Saturday, August 29, 2009

Has Apple unleashed Snow Leopard earlier into the wild?

Apple released its Snow Leopard into the wild a little early, while Microsoft revealed its release plans for Windows 7 this week.

Apple began shipping its newest operating system to customers on Friday, a little earlier than expected. Mac OS X Snow Leopard is not as much about adding new features as it is about refining the code in the operating system. For instance, according to Apple, 90 percent of the Mac OS X code has been worked on for the Snow Leopard release.

The CNET Reviews team took the new OS for a spin and gave it a rating of excellent in its review:

Interface enhancements like Expose in the Dock and better file and folder viewing in Stacks make finding apps and files much easier. A completely overhauled QuickTime X now sports a cleaner interface and recording tools. The much-anticipated Exchange support across Mail, the Address Book, and iCal is huge for those who take their Macs to work.

However, the team notes that Snow Leopard will work only on Intel-powered Macs; PowerPC users are out of luck.

Snow Leopard could include some features that would make it secure, or at least push it closer to the level of security that Vista and Windows 7 have, experts said this week.

Contrary to popular belief, Macintosh is not more secure from a software standpoint than modern Windows; it's merely safer to use because malware writers prefer to target the platform with the biggest install base, according to Charlie Miller and Dino Dai Zovi, co-authors of The Mac Hacker's Handbook, which came out this spring.

"Apple hasn't implemented all the security features that Vista has," Miller said. "They made some improvements in Leopard, but they are still behind."

Mac OS X Snow Leopard will cost $29 as an upgrade for Leopard users. For Mac OS X Tiger users, the Mac Box Set, which includes Mac OS X Snow Leopard, iLife '09 and iWork '09, will cost $169.

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