Apple will ship its newest operating system to customers a little earlier than expected. The company said Monday that Mac OS X Snow Leopard will be available this Friday, August 28.
Apple made it clear from the beginning that Snow Leopard was not as much about adding new features as it was about refining the code in the operating system.
For instance, according to Apple, 90 percent of the Mac OS X code has been worked on for the Snow Leopard release. This isn't just application code, it also includes working on the Finder, making it more responsive.
Apple says that Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is half the size of the previous operating system and frees up to 7GB of drive space once installed. No doubt this has to do with the refinements in the operating system, but Snow Leopard also only supports Macs with an Intel-based processors, not the older PowerPC processors.
As for speed increases in Snow Leopard, Apple said that its Mail application loads messages twice as fast, Time Machine does its initial backup 80 percent faster, and the included 64-bit version of Safari is up to 50 percent faster.
Snow Leopard also supports Exchange Server 2007. This means that you can use Mac OS X Mail, Address Book and iCal out of the box with Exchange.
Mac OS X Snow Leopard will cost $29 as an upgrade for Leopard users. For Mac OS X Tiger users, the Mac Box Set, which includes Mac OS X Snow Leopard, iLife '09 and iWork '09, will cost $169.
Apple had said at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June that Snow Leopard would go on sale in September, though more recently some tech blogs had been bandying about an August 28 date.