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Mac OS X 10.6 to show at Apple developer event, drop PowerPC

While everyone focuses on the iPhone next update, a new rumor posits that Apple will already have a new version of Mac OS X available for testing in early form at WWDC, with its actual launch appearing as early as next year's Macworld event.

Information purportedly handed to TUAW would have Apple seeding a rough version of Mac OS X 10.6 to developers attending the conference, with a release to manufacturing in December and a January shipping timeframe.

Similar to Mac OS X 10.1, however, the release would more closely resemble a maintenance release than a complete overhaul. The primary change would be a complete transition to an Intel-only, 64-bit platform that drops PowerPC support, pushing developers to code only for the x86 architecture at the heart of all Macs released from 2006 onwards.

AppleInsider first received word that the Mac maker would shed PowerPC support as early as September, just a month before the release of Leopard.

Expectedly, Apple has refrained from discussing any of its post-Leopard plans to date. The company has nonetheless dropped early signs that it may be preparing for the new release, with reports of a small 10.6 reference surfacing in the latest build of the iPhone's software development kit.

Apple has also alluded to next week's WWDC as a landmark event in "more ways than one," with bridge imagery suggesting two bridges to cross at the San Francisco gathering.