Mac OS X Snow Leopard Review

Finally an 100% 64 bit OS

The main argument in favor of Snow Leopard, Apple unveiled during a presentation of the first system in 2008, was a better use of technologies developed in recent years by the firm. Thus, this latest version finally takes part in the 64-bit architecture, allowing applications to have more than 4 GiB of RAM (if you possessed them of course), which was used for greedy software mostly. Moreover, this architecture could bring new benefits in terms of safety: remember that system security has always been a strong point made by Apple, too often undermined.

It appears that increased compatibility with social networking services have guided the development of this latest version. Screenshots, which it is difficult to prove authenticity, are already circulating on the Internet. It seems clear that the address book is able to manage the contacts associated with Facebook or Twitter. Some sites suggest the integration of functions sharing of content via iTunes. Other differences from the version 10.6 of OS does jump obviously not in the eyes of ordinary users. The communication from Apple on this issue is also without doubt, the manufacturer’s website stating "refined, not reinvented," or "exactly the same Finder, entirely new. In short, it is understood, it is mainly the unknown system that developers have focused their attention. They redesigned the entire system.

Expected result, a greatly increased velocity and a drastic reduction of the space on the hard disk. The space required for installation on one hard drive will be limited to 6 GB, less than half the previous version. This will reduce the footprint of Mac OS can be seen as a sign that heralds the will to integrate this system into devices that are lighter and more mobile. This could bring water to the mill of a persistent rumor is that a hypothetical touch pad is soon launched on the market. A small operating system is a prerequisite for the development of online and mobile products.

Mac OS X Snow Leopard

The World’s Most Advanced Operating System. Finally Tuned.

Better, Faster & Easier. Snow Leopard enhances your entire Mac Experience. In ways big and small, it gets faster, more reliable and easier to use.

Refined, not reinvented :

Mac OS X is renowned for its simplicity, its reliability, and its ease of use. So when it came to designing Snow Leopard, Apple engineers had a single goal: to make a great thing even better. They searched for areas to refine, further simplify, and speed up — from little things like ejecting external drives to big things like installing the OS. In many cases, they elevated great to amazing. Here are just a few examples of how your Mac experience was fine-tuned.

A more advanced, more nimble Finder :

The Finder has been completely rewritten in Cocoa to take advantage of all the modern technologies in Mac OS X, including 64-bit support and Grand Central Dispatch. It’s more responsive from top to bottom, with snappier performance throughout the Finder. And it includes new features such as customizable Spotlight search options and an enhanced icon view that lets you thumb through a multipage document or watch a QuickTime movie.

New look, new features for Expose and Stacks :

Its exposure is refined and is also more convenient. It’s now integrated in the Dock, so you can just click and hold an application icon in the Dock and all the windows for that application will unshuffle so you can quickly change to another one. Exposé also has a whole new look. Windows are displayed in an organized grid, making it even easier to find what you’re looking for. And stacks — Dock items that give you fast access to a folder of files — are now scrollable, so you can easily view all items. You can also navigate through folders in a stack to see all the files inside it.

Quicker Time Machine backup :

Introduced in Mac OS X Leopard, the revolutionary Time Machine made for backing up your hard drive with ease for the first time. Time Capsule took backup even further with its wireless hard drive that works seamlessly with Time Machine. Now Snow Leopard makes Time Machine up to 80 percent faster and reduces the time it takes to complete your initial backup to Time Capsule.

Faster to wake up and shut down :

With Snow Leopard, your Mac wakes from sleep up to twice as quickly when you have screen locking enabled. And shutting down is up to 80 percent faster, saving precious moments when you’re trying to head home or to the airport.1

Faster, more reliable installation :

Upgrading your Mac has never been easier. For Snow Leopard, the entire process has been simplified, streamlined, and is up to 50 percent faster, yet more comprehensive and reliable. For example, Snow Leopard checks your applications to make sure they’re compatible and sets aside any programs known to be incompatible. In case a power outage interrupts your installation, it can start again without losing any data.

Smaller footprint :

Snow Leopard takes up less than half the disk space of the previous version, freeing about 7GB for you — enough for about 1,750 more songs3 or a few thousand more photos.

Another leap forward for QuickTime :

QuickTime X is the next-generation media technology that powers the audio and video experience in Mac OS X Snow Leopard. It includes a completely new QuickTime Player application with a clean, uncluttered design, a new trimming interface, and easy uploads to YouTube and MobileMe. And it delivers more efficient media playback, HTTP-based live streaming, and greater color accuracy.

Innovative Chinese character input :

Until Snow Leopard, if you wanted to enter Chinese characters on a computer, you had to type in the phonetic spelling of Chinese words and the computer would convert them into proper Chinese characters. Snow Leopard offers a breakthrough new way to enter characters: You write them directly on the Multi-Touch trackpad in your Mac notebook. They’ll appear on the screen in a new input window, which recommends characters based on what you drew and lets you choose the right one. The input window even offers suggestions for subsequent characters based on what you chose.

More reliable, higher-resolution iChat :

Having a video chat using iChat is more reliable and more accessible than ever in Snow Leopard. It includes technology to address many common router incompatibilities that can interfere with connections. And if iChat can’t make a direct connection, it will use the AIM relay server to create a successful chat session.

Now more people can have high-resolution, 640-by-480-pixel video chats, because the technical requirements are less demanding: You need only one-third the upstream bandwidth previously required — 300 Kbps instead of 900 Kbps. And finally, iChat Theater now offers 640-by-480 resolution, four times greater than before.

The right service at the right time :

The Services menu in Mac OS X lets you to use features of one application while working in another. In Snow Leopard, services are more simplified, streamlined, and helpful. The Services menu is contextual, so it shows just the services appropriate for the application you’re using or content you’re viewing rather than all available services. You can access services with a right click of your mouse or Control-click of your trackpad. You can configure the menu to show only the services you want, and you can even create your own services using Automator.

Automatic updates for printer drivers :

Snow Leopard makes sure you always have the most up-to-date driver that you can get the most from your printer. When you plug in a printer, Mac OS X can download the latest driver available over the Internet. And it periodically checks to make sure it has the latest driver. If not, it downloads the newest version through Software Update. Easy.

Automatic time Zone setup :
If you’re traveling around the world, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your computer is set to the correct time zone. Snow Leopard takes care of that for you. Using the Core Location technology, it locates known Wi-Fi hotspots to set the time zone automatically, so you’ll always know the right time no matter where you are.

Easy PDF text selection :

Here’s an enhancement that exemplifies the pursuit of perfection. When using a PDF viewer such as Preview, have you ever tried to copy text from a PDF document that has more than one column? It’s almost impossible. Instead of selecting only the text you want, your cursor selects all the text across the page, so you end up with a mix of words from every column. Mac OS X Snow Leopard applies sophisticated artificial intelligence algorithms to fix the problem. It analyzes the layout of each page in the PDF to identify columns of text. So when you use the cursor to select text, you get only the words you want. That’s a real time-saver.

Faster, more powerful Safari :

Safari 4 is the latest version of the blazing-fast web browser. It renders web pages at high speed and delivers a range of new features, including full history search, smart address and search fields, an innovative way to display your top sites, industry-leading support for web standards, and more. With Snow Leopard, Safari 4 delivers up to 50 percent faster JavaScript performance thanks to its 64-bit support.6 In addition, Safari is even more resistant to crashes. It turns out that the number one cause of crashes in Mac OS X is browser plug-ins. So Apple engineers redesigned Safari to make plug-ins run separately. If a plug-in crashes on a web page, Safari will keep running

More reliable disk eject :

Snow Leopard improves the reliability of ejecting discs and external drives. Sometimes when an application or process is using the files on a drive, Mac OS X prevents you from ejecting it, but you don’t always know why. In Snow Leopard, you’ll get fewer of those errors and when you do get them, you’ll see exactly which application is using the drive, so you can quit it and eject the drive properly.

More efficient file sharing :

The Bonjour technology in every Mac makes file and media sharing virtually effortless. Now Bonjour in Snow Leopard makes sharing more energy efficient. If you have a computer in your home or office that shares files — like media files for your Apple TV — you have to leave the computer on all the time, which isn’t very energy efficient. With Snow Leopard and a compatible AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule base station, however, your computer can go to sleep yet continue to share its files with other computers and devices, waking when you need it and sleeping when you don’t.

Enhancements and Refinements in Mac OS X Snow Leopard :

Mac OS X Snow Leopard includes refinements, both big and small, to a wide range of applications, processes, and interface elements.

  • Finder
  • Dock
  • Systemwide
  • iChat
  • Safari 4
  • QuickTime X
  • Preview
  • Universal Access
  • Mail, iCal, Address Book
  • TextEdit
  • System Preferences
  • Installation
  • Advanced Technologies
  • Xcode
Next Generation Technologies

New core technologies in Snow Leopard unleash the power of today’s advanced hardware technology and prepare MAC OS X for future innovation. Since 2001, the breakthrough technologies and rock-solid UNIX foundation of Mac OS X have made it not only the world’s most advanced operating system but also extremely secure, compatible, and easy to use. Snow Leopard continues this innovation by incorporating new technologies that offer immediate improvements while also smartly setting it up for the future.

64 Bit

64-bit computing used to be the province of scientists and engineers, but now this generational shift in computing gives all users the tools to apply the power of 64-bit to speed up everything from everyday applications to the most demanding scientific computations. Although Mac OS X is already 64-bit capable in many ways, Snow Leopard takes the next big step by rewriting nearly all system applications in 64-bit code¹ and by enabling the Mac to address massive amounts of memory. Now Mac OS X is faster, more secure, and completely ready for the future.

Built-in applications are now 64-bit :

Nearly all system applications — including the Finder, Mail, Safari, iCal, and iChat — are now built with 64-bit code. So not only are they able to take full advantage of all the memory in your Mac, but the move to 64-bit applications also boosts overall performance. Together with other refinements and improvements in Snow Leopard, this means that just about everything you do — from launching applications like QuickTime to running JavaScript in Safari to opening image files — will feel faster and more responsive.

More secure than ever :

Another benefit of the 64-bit applications in Snow Leopard is that they’re even more secure from hackers and malware than the 32-bit versions. That’s because 64-bit applications can use more advanced security techniques to fend off malicious code. First, 64-bit applications can keep their data out of harm’s way thanks to a more secure function argument-passing mechanism and the use of hardware-based execute disable for heap memory. In addition, memory on the system heap is marked using strengthened checksums, helping to prevent attacks that rely on corrupting memory.

32-bit compatible :

To ensure simplicity and flexibility, Mac OS X still comes in one version that runs both 64-bit and 32-bit applications. So you don’t need to update everything on your system just to run a single 64-bit program. And new 64-bit applications work just fine with your existing storage devices, PCI cards, and Snow Leopard-compatible printers.

Grand Central Dispatch :

More cores, not faster clock speeds, drive performance increases in today’s processors. Grand Central Dispatch takes full advantage by making all of Mac OS X multicore aware and optimizing it for allocating tasks across multiple cores and processors. Grand Central Dispatch also makes it much easier for developers to create programs that squeeze every last drop of power from multicore systems.

OpenCL :

With graphics processors surpassing speeds of a trillion operations per second, they’re capable of considerably more than just drawing pictures. OpenCL in Snow Leopard is a technology that makes it possible for developers to tap the vast gigaflops of computing power currently in the graphics processor and use it for any application.
The skyrocketing power of GPUs. Over the last few years the performance of graphics processing units (GPUs)  has grown exponentially as measured in gigaflops. Today’s fastest GPUs are capable of over one teraflop, as much as the room-size ASCI RED supercomputer of just 12 years ago.

Innovation for Everyone

With a single click, QuickTime Player can now capture audio or video using the built-in camera and microphone in your Mac. You can easily trim media to the perfect length, then send it to iTunes for syncing to an iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV. You can also use QuickTime Player to publish your media to MobileMe or YouTube — without worrying about codec formats or resolutions.

Built for smooth playback :

QuickTime X is optimized for the latest modern media formats — such as H.264 and AAC — through a new media architecture that delivers stutter-free playback of high-definition content on nearly all Snow Leopard-based Mac systems. QuickTime X maximizes the efficiency of modern media playback by using the graphics processor to scale and display video. QuickTime X further increases efficiency by supporting GPU-accelerated video decoding of H.264 files.
Video streaming from any server. QuickTime X takes Internet video streaming to new levels with support for HTTP live streaming. Unlike other streaming technologies, HTTP live streaming uses the HTTP protocol — the same network technology that powers the web. That means QuickTime X streams audio and video from almost any web server instead of special streaming servers, and it works reliably with common firewall and wireless router settings. HTTP live streaming is designed for mobility and can dynamically adjust movie playback quality to match the available speed of wired or wireless networks, perfect whether the video is watched on a computer or on a mobile device like iPhone or iPod touch.
High performance, high quality.

The trackpad is the screen :

The advanced screen-reading technology in Mac OS X, VoiceOver, now offers a breakthrough new capability: You can control your computer using gestures on a Multi-Touch trackpad even if you can’t see the screen. The trackpad surface on your Mac notebook represents the active window on your computer, so you can touch to hear the item under your finger, drag to hear items continuously as you move your finger, and flick with one finger to move to the next or previous item. You’ll hear how items are arranged on the screen, and you can jump directly to an item just by touching the corresponding location on the trackpad. For example, you can drag your finger around the trackpad to learn how items are arranged in a web page, a spreadsheet, a presentation, or any document with text. The more you touch, the more information you gather.

More braille support, greater collaboration :

The Mac is the only computer that supports braille displays right out of the box. Snow Leopard broadens this built-in support by including the latest drivers for over 40 models, including wireless Bluetooth displays. Just connect one and start using it — no additional software installation necessary.
Snow Leopard also introduces a new feature, called braille mirroring, that enables multiple USB braille displays to be connected to one computer simultaneously. It’s perfect for classroom settings, where teachers can lead all of their students through the same lesson at the same time, even if the students are using different display models.

World-class web browsing :

VoiceOver in Snow Leopard offers new capabilities that make web browsing easier, faster, and more enjoyable. VoiceOver has been updated to take full advantage of powerful multicore processors, so it can scan and analyze large, complex web pages quickly and allow you to enter commands right away. VoiceOver will begin reading an entire web page automatically after it loads, and you can use key commands or gestures to control VoiceOver as it’s talking. To help you more quickly size up web pages you haven’t visited before, VoiceOver can provide a customizable web page summary, including the title, number of tables, headers, links, form elements, and more.

The rotor :

Instead of forcing you to memorize keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the screen, VoiceOver offers a unique virtual control called a rotor. When you turn it — by rotating two fingers on the trackpad as if you were turning a dial — VoiceOver moves through text based on a setting you choose. For example, after setting the rotor to “Word” or “Character,” each time you flick, VoiceOver moves through the text one word at a time or one character at a time — perfect when you’re proofreading or editing text. You can also use the rotor to navigate web pages. When you’re on a web page, the rotor contains the names of common items, such as headers, links, tables, images, and more. You select a setting, then flick up or down to move to the previous or next occurrence of that item on the page, skipping over items in between.

Find information fast with auto web spots :

Many web pages are filled with complex design elements or lack useful HTML tags, making them difficult to convey through a screen reader. So Apple invented new technologies to comprehend and interpret the visual design of web pages, then use the information to assign virtual tags called “auto web spots” to mark important locations on the page. If you’re on a newspaper website, for example, there might be an auto web spot for each lead story, another for a box containing weather or sports scores, and so on. You can jump from web spot to web spot with a keystroke or the flick of a finger. And if there’s a particular feature on a site you visit often, you can assign a “sweet spot” on that page so that VoiceOver will go there first when the page opens.

Create custom labels :

Sometimes items in applications are not well labeled, so VoiceOver can describe them only with vague terms like “blank,” “empty,” or “button.” If you know what the item is or have sighted assistance, you can assign a custom label. The next time you visit the item, VoiceOver will describe it using your label. You can add as many labels as you like and export your labels to a file that can be shared with other VoiceOver users.

Conclusion :

Mac OS X already includes a range of assistive technologies and features that help people with disabilities experience what the Mac has to offer. Now innovations in Snow Leopard advances accessibility even further. With Snow Leopard, Mac is the only computer with built-in support for the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server. So you can use your Mac — with all the features and applications you love — at home and at work and have all your messages, meetings, and contacts in one place. There are now over three years, Apple chose to completely change the architecture of the processors in its range of micro-computers, replacing IBM’s PowerPC by Intel chips. But such a transition takes time to remain compatible with older machines, the software was so far not optimized for the new architecture starting with OS X.5 (aka Leopard). It is only with the new version of its OS X Released Friday, August 28, Apple completed the transition. No changes were made in graphics, Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard is turned on optimization.


  1. 64-bit apps (w/o GUI) were supported as far back as 10.4. 10.5 added support for 64-bit apps with GUI. Since both 10.4 and 10.5 supported 64-bit apps, they both also allowed use of more than 4 Gigs–as far back as April of 2005.

    10.6 added a 64-bit kernel, though some Macs boot to a 32-bit kernel.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here