Apple’s next version of the Mac OS is called Snow Leopard. It’s not out yet, but it will be soon, and I am already getting questions about it. Here are the answers.
What’s Snow Leopard? Snow Leopard is Mac OS X 10.6. Rather than introduce hundreds of new features, Snow Leopard is focussed on being faster than 10.5 (Leopard), with fewer bugs. I didn’t notice a lot of bugs in 10.5 so I think the thing we’ll appreciate the most in 10.6 is speed. People who need Exchange Server support (you know who you are– you’re the ones who wanted to see your company’s calendar and address book like your PC-using coworkers) will appreciate Snow Leopard’s ability in that area. It’s easy as pie to set up.
When can I get it? Apple says “September 2009.” Note that when Apple says “September” they don’t mean “September 1st.” So, we don’t really know when it’s coming, but sometime before September 30th, 2009. Whenever it does come out, it will be standard on all new Macs, but of course you can buy it on a DVD for your existing Mac.
What’s it cost? If you have 10.5 already, and you bought your machine before June 8th, 2009, the cost is $29. That’s pretty good. If you don’t have 10.5 already, you can buy one of Apple’s Box Sets (iWork, iLife, and Snow Leopard), for $169.
If you bought a Mac after June 8th, 2009, you are eligible for a $9.95 “Up-To-Date” program, direct from Apple. May as well do it now.
Will it work on my Mac? Maybe. If you have an Intel-based Mac, yes, it will work. If you don’t, no, it won’t work. Look at “About This Mac” under the Apple menu. You’ll see something like this (without the red part, but that’s where you need to look):
If it says “Intel” in the Processor section you’re all set. If it says “G4” or “G5” I’m sorry to say that 10.5 is as high as it goes for for that Mac.
Mac OS X Server version 10.6 Snow Leopard
(No, you almost certainly don’t need the server version)