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Thursday, February 05, 2009, 05:00 am PT (08:00 am ET)

Apple's Snow Leopard to include location, multi-touch tools

Apple's Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system will include tools borrowed from the iPhone that let developers determine the geographical location of Macs, as well as extend additional support for multi-touch to their apps, AppleInsider has learned.

People familiar with the latest pre-release distributions of the next-gen OS say the software now includes the CoreLocation framework previously available via the iPhone SDK, which will allow Mac applications to identify the current latitude and longitude of the Macs on which they're running.

Since Macs don't include GPS technology like the iPhone 3G, CoreLocation will utilize a Mac's existing networking hardware to triangulate the system's location in a manner similar to the way the original iPhone was able to use the technology to emulate a true global positioning signal.

Meanwhile, those same people say that developers writing applications for Snow Leopard will also gain access to a new set of Cocoa-based programing interfaces for leveraging the multi-touch features of the latest MacBooks and MacBook Pros within their applications.

AppleInsider first revealed plans for the new multi-touch framework in a an article from last June titled "Five undisclosed features of Apple's Mac OS X Snow Leopard."

The report noted that the framework would "consist of code libraries and functions that ordinary developers can use to enhance their applications with the same multi-touch capabilities currently available in Apple-born apps like Safari and iPhoto, and do so with ease."

Word of the new location tools in Snow Leopard comes on the heels of an announcement by Google that it will soon deliver its own software that will let iPhones and Macs broadcast their location information over the Internet.