7/6/09
10:19 am

MacMost Now 262: Snow Leopard – What You Need To Know

Snow Leopard will arrive in September. Here's what you need to know about the new Mac OS X.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi. This is Gary with MacMost Now. Snow Leopard is coming. Letís take a look at what you need to know.
So what is Snow Leopard? Snow Leopard is the new version of Mac OS 10 thatís about to come out. Now the current version is 10.5 and itís also known as Leopard. The version before that is 10.4 known as Tiger. So 10.6 is going to be known as Snow Leopard.
If youíve bought at Mac in the last two years, you probably have Leopard on it. Now Leopard and Snow Leopard are going to be very similar in looks and features. Snow Leopard is basically a rewrite of Leopard to optimize everything, make it a little bit faster and to be a launching pad for new features to be added in future versions of Mac OS 10.
So with everything rewritten including all the major applications and the operating system itself, makes it better in two ways. First, itís going to be reportedly six gigabytes smaller in size, taking up less size on your hard drive. Itís going to be faster to install as well. Also, the applications can run faster. Theyíve going to take full advantage of 64-bit processors in Macs. And also working very well with multiple cores. Itís also going to have something set up called Grand Central which will allow third party applications to easily use all the multiple cores in our core two duos. And even the multiple core two duos in the Mac Pros.
So whatís the trade-off? Well the trade off is that Snow Leopard is only for Intel Macs. So it will not work on older power PC Macs. Like G-3, G-4 and G-5 Macs. Now if you bought a Mac in the last couple years, you have nothing to worry about. You have an Intel Mac. But if you have an older one youíre going to have to keep using Leopard.
So besides all the optimization are there any new features in Snow Leopard? Well, there are a few. One of them is QuickTime X or QuickTime 10. Itís the latest version of QuickTime and includes a new QuickTime player that has a lot of the same features that we used to get in QuickTime Pro. You just get them now with the regular QuickTime player. This includes the ability to be able to record video and will even include new things like the ability to be able to share video by sending it directly to sites like YouTube. Thereís also complete support for Microsoft Exchange if you need to use that. And also a lot of smaller features. Like for instance, Expose has been completely rewritten and now is better incorporated with the OS. And lots of little things, including some of the improvements that weíve seen in Safari 4 which is also available for Leopard.
Now, one thing to worry about is will your new applications run in Snow Leopard? For instance, if you have an application that relied on running in emulation mode on Intel Macs using Mac OS 10, then it will not run in Snow Leopard. Now youíve got to go and find out from the third party developers themselves. So go visit the website of the software you use and see what they say about Snow Leopard versions. If they donít say anything then you probably should contact them right away and ask them what their plans are. Snow Leopard has been available for developers for more than a year so they should be ready for it. But you want to make sure that they have plans to have a Snow Leopard compatible version out before or shortly after Snow Leopard is released.
So a big question of course, is how much is Snow Leopard going to cost? Well, if you have Leopard running on your Mac then the upgrade price is only $29. Youíll be able to buy that from the Apple store and probably from various other sources. Now if you bought a Mac from June 8th 2009 on, then you could actually upgrade for free. Itís going to be a $10 shipping charge for the upgrade discs.
So what if you still have Tiger even though youíre running an Intel machine? Well, youíre going to have to do a full price upgrade and the only one going to be available is $169 box that includes the full Snow Leopard plus iWork and iLife.
Now chances are that if youíre still running Tiger you havenít upgraded iLife in a while either so it probably is a good deal. You can also go ahead and buy Leopard right now for $149 and then buy the upgrade for $29 when Snow Leopard comes out.
So when is Snow Leopard coming out? Well, September. So probably the end of September. An exact date will be announced Iím sure in the next month or so.
So the last thing you may want to know is what do you need to do to get ready? Well, absolutely nothing. Just continue using Leopard and when the time comes, go ahead and upgrade. Now the one thing I would suggest is that if youíre not doing Time Machine back-ups you should start now. After all, when you do a complete OS upgrade you probably should do a back up beforehand. Well, if you start using Time Machine now, then itís already taken care of.
Iíll be doing more reports on Snow Leopard as it gets closer and as soon as Snow Leopard comes out, weíll be taking a look at all the new features.
Till next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 3 Responses to “MacMost Now 262: Snow Leopard – What You Need To Know”

    Kurt Schwind
    7/9/09 @ 10:30 am

    I’m a little concerned about your comment about using time-machine to backup the OS. Are you saying that via time-machine one would be able to ‘undo’ a snow leopard upgrade? Or are you only saying that one should always backup their personal files before doing an upgrade? It sounded like the former but I suspect the latter.

      7/9/09 @ 10:37 am

      Time Machine backs up everything — that’s why you can do a full restore of a hard drive that fails. So your system is in there and everything. Theoretically, you would be able to restore a blank drive to your computer’s state from before your upgrade. I’m not sure if Apple will put something in there to prevent such a drastic restore, I don’t see why they would.
      Why are you concerned? This could be a good thing in an extreme situation. Or just something you never use.

    Ian Mayman
    7/31/09 @ 5:08 pm

    The question… yes, Snow Leopard is out next month and the majority of consumers – that is people outside America – still don’t know how much it will cost. I am in the UK so hoping it will be ¬£20 but knowing how we in the UK pay over the top prices, it will likely be ¬£25 ($41) at least.

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