Impressions of Snow Leopard

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I have been using the latest pre-release version of Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) for about two weeks now.  I must confess that while this release does not constitute a major change cosmetically for Apple, it is a major change ‘under the hood’.

I installed Snow Leopard on my MacBook Pro first and once was happy with how well the process went – basically as Apple has claimed, proceeded to install on my wife’s Macbook and my Mac Mini media server.  All installs went without a hitch and in all cases, we have noticed a zippier, faster and leaner cat.  Memory utilization is very much improved… the OS is very responsive and just seems even more stable.  All applications continued to work without any issues.  The only problem that I encountered was having to redefine my network printer, which is connected over my wireless network.

The biggest, noticeable improvements that come with Snow Leopard:

  • Native support for Microsoft Exchange 2007.  This is really, really cool!  For the first time, Mac OS based systems can automatically discover and configure themselves to work with Microsoft Exchange.  Mac users continue to use the tools that they are familiar with – Mail, Calendar and Address Book with the difference that they are fully integrated to use the Exchange backend.
  • Holding the mouse button down over an open program icon within the Dock will show all associated, open windows for that program.
  • Quicktime has been dramatically upgraded with native support with the standard edition to record video, audio and screen movements on your Mac.  This means that it is extremely easy to produce ‘how to’ movies about program functionality.  Additionally, Quicktime easily converts to different formats supporting AppleTV, Quicktime MOV, iPhone and iPod and upload to MobileMe and YouTube.
  • The core os is fully 64-bit.  All applications can be fully developed and compiled to run 64-bit.  This will make operations so much more efficient and faster and will open up addressable memory beyond 4GB.

With all the hype going on between Apple vs. Microsoft and the pending release of Windows 7 in October, Apple has jumped ahead, yet again in proving that they can successfully release software that is relevant to their users without breaking the bank.

Snow Leopard is expected to cost $35 CDN for a single user / $59 CDN for a family pack which will provide support for up to 5 computers in the same household.

About Grant Fengstad

I’m a technology professional in the travel and transportation sector and have been very involved with the Internet for over 20 years.