I have Windows, Macintosh, and Linux systems sitting on my desk. All systems are connected to a KVM switch so that I can use one monitor, one keyboard, and one mouse to connect to any of those systems. I can switch between systems in less than a second by simply pushing the appropriate button on the KVM switch.
For most tasks, I prefer to use the Macintosh. It is easier to use, requires less "fussing" to keep it operational, and generally works better. It also makes constant backups of the entire hard drive so that I can instantly restore anything should I delete something accidentally. Nothing is ever 100% but the Mac seems to get most tasks done with ease when compared to Windows or Linux. I can always switch to Windows or Linux within a second or so, but I don't do that very often as the Mac seems to be the most effective tool for most tasks.
I was interested and a bit amused to read today's announcement of the new version of the Macintosh operating system.
Those of us who use both Macintosh and Windows already know that most of the features in Windows Vista and the new Windows 7 operating systems have been available in Macintosh for several years. Today's announcement from Apple seems to leapfrog ahead of Microsoft's announced-but-not-yet-shipping Windows 7. (Windows 7 is available now in a beta version but is not expected to be available on store shelves until October. The new Macintosh Snow Leopard will be available in September.)
The new Macintosh operating system, called Snow Leopard, reportedly runs faster than ever before. Even better, Snow Leopard is half the size of the previous operating system and frees up to 6 gigabytes of drive space once installed.
Best of all is the pricing: $29 for an upgrade for anyone using Mac OS X Leopard. Compare that to the prices for Windows Vista upgrades (over $100) or the rumored prices for Windows 7 Home Premium ($49) and Windows 7 Professional ($99). Those prices have not yet been confirmed by Microsoft, however.
When was the last time you heard of an operating system upgrade from Microsoft that ran faster and required less disk space than the previous version? And was available as an upgrade for only $29?
Here is the official announcement from Apple:
Apple today unveiled Mac OS(R) X Snow Leopard(TM), an even more powerful and refined version of the world’s most advanced operating system and the foundation for future Mac(R) innovation. Snow Leopard builds on a decade of OS X innovation and success with hundreds of refinements, new core technologies, out of the box support for Microsoft Exchange and new accessibility features. Snow Leopard will ship as an upgrade for Mac OS X Leopard users in September 2009 for $29.
“We’ve built on the success of Leopard and created an even better experience for our users from installation to shutdown,” said Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Apple engineers have made hundreds of improvements so with Snow Leopard your system is going to feel faster, more responsive and even more reliable than before.”
For the first time, system applications including Finder, Mail, iCal(R), iChat(R) and Safari are 64-bit and Snow Leopard’s support for 64-bit processors makes use of large amounts of RAM, increases performance, and improves security while remaining compatible with 32-bit applications. Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) provides a revolutionary new way for software to take advantage of multicore processors. GCD is integrated throughout Snow Leopard, from new system-wide APIs to high-level frameworks and programming language extensions, improving responsiveness across the system. OpenCL, a C-based open standard, allows developers to tap the incredible power of the graphics processing unit for tasks that go beyond graphics.
Snow Leopard builds support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 right into Mac OS X Mail, Address Book and iCal so you can use these applications to send and receive email, create and respond to meeting invitations, and search and manage your contacts with global address lists. Exchange information works seamlessly within Snow Leopard so users can take advantage of OS X only features such as fast Spotlight(TM) searches and Quick Look previews. Snow Leopard is the only desktop operating system with out of the box support for Exchange 2007 and businesses of any size will find it easier to integrate Macs into their organization.
Every Mac includes innovative features and technologies for users with special needs, and Snow Leopard adds groundbreaking new features that make the Mac experience even more accessible to those with a vision impairment. Apple’s Multi-Touch(TM) trackpad is now integrated with the VoiceOver screen reader so users can hear and navigate different parts of a window or the desktop by moving a single finger around the trackpad as if it were the screen. Snow Leopard also introduces built-in support for wireless bluetooth braille displays and the connection of multiple braille displays simultaneously to one Mac.
Pricing & Availability
Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard will be available as an upgrade to Mac OS X version 10.5 Leopard in September 2009 through the Apple Store(R) (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The Snow Leopard single user license will be available for a suggested retail price of $29 (US) and the Snow Leopard Family Pack, a single household, five-user license, will be available for a suggested price of $49 (US). For Tiger(R) users with an Intel-based Mac, the Mac Box Set includes Mac OS X Snow Leopard, iLife(R) ‘09 and iWork(R) ‘09 and will be available for a suggested price of $169 (US) and a Family Pack is available for a suggested price of $229 (US).
The Mac OS X Snow Leopard Up-To-Date upgrade package is available to all customers who purchased a qualifying new Mac system from Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller between June 8, 2009 and the end of the program on December 26, 2009, for a product plus shipping and handling fee of $9.95 (US). Users must request their Up-To-Date upgrade within 90 days of purchase or by December 26, 2009, whichever comes first. For more information please visit www.apple.com/macosx/uptodate. Snow Leopard requires a minimum of 1GB of RAM and is designed to run on any Mac computer with an Intel processor. Full system requirements can be found at www.apple.com/macosx/techspecs.