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Monday, June 09, 2008, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Apple previews Mac OS X Snow Leopard with QuickTime X

During its developers conference on Monday, Apple previewed Mac OS X Snow Leopard, which will build on the success of OS X Leopard with a focus on performance and stability.

Rather than add new features, the Cupertino-based Mac maker said the goal of Snow Leopard will be to enhance the performance of OS X, set a new standard for quality and lay the foundation for future OS X innovation.

Specifically, Snow Leopard will be optimized for multi-core processors, tap into the vast computing power of graphic processing units (GPUs), enable breakthrough amounts of RAM and feature a new, modern media platform with QuickTime X. Snow Leopard will also include out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 and is scheduled to ship in about a year.

“We have delivered more than a thousand new features to OS X in just seven years and Snow Leopard lays the foundation for thousands more,” said Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “In our continued effort to deliver the best user experience, we hit the pause button on new features to focus on perfecting the world’s most advanced operating system.”

Snow Leopard's multi-core processor support will be delivered alongside a new technology code-named “Grand Central,” making it easy for developers to create programs that take full advantage of the power of multi-core Macs.

The new version of Mac OS X will further extend support for modern hardware with Open Computing Language (OpenCL), which lets any application tap into the vast gigaflops of GPU computing power previously available only to graphics applications. OpenCL is based on the C programming language and has been proposed as an open standard.

Furthering OS X’s lead in 64-bit technology, Snow Leopard will also raise the software limit on system memory up to a theoretical 16TB of RAM.

Using media technology pioneered in OS X iPhone, Snow Leopard introduces QuickTime X, which optimizes support for modern audio and video formats resulting in extremely efficient media playback. Snow Leopard will also include Safari with the fastest implementation of JavaScript ever, increasing performance by 53 percent, making Web 2.0 applications feel more responsive.

Also, for the first time, Mac OS X will include native support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 in OS X applications Mail, iCal and Address Book, making it even easier to integrate Macs into organizations of any size.