Will Apple keep their Snow Leopard promises?

Let me cast your minds back to the 9th June last year. Steve Jobs CEO of Apple was in better health back then and at the WWDC officially announced the development of Snow Leopard; the latest addition to the Mac OSX family.

He promised that a release date would be 'in about a years time.' It's almost May now, so we're expecting some news on it to be leaked very shortly. Much has changed since this time last year, most importantly, Jobs seems to be in ill health with recent fears that his hormone imbalance may have taken a turn to the worse. The main question is, will this hinder the final development stage of this new operating system?

From mid-2007, Nvidia took over the graphics processing from ATI, which now seems to bode well in the favour of Apple, after the news broke that Snow Leopard would be able to harness 'hidden energy' within the new chips. This then allows the shift of all graphical processes to be ported to the dedicated GPU, rather than using the CPU which it isn't strictly designed for.

Software-wise, the space used by an installation of Snow Leopard is promised to be less than that of its predecessors. Along with this comes faster install times, reducing around one hour during installation to around 15 minutes. With Microsoft Exchange support, this will be good news for those working on corporate networks and enterprise environments. Quicktime is to be updated to version 10, offering better codec support for a wider range of file types; rivaling Windows 7 which now renders the Windows version of Quicktime as useless, bringing in native MPEG-4 support.

Windows 7 has a post-install hard drive footprint of approximately 3.5GB, significantly less than a clean install of Vista, once you remove features which aren't necessary; Internet Explorer, multimedia features and the like. Snow Leopard has, according to one journalist, promised a much lower footprint when it comes to drive usage post-installation, from a ported technology designed for the iPhone.

Besides the "under the hood" updates which, disappointing to some users who wish to see a bit more visual jazz than before, little else is being done in terms of changes to aesthetics. Whether this is to remain consistent with previous releases or not, is yet to be confirmed. But for now, it seems Snow Leopard could be to Leopard as Windows 7 is to Vista - behind the scenes performance tweaks, and breathing a slight sigh of relief to those who don't get on so well with Apple's current operating system.

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