5 things you should know about Snow Leopard

While there aren't a whole lot of features that you'll be able to notice offhand, Snow Leopard's big under-the-hood changes should result in better software for users going forward.

For years, Apple has churned out versions of Mac OS X pumped full of new features geared toward the average user. And it seems like with every iteration of Mac OS X, the new feature count balloons. While many of these new features are small -- for example, Apple touted additional fonts as a new Leopard feature -- new features still drove marketing and appeal for new Mac OS X versions. With Snow Leopard, Apple is taking a detour, and is focusing on performance, under-the-hood improvements, and user interface refinements. That doesn't mean Snow Leopard isn't worth paying attention to, though. Here are five things you should know about Snow Leopard.

Speed and Efficiency

Snow Leopard includes a host of new features with performance in mind, such as Grand Central Dispatch (which allows Snow Leopard to better take advantage of multi-core processors) and OpenCL (which lets Snow Leopard use the graphics card to do general computing tasks). This has uses beyond science, 3D, gaming, and such, but could be put to work for everyday tasks. Also, Snow Leopard should use much less disk space; Apple claims you could regain over 6 GB of disk space by installing Snow Leopard, but your mileage will most certainly vary.

As a point of comparison, Windows 7 Release Candidate saw a slight performance boost over Windows Vista in our preliminary testing.

Price

Snow Leopard will be a US$29 upgrade for users of Leopard ($49 for the five-license family pack). With previous upgrades, you would have to pay the full price -- $129 -- even if you were upgrading from 10.4 to 10.5, for example. Apple probably reasons that most users won't be able to see the new features and changes, which Apple has traditionally used to sell Mac OS X upgrades, so Apple will cut Leopard users a break this time. Even during the keynote, Apple positioned Snow Leopard as "Leopard: Second Edition" instead of a brand new version. It seems to fit in between a service pack and a full-blown upgrade, so it's priced appropriately.

New Goodies to Come

While there aren't a whole lot of features that you'll be able to notice offhand (aside from improved performance, perhaps) Snow Leopard's big under-the-hood changes should result in better software for users going forward.

PowerPC Users: No Leopard for You!

If you own an older Mac from before Apple's switch to Intel processors, you're out of luck; Snow Leopard will only run Intel-CPU-based Macs. Snow Leopard will debut nearly four years after the first Intel Macs shipped in January 2006.

Get It in September

Last week Microsoft announced that Windows 7 would be publicly released in October. Today, Apple announced Snow Leopard will be available in September, at which point you can expect unending comparisons between Snow Leopard and Windows 7. Fight!

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Applesnow leopardMac OS X

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nick Mediati

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?