The tech world got a little surprise this Monday morning: word from Apple – and the accompanying little yellow Sticky – that its next generation OS 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system would be shipping August 28.
The upgrade, which Apple is taking pre-orders for now at its online store, includes a slew of improvements, the most anticipated of which, according to a TUAW poll, is faster start-up and shut-down times.
And the hits just keep on coming. Seriously? Fast on and off is what OS X users are most looking forward to? OK, Steve Jobs, for the next release, forget about 64-bit support, OpenCL graphics card enhancements, and native Exchange support, and just include a gleaming white light switch in the box. Sheesh. Take a page from Microsoft and sell six different versions (one with a click wheel dimmer!) at different price levels, and you'll have a hit on your hands.
Seriously, though. Apple will likely sell 5 million copies of the $29 upgrade at launch, according to analyst firm Piper Jaffray. And a key point to understand for this release, according to Jaffray's Senior Research Analyst Gene Munster, is that Snow Leopard "is not about new features; rather, it is about keeping Mac users up to date with the latest technology vs. Windows XP and Vista users on antiquated technology...."
Five million copies is a lot, and the majority of them will be sold online, but the one piece of real estate that may have a shot at challenging that is Apple's retail store on New York's Fifth Avenue. Bloomberg has a piece that quotes one analyst who estimates the 10,000-square-foot icon of a store pulls in $350 million a year.
Too old to upgrade?
The antiquated technology referenced in Munster's note is older Windows systems, but there's another older set of tech that will be given a swift kick toward obsolescence when Snow Leopard arrives on the scene, and that's pre-Intel Macs. The new OS does away with support for the PowerPC chips that were once Apple's bread and butter. Snow Leopard's system requirements go like this:
Mac computer with an Intel processor
1GB of memory
5GB of available disk space
DVD drive for installation
Understandably, the folks over at Low End Mac aren't pleased.
Macs at work
Older Macs may be getting put to pasture, but Macs that can run Snow Leopard stand to move up to the business world's corner office, according to PC World's Tony Bradley. He lists 10 reasons why the 10.6-equipped Macs may play better with their PC cousins, the first two of which we'll show here (head to his post for the rest).
1. Annotations in Preview. New tools enable you to annotate and markup PDF files using Preview. The annotation tools include comments, links, highlighting, strikethrough text, shapes, text, and arrows.
2. Restore deleted items to original locations. This seems long overdue. In Windows data restored from the Recycle Bin is automatically restored to its original location. With Snow Leopard restoring to the original location is now an option on the Mac as well.