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Apple Outs $29 Snow Leopard & Launches Safari 4

Gordon Kelly


Apple Outs $29 Snow Leopard & Launches Safari 4

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...


Snow Leopard

Safari 4


June 9, 2009, 4:35 am

now if I could only upgrade from XP or W7 to Snow Leopard for £18! :)


June 9, 2009, 4:43 am

so £18... for a service pack? And they're criticizing Microsoft?


June 9, 2009, 9:01 am

excellent move by apple


June 9, 2009, 11:57 am

Nice to see a reasonably priced upgrade, although SL doesn't add lots of new eye candy, it is a significant upgrade. Puts some pressure on Microsoft, who arguably should follow suit as W7, for all its improvements is very much built upon the Vista core.

It'll be tough for them to ignore the revenues from a more normally priced upgrade though, they would have more to loose than Apple.

Steve Austin

June 9, 2009, 12:45 pm

I take it this offer isn't available to those of us still using Tiger however... ;-)

Daniel 2

June 9, 2009, 1:26 pm

@Gnormie: They're criticising Microsoft, because they'll be charging you around £150 more for a similar 'service pack'. Windows 7 is essentially still Vista, or rather the Vista we were expecting the first time round.

@ Steve Austin: As long as you have an Intel Mac you can install SL for £28 regardless whether you're running Tiger or Leopard. Mac OS never came in 'upgrade from last OS only' editions.


June 9, 2009, 2:03 pm

Gutted to see that SL isn't going to be available for those of use still on PowerPC based macs...


June 9, 2009, 2:10 pm

Kudos to Apple for this.

Microsoft will fleece everyone who upgrades as usual mainly because they know people will pay through the nose for any old rubbish provided they are spoon fed plenty of hype and publicity puff pieces (see TR hot news item about Windows 7 box).


June 9, 2009, 2:58 pm

@ Daniel

Have you used Windows 7? Because your comment shows you obviously haven't, as Windows 7 feels very much new and accomplished and way more then a service pack. I'll admit that Snow Leopard includes more then what would be in your average service pack but not enough to justify paying for over £5 for it.


June 9, 2009, 3:19 pm

@Gnormie - a fiver? Are you serious? It's a near-complete re-write of the underlying code that... wait for it... actually provides you with a faster machine after installation. Not a service pack by any stretch of the imagination. $29 is very cheap indeed for what you're getting, even better if you have multiple macs and get the family pack at $49.

As for Windows 7, the problem there isn't Windows 7 but the pile o' garbage that was Vista. It's better than it was following the service pack but there are still a LOT of problems with it. Windows 7 is built on top of the Vista code base but makes it what Vista SHOULD have been in the first place. I think it's understandable that those of us who paid for Vista out of our own pocket will be a little tetchy if we're expected to pay a lot of money for that update.

Neil B

June 9, 2009, 3:55 pm

Am I the only person in the world who actually quite likes Vista? I was expecting it to be rubbish but when my PC blew up I decided to take the plunge and get a new one with Vista installed, once you put everything where you can find it (like XP) it's a pleasure to use...


June 9, 2009, 6:13 pm

@Neil B I too like vista its far better than XP IMO, runs smoothly and very quickly, also all of my friends who have vista have had no problems either, no idea why people keep banging on about problems that as I view it dont exist :S


June 9, 2009, 7:18 pm

So how much will it cost for us Brits?

Neil B

June 9, 2009, 7:39 pm

@Jay, well at least that's two of us, maybe we should set-up some kind of support group...


June 9, 2009, 7:53 pm

First I need to get this off my chest windows 7 is NOT vista it is in fact more similar to xp. Second of all this glorified service pack should undoubtedly be free considering the premium you pay for a mac


June 9, 2009, 10:04 pm

@ Jay - It's because vista did have some problems before SP1, but after that it was smooth running from there on.

The problem is, one your product is tainted, people refuse to try it out and adopt the herd mentality "I heard from mister X that Vista was awful..." Vista is great. The highlights of Windows 7 over Vista can be summed up as

-smoother/faster transition between programs

-better window resizing controls

-improved taskbar

-libraries support

That's about it. Other than that, you would find it difficult to differentiate between the two. Plus if the core program Vista was flawed it would necessarily mean all the components built above it were also flawed. This is not the case in my experience. W7 is just as stable as Vista SP1 is.


June 9, 2009, 10:39 pm

I wonder how much of that 6GB saving over Leopard was gained by ditching PowerPC support?

As to being a glorified service pack, we're so used to gaining new features with OS upgrades that when a streamlined, faster OS is released we dismiss it as a service pack. Take away Windows 7's new taskbar, and 7 is just a better, faster Vista. Nothing wrong with that- there was nothing much wrong with Vista and Leopard in the first place.


June 10, 2009, 12:28 am

@Andrew Violet

7 is only similar to XP in that it runs nice on older hardware. Otherwise it's definitely Vista 2.0. Apart from performance XP is pretty rubbish.


June 10, 2009, 12:47 am

It should perhaps also be noted that anyone buying a Mac from June 8th onward gets Snow Leopard for £7.95: http://www.apple.com/uk/macosx...

And yeah, the comments on Windows 7 were pretty weak. They know fine well that Microsoft is catching up.

Tony Walker

June 10, 2009, 7:37 am

MIcrosoft should've stuck with Windows 2000. Or better still the "b" version of Windows 95 which was to the original Windows 95 what 7 is to Vista.

Snow Leopard won't be available to Power PC users as there have been some serious re-writes to the code, mainly (completely?) in 64-bit x86 code.


June 11, 2009, 3:58 pm

The lowER prices are definitely a concession that Windows is catching up. We all know Apple does not relent on their high prices easily. You can consider any further price cuts post Windows 7 release as Apple's Nuclear Bomb Option.

gareth edwards

June 12, 2009, 2:55 pm

Price of a curry and a few pints for a quicker, leaner machine and a bit more HD space - Sounds like an absolute bargain.

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