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Apple Outs $29 Snow Leopard & Launches Safari 4

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Despite reports to the contrary the iPhone 3G S (yep, there's a gap) wasn't the only product announcement at WWDC...

Also grabbing our attention is the expected unveiling of Snow Leopard, Apple's incremental upgrade to its Mac OS X 'Leopard' operating system.

While looking less of an overhaul than Tiger to Leopard, Snow Leopard nevertheless impresses on multiple accounts with all core apps now written in 64bit (Mail and Time Machine benefit substantially), GPU-exploiting OpenCL and Grand Central Dispatch tech to assist app optimisation with multicore CPUs. It will however be Intel only.

Finder has also been rewritten to produce more accurate and faster results while support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 is in there and QuickTime X gets a UI overhaul along with basic video editing tools and uploading functionality. Handwriting recognition comes with new trackpads too while Snow Leopard remarkably has half the install footprint of Leopard saving 6GB of drive space.

On the browsing side, the blazingly quick Webkit based Safari 4 is ready to come out of beta and while that won't be a Snow Leopard exclusive the new platform will exclusively add 'Crash Resistance'. This automatically refreshes a page should it crash, rather than send down the whole browser and is indeed rather like Chrome though Apple claims Safari 4 will be even faster than Google's speed machine. It's free to download now.

Perhaps the best bit of news however is the price of Snow Leopard with Apple making this 'upgrade' available to Leopard users for just $29 (£18) when it launches in September (beating Windows 7 to market by a full month). A 'family pack' (3 licences) will set you back a mere $49.

On a less pleasant note Apple spent far too long trying to unfairly label Windows 7 as Vista with a new name which is utter nonsense. Certainly Microsoft has stooped this low with its recent 'expensive Apple' ad campaign but let's hope from now on both can concentrate their efforts on your their own products and may the best ruthless mega-corp win...

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Snow Leopard
Safari 4

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