messages, meetings, and contacts in one place.
The Mac already works brilliantly in managed corporate environments, even in companies that support mixed platforms. It can run Microsoft Office and Windows applications. It can connect to virtually any server and share files with virtually any computer. It can authenticate to Active Directory servers.
Now with Snow Leopard, the Mac has out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, something even Windows PCs don\'t have. Instead of using Outlook to access Exchange services such as email, calendar invitations, and Global Address Lists, you’ll use Mail, iCal, and Address Book. Because they’re on the Mac, you can continue taking advantage of all the powerful Mac features you love, including Spotlight, Quick Look, data detectors, and more. And finally you can view your Exchange-based work life right alongside your personal mail, calendars, and contacts.
The best way to set up Mail, iCal, and Address Book to access your Exchange account is with the Exchange Autodiscovery feature. If this feature is enabled by your IT department, you just open the Accounts panel in Mail, enter your Exchange user name and password, and check the box to automatically set up your other applications. Mail will use Autodiscovery to grab all the pertinent information from the server and configure your settings, so you can start using your applications right away. Mac OS X also supports manual configuration of your Exchange server settings and remote setup and access of Exchange through most VPN connections.
Learn more about setting up Exchange
You’ll access and manage your Exchange email alongside your personal email using the Mail application in Mac OS X. When you compose messages, Mail can autocomplete names from the Global Address List. You can create notes and to-do items and receive and act on event invitations in email. And use the other great features of Mail. Search across all your accounts at once using Spotlight. Create Smart Folders that gather mail messages from any or all accounts based on custom search criteria, such as all messages from your boss or all messages with the words “To Do” in the subject. Use Quick Look to view large previews of attachments without opening the files. Take advantage of data detectors, which pick out important bits of information in email messages — such as dates, phone numbers, and addresses — so you can act on them with one click.
iCal on your Mac offers all the Exchange-based features you expect, including the ability to view real-time availability of coworkers and conference rooms in the Global Address List and autocomplete their names when you invite them to meetings. You can receive and act on meeting invitations in email, and you can send invitations to people outside your organization using email; they’ll receive an .ics attachment that, when opened, will add the appointment to their iCal calendar. iCal also lets you create and manage as many separate calendars as you need — one or more Exchange-based calendars for work, a separate calendar for your family, another for birthdays, and so on. You can view them all at once in a single window or choose to see only the calendars you want. You can even choose to delegate your calendar to a colleague.
Address Book in Mac OS X gives you a flexible and convenient place to store contact information for your family, friends, and colleagues. Now, with Exchange support, it also taps into your company’s Global Address Lists. So you can create groups and Smart Groups with contacts from your local list or an Exchange-based list. You can click an address to open Google Maps or click a URL to open a web browser. And because Address Book information is fully integrated with other Mac OS X applications, Mail and iCal use your contact information to autocomplete names when you’re sending email or invitations.