Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard from Apple is the long-awaited successor to Apple's groundbreaking Leopard operating system. While the differences between Snow Leopard and its predecessor are not immediately evident on the surface -- the look and feel remains the same -- users will quickly realize that this version of OS X is an enhanced, streamlined, and refined edition of its predecessor. Snow Leopard is optimized for use with 64-bit processors, specifically those made by Intel. It is the first version of OS X that does not support Macs that use PowerPC G3, G4, and G5 CPUs.
Because OS X software engineers were able to concentrate their efforts on writing code for Intel Macs, the operating system performs much better than the previous version. The newly-optimized Finder, completely rewritten in the advanced Cocoa programming language, renders icons nearly twice as fast as before. That's not all: Time Machine backups are nearly 80% faster, and wake from sleep shut down times are completed in nearly half the time as in Leopard. The operating system also takes up 7GB less hard drive space than before, in part due to the elimination of the need for Universal Binary applications. All-in-all, Snow Leopard delivers a 50% performance increase when compared to Leopard.
The core application of OS X is Finder, from which you launch applications and browse files on your hard drive. In addition to speed enhancements, Snow Leopard's Finder has been enhanced with a more customizable Spotlight search and enhanced icon views. OS X's Exposé, which is used to take a quick look at open windows, is now integrated into the Dock, allowing you to quickly view open windows on an application-by-application basis if desired. Leopard users who use stacks to gain quick access to specific folders on their hard drive will be happy to know that they are now scrollable, allowing you to more easily navigate through them to locate a specific file.
Of course, the tried and true Mac interface is retained by Snow Leopard. All of the expected bundled applications and modules are still there in familiar places: Boot Camp, Quick Look browsing, Spotlight search, Apple's venerable Mail client, iCal scheduling, the ever-handy Address Book, iTunes, and Photo Booth. Advanced users are still able to work with Terminal, Disk Utility, Automator, AppleScript, and Xcode.
Snow Leopard is a worthy successor to its nearly-homophonic predecessor. It refines the robust feature set of OS X, running more efficiently and occupying less hard drive real estate, in order to provide users with an even more impressive computing experience. Most importantly, this upgrade is priced to be an excellent value by any means. It is quite a rare occurrence when any computer software program will offer such marked performance improvements over the previous version at such a modest upgrade price.
What's New - Refinements
- Improved Performance
- Snow Leopard builds upon the ease of use, simplicity, and reliability that were already found in Mac OS X. Apple engineers worked to improve speed across the board, from minor operations such as ejecting external hard disks to more time-intensive tasks such as the actual operating system install process.
- Finder Enhancements
- Finder has been completely rewritten in the Cocoa language to take advantage of modern technologies including 64-bit processing and OS X's Grand Central Dispatch. The entire interface is more responsive on all levels, delivering snappier performance. Customizable Spotlight search options allows you to more easily locate files, and an enhanced icon view lets you thumb through a multipage document or watch a QuickTime movie without having to leave Finder.
- Apple's Exposé has always been able to tile open windows at the touch of a key, allowing you to easily switch to an open window. Now it has been refined for more convenient use. It features integration with the system Dock, allowing you to click and hold any application icon in order to reveal all open windows specific to that program. The general look and feel of Exposé has also been improved, now showing revealed windows in an organized grid to help you more easily locate a specific window.
- First introduced in Leopard, stacks let you store folders on your Dock for quick access to files stored within them. Snow Leopard adds the ability to scroll through stacks, making them much more useful for folders that contain a large number of files. You can even navigate into subfolders within a stack.
- Time Machine
- Time Machine is an integrated backup system that uses an external hard drive or Apple Time Capsule router to create a real-time backup of your system. Backups to a Time Capsule now complete up to 80% faster than before, greatly improving performance for users who opt to backup their system over Wi-Fi.
- Wake from Sleep
- Snow Leopard wakes your Mac from sleep up to twice as fast as previous versions of OS X when you have screen locking enabled. Shutting down your system nets an 80% speed increase, allowing you to save precious time when you are shutting down your computer in order to head home or to the airport.
- Faster Installation
- The operating system installation process is up to 50% faster than previous versions, while at the same time becoming more comprehensive and reliable. Snow Leopard even scans all of your installed applications, setting aside any that are not compatible with the OS. A power failure during an OS install used to be a potential disaster; now you can restart an install without losing any data if your power goes out during the process.
- Reduced Disk Space Requirements
- Snow Leopard occupies less than half the disk space of its predecessor. It uses only 5GB of hard drive space compared to Leopard's 12GB requirement. This allows you to store about 1750 more MP3 songs or a few thousand extra digital photographs on your system.
- QuickTime X
- QuickTime X, the next-generation media player, features a new player module with a clean, uncluttered design. The QuickTime Player allows you to perform basic trim video editing and upload your movies to YouTube or MobileMe. It delivers more efficient media playback, HTTP-based live web streaming, and improved color accuracy.
- Chinese Character Entry
- Entering Chinese characters on a computer has always been a daunting task: you would have to type in a phonetic spelling of Chinese words and the computer would then convert them to proper Chinese characters. Snow Leopard allows you to draw the characters directly onto the multi-touchpad trackpad found on current Mac notebooks. They'll appear on the screen in a special input window, which recommends characters based on what you drew. The input window is even smart enough to offer suggestions for subsequent characters based on what you have already written.
- iChat's video capabilities are improved in Snow Leopard. New technology addresses many common router incompatibilities that could interfere with connections. If iChat is unable to make a direct video connection, it can use the AIM relay server to create a successful chat session. You'll also need two-thirds less bandwidth, 300kbps instead of 900kbps, to supports high-resolution 640x480 video chat. iChat Theater, which allows you to host video presentations over the web, now supports full-resolution 640x480 video: a full 4 times that which it previously supported.
- Services Menu
- OS X's Services menu allows you to use the features of 1 application while working in another. Snow Leopard improves this, showing only the services appropriate for the application that you're using or the content that you're viewing. You can access services via a right-click of your mouse or Control-click of your trackpad. You can even configure the menu to show only the services you want, and can create your own services via the Automator.
- Printer Support
- Snow Leopard ensures that you have the most current printer driver, ensuring that you get the most from the printer. OS X automatically downloads the latest driver when you first plug a printer into your system. It periodically checks to make sure the driver is up to date, using the Software Update system to download newer drivers as they become available.
- Automatic Time Zone Detection
- Frequent travelers will be happy to know that Snow Leopard can automatically set your computer's time zone. It uses Core Location technology, which locates known Wi-Fi hotspots in your area, to set your computer's time.
- Preview Application
- The Preview application has always done a great job displaying PDF files, but not so much when it comes to selecting and copying text from a PDF to the clipboard. Rather than grab text from one column of a multi-column document, it would take text from across several columns on a page, creating a jumbled mess of text. Snow Leopard's Preview applies sophisticated artificial intelligence algorithms to address this problem. It analyzes the layout of each page in the PDF, identifying columns. This allows you to select text from a single column, without grabbing any words that don't interest you, speeding your ability to harvest information from a PDF.
- Safari 4
Safari 4, Apple's blazing-fast web browser, renders web pages at extremely high speeds. It also supports full search of browsing history, smart address and search fields, web standard compliance, and a landing page which displays your top 12 oft-visited sites.
- Quick Disk Eject
- Snow Leopard makes it easier to eject discs and external hard drives. In the past, OS X prevented you from ejecting a drive if an application or process was attempting to access files stored on it, without telling you who the culprit was. Snow Leopard will produce fewer of these errors, and will let you know what application is accessing the drive so you can quit the program and properly eject the disk.
- Bonjour Networking
- Macs feature Bonjour technology to aid in network file and printer sharing. Snow Leopard's implementation of Bonjour makes sharing more energy efficient for a greener computing experience. If your computer is used to stream files to your Apple TV or similar device and you have an AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule Base station, you'll be able to access files from your computer, even when it is asleep.
What's New - Technology - 64-bit OS
- Uses 64-bit computing, previously a high-end technology restricted to scientific and engineering applications, which greatly enhances computing speed when compared to traditional 32-bit systems. Snow Leopard improves on the 64-bit support of previous operating systems, with nearly every system application having been rewritten in 64-bit code. The result, a faster, more secure operating system that is completely ready for the future.
- The entire computing industry is moving to 64-bit technology. Current Macs can address up to 32GB of physical memory, but 32-bit operating systems can only handle 4GB of RAM at a time. With 64-bit computing, the operating system can theoretically address 16 billion gigabytes -- 16 exabytes -- of memory. It also allows computers to handle twice as much data per clock cycle, improving the speed of numeric calculations and other fundamental computing tasks.
- Snow Leopard's 64-bit support makes OS X ready for future computing enhancements. The OS is capable of supporting up to 16TB of RAM more than 500 times what today's Macs can handle. While this sound like more RAM than you'll ever need, who can predict the requirements of high-performance computers in the future? Snow Leopard is prepared for anything.
- The OS is more secure from hackers and malware than 32-bit operating systems. This is because 64-bit applications can use advanced security techniques that fight off malicious code. These applications keep their data out of harm's way thanks to a more secure function argument-passing mechanism and the use of hardware-based execute disable for heap memory. Memory on the system heap is marked using strengthened checksums, helping to prevent attacks that work by corrupting memory.
- OS X can still run legacy 32-bit applications. You won't need to update everything on your system just to run a single 64-bit program, your old 32-bit applications will work just fine. Newer 64-bit apps will work with your existing hardware, including storage devices, PCI cards, and compatible printers.
What's New - Technology - Grand Central Dispatch
- Grand Central Dispatch takes full advantage of multiprocessor and multicore computer systems by allocating tasks across them in an optimal manner. It also makes it easier for developers to create programs that are able to fully utilize these advanced multicore processor systems.
- In the past, computer chip designers were only able to improve performance by increasing the clock speed of a processor. This generates more heat and consumes more power, both detriments to computers, especially notebooks. To combat this, the industry has moved to chips with multiple processor cores, which can deliver more performance while at the same time consuming less power. Every Mac sold today uses at least 1 multicore Intel processor.
- In order to take advantage of multicore processors, software applications must be programmed with a technology called threads. Software developers use threads to allow multicore processors to work on different parts of a program at the same time. Each application is responsible for its own threading, which reduces the efficiency of the entire system. Because threads are difficult to program, many developers don't take the time to make their applications multicore-capable. Because of this, many applications aren't as fast as they could be.
- Grand Central Dispatch (GCD), new in Snow Leopard, addresses this. It is a set of innovative technologies that makes it easier for developers to fully utilize multicore systems. With GCD, threads are handled by the operating system; not by individual applications. GCD-enabled programs can automatically distribute their work across all available cores, resulting in the best possible performance -- no matter if they're being run on a low-end dual-core Mac mini or a top-of-the-line 8-core Mac Pro. Once developers adopt GDC, you'll start noticing significant improvements in application and system performance.
- GCD is extremely efficient at what it does. It dynamically scales the workload of an application, accounting for the number of processors in the computer. It makes applications more efficient by using only the number of threads required for the work being done. For example, without GCD an application that needs 20 threads at maximum capacity might set up 20 threads and consume the associated resources, even if they were not necessary for the tasks being performed by the application. GCD frees resources when they are not being used, helping to keep the entire system responsive. One can easily imagine the gains in efficiency and performance if every application on your Mac used GCD.
- GCD is deeply integrated in the core of Snow Leopard. This makes it easier for all kinds of applications to take advantage of multicore processors. As a whole, your Mac becomes more efficient at multitasking, resulting in across-the-board performance gains.
- Developers can program for GCD using the Xcode tools that are included with every Mac. The Xcode debugger and Instruments performance analysis tools will give them insight into GCD at runtime. These tools make it possible to quickly inspect any GCD work queue, even down to a specific block of executing code, giving developers a complete understanding of their application as GCD efficiently assigns tasks to each available core.
What's New - Technology - OpenCL
- Graphics processors are surpassing speeds of a trillion operations per second, and they are capable of doing much more than simply drawing pictures. This is where OpenCL steps in. It is a technology that makes it possible for developers to effectively utilize the gigaflops of computing power that are currently housed in your system's graphics processor, and use it in any application.
- Over the last few years, the performance of graphics processing units (GPUs) has grown by leaps and bounds, to the point where it is now measured in gigaflops. Today's fastest GPUs are capable of over 1 teraflop, the same as a room-sized ASCI RED supercomputer of only 12 years ago.
Snow Leopard's OpenCL technology makes the power hidden away in your GPU available for general-purpose computing. Graphics processors will no longer be limited to graphics-intensive applications such as video games and 3D modeling. Once developers start implementing OpenCL, their applications will garner improved speed thanks to their leveraging of your computer's GPU.
As an example, sophisticated financial modeling techniques can be incorporated into desktop accounting software and personal finance software. Media applications can perform complex, intensive operations with larger video and graphics files. Games can have more realistic physics simulations. Scientists and researchers can tackle far more challenging problems using their everyday Mac computers.
- OpenCL automatically optimizes the graphics processor found in your Mac, adjusting itself in accordance with the available processing power. OpenCL provides consistent numeric precision and accuracy, fixing a problem that has hampered GPU-based programming in the past.
- OpenCL, which stands for Open Computing Language, is a C-based programming language with a structure that should be familiar to programmers who currently use Xcode. They'll be able to use the Xcode developer tools to adapter their programs to work with OpenCL, eliminating the need to completely rewrite applications to take advantage of the technology. Only the most performance-intensive parts of applications need to be rewritten in OpenCL C, the vast majority of application code can be left unchanged. OpenCL is an open standard that is being supported by many major players in the computing industry, including AMD, Intel, and nVIDIA.
What's New - Technology - QuickTime X
- Snow Leopard introduces QuickTime X, a major upgrade to Apple's ubiquitous movie file format. QuickTime X includes a brand-new player application, offers optimized support for modern codecs, and delivers more efficient movie playback, making it ideal for any applications that needs to play media content.
- QuickTime X is a next-generation technology that powers the audio and video experience in Snow Leopard. From its inception in 1991, QuickTime has stood at the forefront of video technologies: first with software-based video, then with Internet video. QuickTime X takes another leap forward by building on OS X's amazing media technologies, such as Core Audio, Core Video, and Core Animation, to deliver enhanced playback, greater efficiency, and higher quality.
- QuickTime Player is a standalone application that is used by millions to watch QuickTime-based video. The new player uses the Core Animation technology found in OS X to deliver a clean, uncluttered interface with controls that fade out when they're not needed. Large thumbnail images make navigating chaptered movies simpler than before.
- QuickTime X is optimized for smooth playback of the modern movie formats, including H.264 and AAC. It uses a new media architecture that delivers stutter-free playback of HD content on nearly every Snow Leopard-based Mac system. QuickTime X maximizes the efficiency of modern media playback by utilizing the graphics processor to scale and display video. It increases efficiency by supporting GPU-accelerated video decoding of H.264 files.
- You'll be able to use QuickTime X to take Internet video streaming to new levels with support for HTTP live streaming. Unlike competing streaming technologies, HTTP live streaming uses the HTTP protocol -- the same network technology that powers the web. This allows QuickTime X to stream audio and video from almost any web server, instead of specialized streaming servers, and allows it to work reliably with common firewall and wireless router settings. HTTP live streaming is designed for mobility, dynamically adjusting movie playback quality to match the available speed of wired or wireless networks. This allows you to watch video on a computer or on a mobile device such as an iPhone or iPod touch.
- Because it's built into the heart of Snow Leopard, QuickTime X uses Mac OS X technologies such as Cocoa, Grand Central Dispatch, and 64-bit computing to deliver the greatest-possible performance, enabling the applications to launch up to 2.4 times faster than before. QuickTime X also takes advantage of ColorSync to provide high-quality color reproduction during playback and when sharing media to your iPhone, iPod, or Apple TV.
What's New - Universal Access
- Mac OS X's advanced screen-reading technology, VoiceOver, now offers an impressive new capability: you can control your computer using gestures on a Multi-Touch trackpad, even if you can't see the screen. The trackpad surface on your Mac notebook represents the active window on your computer, allowing you to touch to hear the item under your finger, drag to hear items continuously as you move your finger, and flick with 1 finger to move to the next or previous item. You'll hear how items are arranged on the screen, and you can ump directly to an item just by touching the corresponding location on the trackpad. For example, you can drag your finger around the trackpad to learn how items are arranged in a web page, spreadsheet, presentation, or any document with text. The more you touch, the more information you gather.
The Mac is the only computer that supports Braille displays right out of the box. Snow Leopard broadens this built-in support by including the latest drivers for over 40 models, including wireless Bluetooth displays. Just connect one and start using it - no additional software installation necessary.
Snow Leopard also introduces a new feature, called Braille mirroring, that enables multiple USB Braille displays to be connected to one computer simultaneously. It's perfect for classroom settings, where teachers can lead all of their students through the same lesson at the same time, even if the students are using different display models.
VoiceOver in Snow Leopard offers new capabilities that make web browsing easier, faster, and more enjoyable. VoiceOver has been updated to take full advantage of powerful multicore processors, so it can scan and analyze large, complex web pages quickly and allow you to enter commands right away.
VoiceOver will begin reading an entire web page automatically after it loads, and you can use key commands or gestures to control VoiceOver as it's talking. To help you more quickly size up web pages you haven't visited before, VoiceOver can provide a customizable web page summary, including the title, number of tables, headers, links, form elements, and more.
Snow Leopard fully supports HTML web tables without the need for a forms or table mode. You navigate tables using the same commands you already know. You can hear the contents of a table, including the column title and column and row number, by dragging your finger across the trackpad or using simple keystrokes.
VoiceOver now has a unique virtual control called the rotor, which eliminates the need for you to memorize keyboard shortcuts to navigate your screen. When you rotate two fingers on a Mac with a Multi-Touch trackpad, as if you were turning a dial, VoiceOver moves through text based on a setting you choose. For example, after setting the rotor to "Word" or "Character," each time you flick, VoiceOver moves through the text 1 word or 1 character at a time, respectively. This is perfect for proofreading or editing text.
You can use the rotor to navigate web pages. When you're on a web page, the rotor contains the names of common items, such as headers, links, tables, images, and more. You select a setting, then flick up or down to move to the previous or next occurrence of that item on the page, skipping over items in between.
- The new Quick Nav features uses arrow key combinations to move the VoiceOver cursor, allowing you to control the computer using only one hand, without the need for modifier keys. You'll be able to move up, down, left, and right by pressing the arrow keys individually, or press the up and down arrows together to click a button or a web link. Other combinations let you adjust the rotor and move the VoiceOver cursor according to the setting. Quick Nav will let you navigate and read documents and web pages in no time.
- Web pages are filled with complex design elements, and often lack useful HTML tags, making them difficult to convey through a screen reader. Apple has developed new technologies to comprehend and interpret the visual design of web pages, using the information to assign virtual tags called "auto web spots" to mark important locations on the page. A newspaper website might contain an auto web spot for each lead story, another for a box containing weather or sports scores, and so on. You can jump from web spot to web spot with a keystroke or the flick of your finger. If there is a particular feature on a site that you often visit, you can assign a "sweet spot" on the page so that VoiceOver will go there first when the page opens.
- Items in applications are not always well labeled, leaving VoiceOver to describe them only with vague terms like "blank," "empty," or "button." If you know what an item is, or have sighted assistance, you can assign a custom label to these ambiguous items. The next time you visit them, VoiceOver will describe the item using the custom label. You can add as many labels as you like, and export your labels to a file that can be shared with other VoiceOver users.
VoiceOver has a plethora of new customization options to choose from. You can change the way VoiceOver speaks punctuation, identifies changes in text attributes, announces links, and more. Chose from any of 3 standard verbosity levels - high, medium, and low - or customize them by adjusting 30 separate settings. You can also change the order in which descriptions are spoken and how much description you hear.
Snow Leopard also introduces VoiceOver Commanders, a new category in VoiceOver Utility that lets you assign keys and gestures to open an application, utility, or file, run an AppleScript or Automator workflow, or perform a VoiceOver command. Commanders can help those with physical and learning disabilities by simplifying complex multikey shortcuts and making those commands easier to reach and enter. Choose the Numpad Commander, Keyboard Commander, or Trackpad Commander and begin customizing VoiceOver to suit the way you work.
- Every Mac includes a built-in VoiceOver tutorial called Quick Start. It's the fastest way to learn VoiceOver. Your Mac starts talking soon after you turn it on and teaches you how to begin the Quick Start tutorial. If someone sets up your computer for you, you'll get an invitation to open Quick Start the first time you activate VoiceOver. Quick Start teaches you the keys on the keyboard, basic VoiceOver commands, and gestures. It provides an environment where you can learn at your own pace and practice your skills. It is localized in 18 languages, 9 of which are new to Snow Leopard, so when you purchase new voices for your Mac, you can hear Quick Start in your native language.
What's New - Exchange
- Snow Leopard is the currently the only operating system with built-in support for the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server. You can use your Mac, with all of the features and applications that you love, at home, and at work and have all your messages, meetings, and contacts in one place.
Your Mac works in managed corporate environments, even in companies that support mixed platforms. It can run Microsoft Office applications, and other Windows applications, via Boot Camp. It can connect to any server and share files with virtually any computer. It can also authenticate to Active Directory servers.
Snow Leopard has out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, something which you won't find on Windows-based PCs. Rather than using Outlook to access Exchange services such as e-mail, calendar invitations, and Global Address Lists, you'll use Mail, iCal, and Address Book. Because they're on a Mac, you can continue to take advantage of all of the powerful Mac features that you love, including Spotlight, Quick Look, data detectors, and more. You can even view your Exchange-based work life right alongside your personal mail, calendars, and contacts.
- Setting up Mail, iCal, and Address Book for use with your Exchange account is easy thanks to the Exchange Autodiscovery feature. Assuming that this feature is enabled by your IT department, you just open the Accounts pane in Mail, enter your Exchange user name and password, and check the box to automatically set up your applications. Mail will use Autodiscovery to grab all the pertinent information from the server and configure your settings so that you can start using your applications immediately. Mac OS X also supports manual configuration of your Exchange server settings and remote setup and access of Exchange through most VPN connections.
- You'll be able to access and manage your Exchange e-mail alongside your personal e-mail in the OS X Mail application. When you compose messages, Mail can autocomplete names from the Global Address List. You can create notes and to-do items, and receive and act on event invitations via e-mail. You can also take advantage of Mail's other features: search across all of your accounts at once using Spotlight, create Smart Folders that gather mail messages from any or all accounts based on custom search criteria, use Quick Look to view large previews of attachments without opening the files, and take advantage of data detectors to automatically pick out important bits of information in e-mail messages, including dates, phone numbers, and addresses.
- iCal offers all of the Exchange-based features that you'd expect, including the ability to view real-time availability of coworkers and conference rooms in the Global Address List, and autocomplete names when inviting them to meetings. You can receive and act on meeting invitations in e-mail; you'll receive a .ics attachment that, when opened, will add the appointment to their iCal calendar. iCal also lets you create and manage as many separate calendars as you need, you can create a calendar for work, another for family, another for birthdays, and so on. You can view all of your calendars in a single window or choose to see only the calendars you want. You can even choose to delegate your calendar to a colleague.
- The OS X Address Book is a flexible and convenient application that stores contact information for your family, friends, and colleagues. With exchange support, it also taps into your company's Global Address Lists. This allows you to create groups and Smart Groups with contacts from your local list or an Exchange-based list. You can click an address to open Google Maps or click a URL to open a web browser. Because Address Book information is fully integrated with other OS X apps, Mail and iCal use your contact information to autocomplete names when you're sending e-mail or invitations.
What is Mac OS X?
- Mac OS X is the world's most advanced computer operating system. Built on a UNIX foundation, it is designed to be simple and intuitive to use. It's what makes the Mac innovative, secure, compatible, and easy to use. Quite simply, there is nothing else like it.
- Snow Leopard is easy to use and incredibly powerful. Everything, from the desktop you see when you start up your Mac to the applications that you use on a daily basis, is designed with simplicity and elegance in mind. Regardless of whether you're browsing the web, checking your e-mail, or video chatting with a friend from afar, getting things done is easy to learn, simple to perform, and fun to do. Making amazing things simple requires advanced technologies, and Mac OS X is loaded with them. Not only is OS X built on a stable, time-tested UNIX foundation, it also delivers incredible performance, stunning graphics, and industry-leading support for Internet standards.
- The software on every Mac is written by the same company that makes the computer itself. This results in an integrated system in which everything works together perfectly. Advanced technologies in the operating system take full advantage of the 64-bit, multicore processors and GPUs that power Mac computers. An integrated iSight camera works seamlessly with iChat software so that you can start a video chat with a mouse click. Mac notebooks feature a Multi-Touch trackpad that supports pinching, swiping, and other gestures. OS X communicates with the hardware to deliver incredible battery life by spinning down the hard drive when it is inactive, by intelligently deciding whether the CPU or GPU is best for a task, and by automatically dimming the screen in low-light conditions.
- The most striking feature on any Mac is the elegant user interface found in OS X. Made possible by graphics technologies that rely on the advanced graphics power of a Mac, it supports multiway chatting, real-time reflections, and smooth animations. Fonts on the screen are both beautiful and readable. Soft drop shadows make it clear at a glance which window is active and which are in the background. You can preview any type of file using Quick Look, and because the previews are in high resolution, you can actually read the text. Built-in support for PDF documents allows you to view and create PDFs using almost any application in the system.
- OS X is immune from the viruses that plague PCs. With virtually no effort on your part, Mac OS X protects itself from other malicious applications. It was built for the Internet in the Internet age, offering a variety of sophisticated technologies that help keep you safe from online threats. Every Mac ships with a secure configuration, so you don't have to worry about understanding complex and often-esoteric security settings. Most importantly, OS X does not slow you down with constant security alerts and sweeps. Apple responds quickly to online threats and automatically delivers security updates directly to your Mac.
- Thanks to its versatility and power, OS X is compatible with almost any computing environment, including Windows networks. It works with all of today's digital cameras, printers, and other peripherals without the need to manually download separate drivers. It opens popular file types, including JPG, MP3, and Microsoft Office documents. OS X includes built-in support for the industry-standard PDF format, allowing you to read and create PDFs from almost any application in the system, perfect for sharing documents between Macs and PCs. If you need to run Windows, your Mac can do that too. Snow Leopard is the only operating system with built-in support for the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server, allowing you to use your Mac at home and at work, with all of your messages, meetings, and contacts in the same place.
- OS X comes standard with a wide range of assistive technologies that help people with disabilities experience what the Mac has to offer, including many features you won't find in other operating systems. The integrated VoiceOver screen-reading technology makes it possible for those who are blind or have low vision to control their computer using key commands or gestures on a Multi-Touch trackpad. OS X also offers out-of-the-box support for more than 40 Braille displays, including Bluetooth displays. It supports many other accessibility features, including dynamic full-screen magnification, playback of closed captions, and a scalable screen.
- Snow Leopard is built on the same reliable UNIX foundation that powers industrial-strength servers, helping to ensure that your computing experience is free of system crashes and compromised performance. Even upgrading your Mac to the next version of OS X is reliable and easy. It checks your applications, setting aside programs that are known to be incompatible. If a power outage interrupts your installation, it can start again without losing any data. Upgrading does not require reformatting your drive, allowing you to keep all of your compatible applications, files, and settings. If something goes wrong when you're using your Mac, Time Machine is there, keeping automatic backups of everything on your drive.
- OS X comes in a single, full-featured version that includes a large collection of beautifully designed applications. They not only let you surf the web, conduct video and text chats, manage your contacts, and accomplish other day-to-day tasks, they also work together to make you more productive and let you have more fun.
What is Mac OS X? - Dock + Finder
- The Dock provides fast, 1-click access to frequently used applications, folders, files, and downloads. Finder makes working with your files and documents as easy as browsing your iTunes library.
Located at the bottom of your screen by default, the Dock gives you quick access to your most frequently used applications, files, and folders. Using visually appealing, high-resolution icons, the Dock itself begs to be clicked. When you do, applications spring to life in an instant. A bright signal beacon sits beneath open applications to let you know that they are running at a glance. You can use Exposé from the Dock to instantly see all windows that are open in a specific application.
You can set the Dock to remain at the bottom of your screen, framing your desktop picture and always visible. It can also be set to tuck itself away automatically, ready to return when you move the pointer to the bottom of your screen.
- The Dock comes loaded with icons for many applications that are included with your Mac - Dashboard, Mail, iCal, iPhoto, and many more. However, it's easy to customize to suit your needs. To add a new application or folder, just grab it from the Finder and move it onto the Dock. The Dock will expand to make room for the new item, and if you have a lot of icons, they will automatically scale to fit on your desktop. To make icons easy to identify, they can be set to magnify as you move your mouse over them. Removing and rearranging items is just as simple: click and drag.
A stack is a Dock item that gives you fast, direct access to folders and files. When you click a stack, the files within spring from the dock in a fan or a grid, depending on the number of items or preference that you set. Mac OS X starts you off with premade stacks for downloads, applications, and documents. The Downloads stack automatically captures files you download from Safari, Mail, and iChat. The Applications stack gives you fast access to all your applications. The Documents stack is a great place to keep things like presentations, spreadsheets, and word processing files. The files in each stack can appear as large icons that preview their contents, so it's easy to find the right file before your click.
Stacks are scrollable, so you can easily view all items. You can navigate through folders in a stack to see all the files inside the stack. Create as many stacks as you wish simply by dragging folders to the right side of your Dock.
- Exposé is now integrated into the Dock, allowing you to view open windows of a particular application with a click. Just click and hold any application icon in the Dock, and Exposé tiles the open windows of that application while hiding windows of other open applications. With the clutter cleared away, you can easily find the document that you need. A click makes it the active window, and pressing the space bar gives you a full-screen preview of the windows. When you drag a file onto a Dock icon, all of the open windows in the application pop up, allowing you to place the file into the right window, perfect for those times when you'd like to attach a file to an e-mail message.
- The Finder is the home base for your Mac. Represented by a blue icon with a smiling face, it's one of the first things you'll see when you start working on a Mac. Finder lets you organize and access practically everything on your Mac, including applications, files, folders, discs, and shared drives on your network. You can also see rich, high-quality previews of the contents of your files. Finder takes full advantage of the advanced technologies in Mac OS X, including 64-bit support and Grand Central Dispatch, responding quickly to your actions.
- The sidebar in the Finder window is your starting point when browsing your Mac. iTunes users will feel right at home using it, as it is organized into categories in the same way that the iTunes sidebar is. You'll be able to locate frequently accessed folders, CDs, DVDs, network computers, and the like via the sidebar. With a few clicks, you'll be on the way to finding what you need. The sidebar also features a handy Search For section, which uses Spotlight search to find files that you've modified today, yesterday, or in the past week. It can also find images, movies, or documents. Click on a folder and you'll see an up-to-the-minute lists of files contained within. Just like the Dock, you can customize the sidebar with your own search folders.
- Any Mac or PC in your home network automatically appears on the sidebar. This allows you to easily share files between them, and use Spotlight search and Cover Flow to search network computers. When you click a connected Mac, you can use screen sharing, which lets you see and control another Mac as if you were sitting in front of it. This is useful, for example, when you want to show someone how to use an application or feature.
- OS X helps you navigate everything on your Mac visually with an innovation called Cover Flow. Using Cover Flow, you can flip through documents as easily as you flip through music in iTunes or bookmarks in Safari 4. Each file is displayed as a large preview of its first page, so you can actually see the contents of a document before opening it.
- You'll also be able to look at files in a list view, which allows you to sort them in different ways, including by file name, date modified, or file type. You can see them in multiple column view, which lets you navigate through multiple folders with ease. Finally, you can view them as large icons, up to 512 x 512 pixels in size. Icon view lets you thumb through a multipage document or watch a QuickTime movie right in Finder, speeding your ability to find and view your files.
What is Mac OS X? - Exposé
- Exposé allows you to instantly view all open windows in a stunning style, via a single keystroke. It unshuffles overlapping windows on your desktop, placing them in an organized thumbnail view. You'll be able to quickly locate and switch to any window, or get to any file on your desktop with ease.
Perfect for users who work in multiple applications and documents at the same time, Exposé instantly tiles all open windows, scales them down, and neatly arranges them into a grid, so you can see what's in every single one. It preserves the visual quality of each reduced-size window, ensuring that you can identify its contents with ease. If a full-screen preview is required, simply press the Space bar.
As you move from one tiled window to the next, you'll see the title displayed at the bottom of the window. When you find the window you need, just click it. Magically, every window returns to full size, and the window you clicked is brought to the front of your desktop and made active.
- You can also use Exposé to quickly access your desktop. With a single key press, all open windows push to the side of your screen, revealing your desktop. Simply grab the item that you need and another keypress will bring the windows back to their original locations. You can use this to check and see if a CD or DVD that is burning in the background has completed, or if you need locate and drag a file into an e-mail as an enclosure.
Exposé can also tile the open windows of a particular application. You may have a dozen Keynote presentations open, Exposé makes the process of locating a specific one a breeze. Click and hold the Keynote icon on your Dock, and Exposé will create a tiled grid of all open Keynote windows, ignoring open windows in other applications. With the clutter cleared away, you can easily find the document that you need. A click makes it the active window, pressing the Space bar gives you a full-screen preview of the window. If you prefer keyboard shortcuts, you can tile application windows with a keystroke too.
You can also use Exposé in the Dock to send a file to a specific application window. Simply drag a file onto the icon of an open application and its windows will tile, allowing you to place the file into the window that you desire.
What is Mac OS X? - Quick Look
- Quick Look allows you to instantly preview the contents of your documents without having to open them. Flip through multipage PDFs and Microsoft Office documents, watch full-screen video, view photo slideshows, and more: all with a single click.
- Quick Look is the innovative technology that gives you a sneak peek of entire files, even multiple-page documents and video, without opening them. All you have to do is select a file in Finder and press the Space bar. An elegant transparent window appears, showing you the contents of the file instantly. It's great when you're looking for something specific, but don't have time to open lots of files to find it.
- Quick Look works with nearly every file on your system, including images, text files, PDFs, movies, Keynote presentations, Mail attachments, and Microsoft Office documents. To see a file in Quick Look, simply tap the Space bar or click the Quick Look icon in the Finder window. You can view the file in full screen, and you can open the application that created it with a double-click. Best of all, Quick Look works even if you don't have the application that created it, perfect for those times when a colleague sends you a file that you could not otherwise open.
- You can use Quick Look to your advantage when searching for files to restore via Time Machine. Once you locate the file you are looking for, you can use Quick Look to verify its contents before restoring it to your desktop.
- Quick Look also works in Mail and iChat, allowing you to preview attachments before they are downloaded. Perfect for viewing attached PDFs and Office Documents, you can even view attached photos as a slideshow and add them to your iPhoto library with ease.
What is Mac OS X? - Spotlight
- Spotlight can find anything on your computer as quickly as you can type, whether they are files, e-mail contacts, images, calendar events, or applications. Because it's built into the core of Mac OS X, search results update instantly whenever files change.
- Spotlight is the lightning-fast search technology that is built into Mac OS X. It makes it easy to find what you are looking for, even if you don't know where it's stored on your computer. Conveniently located in the OS X menu bar, the Spotlight search field gives you instant results as you start typing. It searches through files, folders, documents, Mail messages, Address Book contacts, iCal calendars, System Preferences, applications, and dictionary definitions. Spotlight searches aren't confined to your computer, you can also search other computers on your network.
- Built into the core of OS X, Spotlight can deliver search results quickly because it indexes files on your computer as a background process. When you make a change, such as adding a new file, e-mail, or contact, Spotlight automatically updates its index, ensuring that you receive up-to-the-moment search results.
- Spotlight is more than a simple search engine. Its index stores information on metadata contained within supported files: the "what, when, and who" of every bit of information stored on your Mac. These include the type of content, author, edit history, format, size, and too many other details to list in this space. Most document types, including Microsoft Word documents, Adobe Photoshop images, and e-mail contain rich metadata. Because Spotlight indexes content as well, search results include what appears inside a file or document, not just its title. When you click the document, you are immediately taken to the spot in the document with the search terms highlighted.
- Thanks to its speed and flexibility, Spotlight opens up countless new ways for you to organize your files. You can save the results of a search as a Smart Folder that automatically updates as you add, change, or remove documents on your Mac. Smart Folders contain files grouped together based on search criteria instead of physical location, allowing the same file to appear in multiple Smart Folders without moving from its original saved location on your system. There is no need to duplicate, shift, or update files: Spotlight Smart Folders keep everything organized for you.
- In addition to Finder, Spotlight search technology is built into other applications in OS X, including Mail, Address Book, iCal, System Preferences, Preview, and Safari. Regardless of which application you search, results will appear immediately after you start typing a few letters. As your search is customizable, you'll be able to restrict your search to selected mailboxes or fields in Mail if you desire. In Address Book, you'll be able to search your entire contact list, or only select groups.
What is Mac OS X? - Safari 4
- Safari 4 is Apple's web browser application. It is both fast and easy-to-use, sporting a simple, elegant interface and support for the latest Internet standards. Safari does not stand in the way of your enjoyment of the web.
- Sporting a clean, elegant look, Safari allows you to focus on what matters: the content of a web page. The features that you use most are a mere click away, and the integrated Google search bar makes it easy to find what you're looking for.
- Running Safari 4 on Snow Leopard makes it even more resistant to crashes than it was on Leopard. Most crashes in Mac OS X are caused by web browser plug-in crashes. Apple engineers redesigned Safari to make plug-ins run separately from the browser. If a plug-in crashes on a web page, Safari keeps running. Simply refresh the page and get going again.
- Safari allows you to view your browsing history in a dramatic new way: simply type a word or phrase into the History Search field in Top Sites, and Safari presents you with full-page previews of the websites. The sites appear exactly as you did when you last visited them, and you can flip through the results using the familiar Cover Flow interface.
- The Top Sites feature shows you a stunning at-a-glance preview of your favorite web sites. Safari tracks which sites you visit and ranks your favorites, presenting up to 24 thumbnails on a single page, all of which are accessible with a single click. You can customize the display by pinning a favorite site to a specific location in the grid. A star in the upper right of each thumbnail indicates whether a site has added new content since last you visited.
- Supporting the latest standards for secure access and information sharing on the web, Safari protects you both at home and when you're browsing on a public computer. It features integrated antiphishing technology that detects fraudulent websites and warns you before displaying information. It supports EV (Extended Validation) certificates, allowing you to feel confident shopping, updating account information, or paying bills online.
- Integrated parental controls allow you to protect your children as they explore the web. Using the same technology that keeps spam out of your inbox, a content filter takes a quick peek at websites before they load, attempting to determine if they're suitable for young eyes. If they are not, Safari blocks them from being viewed. You can override this filter by creating lists of specific websites that you want, or don't want, your children to see. These controls must be enabled to function, by default they are turned off, offering mature users unhindered access to the web.
What is Mac OS X? - Mail, iCal, Address Book
- Although they are 3 discrete applications, Mail, iCal, and Address Book work hand-in-hand-in-hand. They bring the power of Mac OS X to your e-mail, calendar, and contacts. They feature elegant, easy-to-use interfaces, lightning-fast searches, and compete integration across the applications and your Mac.
- Designed from the ground up specifically for e-mail, Mail features an elegant user interface that makes it easy to manage all of your e-mail from a single, ad-free inbox, even when you are not connected to the Internet. It works with most e-mail standards, including POP3 and IMAP, and most popular e-mail services, such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and AOL Mail. It can access multiple e-mail accounts with ease, allowing you to manage all of your messages from a single program.
- Thanks to Mail, Snow Leopard is the only operating system with built-in support for the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server. You can use your Mac, complete with all of the features and applications that you love, at home and at work with all of your messages, meetings, and contacts in a central location.
- Mail does much more than simply display e-mail messages. It analyzes the contents to help you act on them. If you receive an invitation, Mail allows you to add it to your calendar with ease -- even if such language as "today" or "tomorrow" is used in place of a date. If a location is listed in the invitation, you can click the address to view a Google map of the address. If a message includes a phone number of e-mail address, it can be added to your Address Book with a click.
- An intelligent mail filter automatically identifies and catches messages that Mail thinks are junk. This mail is placed in a special folder, ensuring that your inbox is not clogged with spam. If a junk message does get through, simply click the Junk button, and from then on, similar e-mail will also be placed in the Junk folder. The more you train Mail to recognize junk mail, the better it gets.
- Address Book is a flexible and convenient application that stores contact information for your friends, family, and colleagues. You can import information from other applications, create distribution lists for clubs and groups, print address labels and envelopes, and more. Because Address Book is built on the industry-standard vCard format for storing contact information, your friends can send your cards that can be added to your Address Book via drag and drop: no retyping of contact information is required.
- Address Book can do more than simply display card contents; it also lets you use them. Click an address to ask the web for a Google map showing the location. Click a URL to open the website. Click an e-mail address to instantly send a message or start an iChat conversation.
- iCal is a robust calendar application that allows you to keep track of your busy schedule. You'll be able to create separate calendars for home, school, work, and so on. You can see all of your calendars in a single view, or choose to see only the calendars you want.
- You can use iCal to invite friends and family to events. You'll be able to create invitations using contact information from your Address Book, update your guest list, keep track of attendee responses, and receive the latest status information. A centralized notification box keeps all your invitations and responses in one location so you can manage events in iCal instead of your busy e-mail inbox. When you or another Mac user receives an iCal invitation in Mail, it's automatically added to iCal.
- Spotlight allows you to more easily find information in Mail, iCal, and Address Book. You can use it to search within the applications, including all fields in an e-mail, and all information on a card or appointment, ensuring that you find every possible match. If you're not using the applications, you can still find messages, contacts, and appointments by using Spotlight search in the main OS X menu bar. Start typing a search term and Spotlight returns the related items immediately.
- Spotlight technology also helps you organize your mail and contacts by using Smart Groups and Smart Mailboxes. Simply select the relevant criteria, for example, every contact with a birthday in the next 30 days or every e-mail sent by your boss, and your applications will create a folder containing every item that meets your criteria. Folders stay updated as new items are created, ensuring that they stay current. Smart Groups in Address Book appear in your Group list, and Smart Mailboxes in Mail appear just below your inboxes.
- Because they are Mac OS X applications, Mail, iCal, and Address Book are fully integrated with each other and the other features of your Mac. Mail and iCal use the contacts from Address Book, allowing you to send messages or invitations to individuals and groups. Mail can access your iPhoto library, making it easy to e-mail pictures to your friends and family. If you receive an attachment, Mail lets you use Quick Look to view its contents, without having to save the attachment and launch another application.
- Part of what makes Address Book and iCal so powerful is seamless syncing. They can sync the contact and calendar information on your Mac with your iPhone or other mobile phone, PDA, or iPod touch, so it goes with you everywhere. Add an optional MobileMe account and your contacts and calendars will stay up to date wirelessly across multiple Macs, your iPhone, iPod touch, and the web, allowing you to access the information from any device with an Internet connection.
What is Mac OS X? - iChat
- iChat is a rich instant messaging application that works with AIM and MobileMe accounts, allowing you to stay in touch with friends and family using both text and video chats, regardless of whether they use a Mac or PC.
- A powerful instant text messaging application, iChat is loaded with great features that make sending messages to your friends on AIM and MobileMe both fast and easy. Simple text chats feel like natural conversations, with icons and thought bubbles that make it easy to see what's saying what. You can transmit any type of file, from a web address to a photo, by simply dragging it into your chat. Pictures display right in the message window, web links open in a browser with a click. In short, iChat is the best way to IM.
- Most Macs include a built-in iSight camera and microphone. When you use them with iChat, you get the easiest way to participate in high-quality video and audio chats with your friends and family. You can chat with a single person, or invite several to multiway chat. Featuring a unique 3D view, iChat practically puts everybody in the room with you. View their faces reflected into space, just as if they were sitting around a conference room table. Video backdrops can make it look like you're chatting from the Eiffel Tower, under the sea, or in front of your own custom backdrop.
- Featuring an intuitive interface, iChat shows you when your buddies are available to chat. Bright icons indicate their online status, and whether they're capable of a video chat or just audio. To start a chat, click the camera or phone icon to send an invitation. To add more people, click the icons for the meeting attendees on your buddy list and each colleague steps into your virtual office.
- iChat Theater allows you to share a photo slideshow, Keynote presentation, or video -- in full screen, accompanied by a live video feed of you hosting -- while your audience looks on.
- Screen sharing allows you to observe and control another Mac's desktop, allowing you to collaborate with colleagues, browse the web with a friend, pick plane seats with your spouse, or show another Mac user how to use an application. Both computers have control over the shared screen at all times, and you'll have audio communication while you share a screen, allowing you to banter as you collaborate.
- iChat supports parental controls that can restrict with whom your child can chat with online. You'll be able to approve buddies that you trust, iChat blocks all attempts to send and receive IMs with anyone else. iChat can also automatically hide or display online status so that only buddies approved by you can see if your kids are online.
- iChat also features support for tabbed chats, multiple logins, invisibility, animated buddy icons, SMS forwarding, custom buddy list order, file transfer management, and space-efficient views.
What is Mac OS X? - iTunes
- iTunes plays all of your digital music and video. It syncs content to your iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV, and features an online entertainment superstore that is open 24/7.
- The days of rifling through stacks of CDs or flipping through channels are gone. iTunes puts your entire music and video collection at your fingertips. You'll be able to browse, organize, and play your media from a central location.
- The iTunes store is a 24/7 entertainment superstore from which you can buy music, TV shows, movies, and mobile applications for your iPhone or iPod touch. You can even rent selected movies for playback on your computer, iPod, or Apple TV. It has a library of over 10 million songs, thousands of free podcasts, HD TV show and movie content, and countless audiobooks.
- iTunes is the central hub for syncing media from your computer to your iPod or iPhone. From the application, you can choose which music, photos, contacts, and calendars will sync with your Apple mobile device. It also supports wireless syncing to an Apple TV, allowing you to view your iTunes content on your HDTV.
What is Mac OS X? - QuickTime X
- QuickTime X allows you to watch pristine-quality video in a clean, uncluttered window. You'll be able to record and trim your own movies, and share them on the web with ease.
- Completely redesigned for Snow Leopard, QuickTime X features a brand-new version of the QuickTime Player, the software used by millions to watch video on their computer screen. Thanks to the Core Animation technology found in OS X, the QuickTime Player boasts a clean, uncluttered interface with controls that fade out when not needed. Large thumbnail images make navigating chaptered movies simpler than before. Rather than using text-only chapter names, QuickTime Player displays frame-based thumbnail images for each chapter marker, making it easy to navigate your chaptered media.
- The QuickTime Player allows you to trim your media to an ideal length by removing unwanted portions from the beginning or end of a clip. Rather than relying on a simple timeline, it displays frame-based thumbnails that help you make the perfect edit.
- The QuickTime Player converts your personal media files for use by iTunes and your iPhone, iPod, or Apple TV, using optimal settings for each destination. After conversion, the software delivers the content to your iTunes library. You can also use the software to publish your media to MobileMe or YouTube, without having to worry about file formats or resolution settings.
- You'll be able to use the QuickTime Player to capture live audio and video, directly from your built-in iSight camera, FireWire camcorder, or microphone. Just click the record button in the player to start capturing your audio or video to disk. You can also catch action on your screen thanks to the screen recording feature, perfect for creating instructional media or when you want to show a friend how to do something.
- QuickTime X is optimized for the latest media formats, such as H.264 and AAC, via a new media architecture that delivers stutter-free playback of high-definition content on nearly all Snow Leopard-based Mac systems. QuickTime X maximizes the efficiency of modern media using the GPU to scale and display video. It also supported GPU-accelerated video decoding of H.264 files. QuickTime X takes advantage of the proven capabilities of ColorSync to color-manage your media for the best playback experience for sharing to your iPhone, iPod, or Apple TV.
What is Mac OS X? - Photo Booth
- Photo Booth allows you to take fun photo snapshots and videos using your built-in iSight camera. You can send them to your friends, use them as iChat icons, add them to your address book, and organize and edit them in iPhoto.
- Photo Booth makes it easy to take photos with your Mac's built-in iSight camera. Just look into the lens, smile, and click. Before it snaps your photo, Photo Booth will flash your display with a bright white to add more light to your face. You'll be able to take a simple snapshot, use burst mode to take 4 quick pictures. You won't have to put a quarter in your computer for this Photo Booth to take your picture. 1
- In addition to taking regular photos, you can use the built-in effects and backdrops found in Photo Booth to add some panache to your photos. You can snap a photo that puts you in front of the Eiffel Tower or in outer space, twist and twirl your smile with the strange twirl effect, or add an artistic look with the Colored Pencil effect. You'll be able to experiment with the various backdrops and effects to give your photos a unique look.
- Photo Booth can capture video as well as still images. You'll be able to record video to send to your friends and family via e-mail with only a few clicks. Backdrops and effects work just as well in videos as they do in photos.
What is Mac OS X? - Time Machine
- Time Machine automatically backs up your computer to an external hard drive or Apple Time Capsule router. Everything on your computer is backed up automatically, including photos, music, videos, documents, applications, and settings. You'll be able to use it to travel back in time to a previous back up to recover files that were accidentally changed or deleted.
- Working with your Mac and an external hard drive or Apple Time Capsule, Time Machine automatically backs up your entire system. It protects system files, applications, user accounts, preferences, music, photos, music, and documents. Rather than keeping a spare copy of every file, Time Machine remembers how your system looked on any given day, allowing you to revisit your Mac as it appeared in the past.
- After the initial full-system backup of your Mac is completed, Time Machine automatically makes incremental backups on an hour-by-hour basis, copying only the files that have been changed since your last backup. It does this in the background as not to disturb your work. Time Machine saves hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for everything older than a month.
- It's not uncommon for someone to delete a file accidentally. In that event, simply enter the Time Machine browser and you'll see how your computer looked on the dates you're browsing. You can browse for files using Cover Flow, or even perform a Spotlight search across all of your backups. The timeline allows you to select a specific date, or you can let Time Machine fly through time to find your most recent changes. Before recovering a file, you can use Quick Look to verify its contents. Once you've located the file you wish to bring back to life, click Restore and it will be brought back to the present.
- When your mobile Mac is connected to your backup drive, Time Machine works as you'd expect it to. When it isn't connected, Time Machine also works as you'd expect. It keeps track of which files have changed since the last backup, and backs them up to your backup drive the next time you connect. On any Mac, if Time Machine is unable to perform a backup for any reason, it is duly noted in its preference pane.
- If you're setting up a new Mac with files from your old computer, you can use Time Machine to help simplify the process. Just use the Migration Assistant application to copy portions of any Time Machine backup to a new Mac, or select "Restore System from Time Machine" in the Utilities menu of your Mac OS X install disc. You can choose any date recorded in Time Machine, allowing you to set up your new Mac exactly as your previous one was on a specific date.
What is Mac OS X? - Core Foundation
- Snow Leopard is built on a rock-solid UNIX foundation, featuring such powerful technologies as Grand Central Dispatch, OpenCL, Bonjour networking, and integrated synchronization.
UNIX is renowned for its robust, proven foundation that is scalable, powerful, and crash-resistant. Boasting tens of millions of users -- consumers, scientists, animators, developers, system administrators, and more -- Mac OS X is the most widely used UNIX desktop operating system in the world. It offers a unique combination of technical elements, such as fine-grained multithreading, FreeBSD services, and zero-configuration networking. Its state-of-the-art kernel supports preemptive multitasking, symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) scalability, and 64-bit virtual memory. Standards-based access control lists take UNIX permissions to the next level.
UNIX power users will feel at home in Darwin, the robust BSD environment that underlies Mac OS X and is accessible from the Terminal application. All of the common UNIX utilities, command shells, and scripting languages are included in OS X. These include Perl, PHP, tcl, Ruby, and Python. Mac OS X provides a set of optimized libraries, making it easy to port your existing UNIX code.
- Snow Leopard features a breakthrough technology, Grand Central Dispatch, which takes full advantage of the latest multicore processors. GCD makes it easier for developers to create programs that utilize multicore systems to their fullest extent.
- OpenCL takes advantage of today's ultrapowerful graphics processors. It allows developers to harness the power of modern GPUs for any application, helping to greatly increase performance in many cases.
- Snow Leopard supports Xgrid, a technology that allows you to cluster a group of individual Macs together to create a supercomputer. This allows a group of Macs to solve complex scientific problems that no single computer could solve on its own. Xgrid can operate in screen-saver mode, crunching any data set when you aren't working. You can also set up a group of computers dedicated to a task, working them around-the-clock in order to compute the solution.
- Bonjour technology makes it easy for computers and smart devices to work together. Bonjour-capable devices broadcast their services over a network, and listen for services that are being offered for the use of others. Your computer might find a Bonjour-capable printer that is available for printing, an iTunes playlist available for listening, an iChat buddy available for video conferencing, or another computer available for file sharing. Even PCs running Windows can take advantage of Bonjour -- for free. Bonjour works with standard connection technologies, including Ethernet and AirPort (802.11). It uses the ubiquitous IP networking protocol for connections, the same protocol upon which the Internet is built. All of the technologies driving Bonjour are open.
- iSync, Apple's synchronization software, simplifies the process of sharing contact and calendar information between your Mac and other devices, via USB or Bluetooth. It works with dozens of cell phone models and Palm OS-based PDAs, ensuring that data is synced between your mobile device and your Mac. iSync ensures that your Address Book contacts and iCal appointments are sent to your mobile device. You can add or change dates on your devices and your Mac, and iSync ensures that changes are recorded properly, updating each device as necessary.
What is Mac OS X? - Scripting
- If you're ever in a situation where you need to rename a large number of files, resize images in bulk, or perform other tasks over and over, you'll be pleased to know that OS X can make your life easier. Snow Leopard includes several integrated tools and technologies that allow you to automate common tasks quickly and simply.
The Automator, represented by a cute robot icon, lets you build workflows that accomplish manual chores with celerity, efficiency, and ease. You don't have to know complex scripting languages or write any code to use it. Instead, you simply create and execute automation "workflows" by dragging and dropping each step of a process, just as you would create a kitchen recipe.
Automator comes with dozens of prebuilt actions that you can use to populate your workflows. For example, say that you want to resize dozens of images for an iPhoto slideshow. By dragging individual actions into a new workflow, you can tell Automator which files to resize, how big to make them, and where to import them. Run the workflow and, within minutes, all images will be sized and placed in iPhoto, ready for use in the slideshow.
It's not a problem if you want to perform an action that's not included with Automator. Simply have Automator record your actions as your perform them, and run the workflow again. You can even save workflows to use again or to share with your friends.
AppleScript, the venerable Mac scripting language, can help you take automation beyond what Automator is capable of. It is an English-like language that you can use to write script files that automate the actions of a computer and the applications that run on it. It doesn't restrict itself to repeating recorded actions; AppleScript can make decisions based on user interaction or by parsing and analyzing data, documents, or events. For individuals, AppleScript provides shortcuts for complex tasks such as naming files, resetting preferences, or connecting to the Internet. Many users find the dozens of scripts provided with Mac OS X to be essential helpers in their day-to-day Mac experience.
For professionals, AppleScript is like an extra pair of hands which perform repetitive tasks. Scripts can retrieve data and files from servers, execute scheduled updates and errands, and more. AppleScript can process hundreds of files while you focus on other issues. For businesses, automated AppleScript workflows provide consistency, accuracy, and speed, while reducing the cost of time, materials, and staff. You can get more done in less time and with fewer mistakes. If you want to scale your business, automation with AppleScript makes it possible.
The Services menu, available in the application menu of most applications, offers a wealth of powerful automation options. In OS X, many applications and system components publish their capabilities as "services," enabling the functions of one application to be used with the items selected in another application. For example, using a Mail service from the Services menu, text selected in a Pages document can automatically be used to create a new outgoing message in Mail. The text of a long article displayed in Safari can be quickly summarized in a few concise sentences.
In Snow Leopard, services are more simplified, streamlined, and helpful. The Services menu is contextual, so it shows just the services appropriate for the application you're using or content you're viewing, rather than all available services. You can access services with a right click of your mouse, a Control-click of your trackpad, or a keystroke that you assign. You can configure the menu to show only the services you want, and you can even create your own services using Automator.
What is Mac OS X? - Graphics and Media
- Mac OS X includes powerful graphics technologies that make possible everything from smooth animations to HD video to multichannel audio. They provide a solid foundation for the beautiful desktop, web, and media applications that the Mac is known for.
- Core Image is a GPU-accelerated image-processing framework that creates many of the spectacular graphics effects in Snow Leopard and many popular applications. Using a precise, color-managed floating-point pipeline, Core Image offers over 100 built-in filter effects such as image sharpening, color adjustments, and high-quality transitions. Developers can extend Core Image by adding their own custom filters using Image Units.
- The stunning cascading windows of Time Machine and the smooth animation of the reflective 3D Dock are made possible by OS X's Core Animation technology. Core Animation opens up the combined power of OS X graphics technologies by simultaneously compositing layers of text, graphics, and video using powerful keyframe animation techniques. Taking advantage of the capabilities of the GPU and multicore CPUs, Core Animation dynamically renders these layers together, complete with transparency and Core Image filter effects. It also allows developers to enhance their applications with amazing animated user experiences and rich visualizations without having to know expert graphics and animation techniques.
- Core Audio is the high-resolution, low-latency foundation for audio in OS X. It integrates a range of audio functionality directly into the operating system in ways never before possible, enabling unprecedented performance and ease of use in your virtual studio. Built to handle multiple channels of high-bit-rate, floating-point digital audio, Core Audio is ready for anything - from playing back simple stereo music to powering professional audio recording and mastering solutions. It includes integrated MIDI services and supports a wide variety of FireWire and USB audio and MIDI devices. The Audio Units plug-in architecture lets developers extend the capabilities of Core Audio by adding their own audio processing routines and special effects.
- When you move, resize, or scroll a window in OS X, you're witnessing the power of Quartz Extreme. Harnessing the performance of the graphics processor in your Mac, Quartz Extreme delivers responsive, accelerated window compositing with full support for transparency. Every time a window moves, scrolls, or resizes, Quartz Extreme efficiently directs the GPU to update the display. The GPU focuses on what it does best - graphics - and frees the CPU for other tasks.
- OpenGL is the industrial-strength foundation for high-performance graphics in OS X, and the gateway technology for accessing the power of your system's GPU. As the most widely adopted 2D and 3D graphics API in the industry, OpenGL powers a broad range of applications that visualize and manipulate graphics, including games, animation, CAD/CAM, and medical imaging. In Snow Leopard, OpenGL also accelerates key graphics technologies such as Core Animation, Core Image, Core Video, and Quartz Extreme. OpenGL in Snow Leopard is built on an efficient multithreaded architecture that supports runtime optimizations, resource virtualization, and graphics processors from ATI, Intel, and nVIDIA.
- Snow Leopard's QuickTime X is a major leap forward in modern media and Internet standards. It includes a brand-new player application, offers optimized support for modern codecs, and delivers more efficient media playback, making it ideal for any application that needs to play media content.
- OS X features native support for the Portable Document Format (PDF). This enables practically any Mac application to display, create, and print PDF files. The built-in Preview application offers a full-features PDF viewing experience, complete with searching and annotation capabilities. The printing system takes full advantage of the PDF's resolution independence to deliver excellent printing quality on popular inkjet and PostScript printers.
- Snow Leopard features built-in support for many RAW images from popular high-end digital cameras. It supports more than 100 formats from major manufacturers, including Canon, Nikon, and Pentax. GPU-accelerated pixel processing allows you to view RAW images in Finder, Quick Look, and Preview, without the need for a plug-in or other additional software.
Snow Leopard features a multilayered system of defenses against viruses, other malicious applications, and malware. It prevents hackers from harming your programs through a technique called "sandboxing" which restricts which actions programs can perform on your Mac, what files they can access, and what other programs they can launch. Other automatic security features include Library Randomization, which prevents malicious commands from finding their targets, and Execute Disable, which protects your computer's memory from attacks.
The 64-bit applications found in OS X are even more secure from hackers and malware than older 32-bit software. This is because 64-bit applications can use more advanced security techniques to fend off malicious code. Most importantly, viruses written to target Windows PCs cannot harm OS X.
- Files downloaded from the Internet, no matter how innocuous they may appear, may contain dangerous malware in disguise. Files you download using Safari, Mail, and iChat are screened to determine if they contain applications. If they do, OS X alerts you, warning you the first time it is opened. You can decide whether to open the application or to cancel the attempt. Snow Leopard uses digital signatures to verify that an application hasn't been changed since it was created.
- Snow Leopard receives security updates from Apple via the automatic software update feature of OS X. Apple works with the incident response community, including the Forum of Incident Response and Security Team (FIRST) and the FreeBSD Security Team to proactively identify and quickly correct system vulnerabilities. Apple also cooperates with organizations such as the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (CERT/CC).
- Mac OS X makes it easy to customize and utilize security features. Setting up secure file sharing only involves a quick trip to System Preferences. FileVault lets you encrypt all the files in your home folder with just a few clicks, using a password of your choosing. The firewall comes preconfigured to block online intruders, but it's easy to make whatever changes you want.
- Integrated parental controls can manage, monitor, and control the time that your kids spend on the Mac. They can also limit web sites that can be visited and with whom they can chat.
- Phishing is a form of fraud in which online thieves try to acquire sensitive information, including user names, passwords, and credit card details, by creating fake websites that look like legitimate companies. Safari's antiphishing technology detects these fraudulent websites, protecting you from these scams. If you visit a suspicious site, Safari disables the page and displays an alert warning you about its suspect nature.
- Snow Leopard makes it easy to stay safe online, whether you're checking your bank account, sending confidential e-mail, or sharing files with friends and coworkers. Features such as Password Assistant help you lock out identity thieves who are after personal data, while built-in encryption technologies protect your private information and communications.
- All this security won't slow you down with unnecessarily constant security alerts and sweeps. Every Mac ships with a secure configuration, so you won't have to worry about understanding complex settings. Just turn on your Mac and start working. When you need to be made aware of something, it will let you know. If you want to change the security configuration, just open System Preferences and make any desired adjustments.
- Microsoft makes a version of Office just for OS X. It features a Mac-friendly interface that lets you create documents in Word, presentations in PowerPoint, and spreadsheets in Excel, just as you would on a Windows PC. It's compatible with Office for Windows, so you can share documents with friends and colleagues without restrictions. Even if you don't have Office installed on your Mac, you can use Quick Look to view Office documents.
- Snow Leopard features built-in support for the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server. You can use your Mac, with all of the features and applications that you love, at home and at work and have all your messages, meetings, and contacts in one place.
Thanks to its support for industry standards, OS X works with virtually all e-mail providers and websites. It lets you view the most common file types, including Office documents, PDFs, images, text files, MP3s, videos, ZIP files, and more.
If you're moving files from a PC or if your friends and colleagues send you files, you can rest assured that they'll work on your Mac. If you buy your Mac at an Apple Retail Store, an Apple Genius can transfer your files from your PC for you, and even recycle your old PC.
Almost any device that connects to a computer via USB, audio cable, or Bluetooth will work on a Mac. This includes digital cameras, external hard drives, printers, keyboards, speakers, and more.
You can even use a right-click mouse with a Mac. With the thousands of device drivers included with Snow Leopard, you can use these devices as soon as you plug them in, without having to manually download additional software.
- If you have a Windows application that you absolutely need to use, OS X has you covered there as well. Every new Mac lets you install Windows XP or Vista, using a utility called Boot Camp. Boot Camp prompts you if you'd like to boot to Windows or OS X when you start up your computer. If you'd like to run Windows within OS X without rebooting, you can purchase a copy of Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion. Both of these 3rd party applications support running another operating system from within OS X. 2
- In addition to browsing files on your Mac, Finder allows you to browse through computers on your network -- Macs and PCs alike. Computers that allow file sharing automatically show up in the Shared section of the Finder sidebar, allowing you to browse files and folders that you have permission to view.
Accessibility - Vision
- Mac OS X is the first operating system to include as a standard feature an advanced screen-reading technology that makes it possible for those who are blind or have low vision to control their computer. Dubbed VoiceOver, it describes aloud what appears on your computer screen: text in documents, windows, menus, dialogs, and more. It's more than a simple text-to-speech tool, it allows you to control your Mac with a keyboard, a Braille display, or a Multi-Touch trackpad, rather than a mouse.
- VoiceOver's voice is named Alex, and it uses advanced Apple technologies to deliver natural intonation in English, even at extraordinarily fast speaking rates. Most text-to-speech (TTS) systems analyze and synthesize text one sentence at a time; Mac OS X analyzes text a paragraph at a time and deciphers the context more accurately. Alex more closely matches the nuances of human speech, allowing you to more easily understand the meaning of longer text passages in books, articles, and news stories.
- Snow Leopard gives you the ability to control VoiceOver with gestures on your Mac notebook's Multi-Touch trackpad. Its surface can represent the active window on your computer screen. This allows you to hear the item under your finger, drag to hear items continuously as you move your finger, and flick with 1 finger to move to the next or previous item. You can drag your finger around the trackpad to learn how items are arranged in a web page, a spreadsheet, a presentation, or any document with text.
- OS X allows you to magnify your screen by up to 40x with amazing quality and without affecting system performance. You can also adjust the characteristics of your display, such as switching the screen to white-on-black or black-on-white.
- VoiceOver makes surfing the web easier. It can begin reading an entire web page automatically after the page loads, or it can summarize the page for you, reading only the title, number of tables, headers, links, form elements, and other items. When you turn it, by rotating 2 fingers on your Multi-Touch trackpad, you control how VoiceOver moves through the pages, such as by header, link, frame, table, or form element. Because many web pages are difficult to interpret through a screen reader, Apple invented new technologies to comprehend and interpret the visual design of web pages, then use the information to assign virtual tags called "auto web spots" to mark important locations on the page. On a newspaper website, for example, there might be an auto web spot for each lead story, another for a box containing weather or sports scores, and so on. You can jump from web spot to web spot with a keystroke or the flick of a finger.
- The Mac is the only computer that supports Braille displays right out of the box, with support for more than 40 models, including wireless Bluetooth displays. Just connect your display and start using it, no additional software installation is necessary. A new feature called Braille mirroring enables multiple Braille displays to be connected to a single computer simultaneously, perfect for use in classroom settings.
Accessibility - Hearing
OS X features an Internet-based text, audio, and video conferencing application, iChat. It lets you converse and interact with others, even when you're miles or continents apart. iChat works with AIM, the largest instant messaging community in the US, MobileMe, Google Talk, and Jabber. With iChat, you can communicate with buddies, regardless of whether they use a Mac or PC.
Thanks to its high-quality video and frame rate capabilities, iChat is ideal for those who communicate using sign language and is a great way to take advantage of hands-on-video relay services, such as HOVRS.com. Participants can clearly see the finger and hand movements of everyone taking part in the chat. This allows you to communicate from afar with the same range of emotions that you would use when you're in the same room together.
- Snow Leopard supports open- and closed-captioning in QuickTime Player and DVD Player. You can set these applications to display open or closed captioning with a simple 2-step process. If you download captioned content from the iTunes Store, you'll be able to play it back with captions on iPhone, iPod classic, iPod nano (4th generation), iPod touch, Apple TV, QuickTime Player, and iTunes.
- You can set OS X to flash the entire screen instead of playing an audible alert to signal you that the system or an application requires your attention. If your hearing is limited to 1 ear, there's a setting to route right- and left-channel audio into both speakers or headphones, so you can hear both channels at all times.
Accessibility - Physical and Motor Skills
- Sticky Keys lets you enter key combinations, such as Command-Q (for quit) or Shift-Option-8 (for the * symbol), by pressing them in sequence instead of simultaneously. Slow Keys helps you avoid typing errors and unintended multiple keystrokes. Mouse Keys lets you control your mouse pointer using the keys on a numeric keypad instead of the mouse. If you find it easier to use a pointing device than a keyboard, you can use an onscreen keyboard to enter text instead. It floats above other applications, so you can't lose it, and it can be displayed small or large.
- If you often perform complex, routine tasks, such as renaming files or resizing images, you can have Automator do them for you, saving you untold keystrokes and mouse clicks. You simply tell Automator which actions to perform and in which order by dragging them into a workflow, and then Automator will perform the task as often as you want. You can use Automator to record your actions as you do them and save them for later use.
- Mac OS X supports the USB standard, allowing you to use your favorite USB keyboard or mouse with a Mac, even if they were designed for a PC. You can also connect alternative input devices that simulate standard mouse and keyboard input. You can even customize your keyboard layout, with QWERTY, Dvorak and others available, or create your own keyboard shortcuts to work exactly the way you want to.
- The centerpiece of the developer tools included with OS X is the Xcode application, which provides an elegant, powerful user interface for creating and managing software development projects in OS X. You can use Xcode to organize and edit your source files, view documentation, build your product, debug your code, and optimize your product's performance. Xcode in Snow Leopard helps you program for Grand Central Dispatch, OpenCL, and other new technologies. Xcode is a highly customizable integrated development environment with features that let you create an easy-to-use, efficient working environment.
- Interface Builder helps you design the interfaces of your applications. Using this application, you create your user interface by picking controls from a library of configurable elements and arranging them with the help of layout guides. You can add impressive Core Animation-based behaviors to your application, and you can include transition effects between UI states or 3D shadows to your controls, by clicking a few buttons. In addition, Interface Builder makes it easy to troubleshoot user interfaces, because the difficult task of positioning each control and connecting it to the appropriate methods in your source code is accomplished through an elegant and effective graphical user interface.
- Performance-monitoring tools are an essential part of the developer's toolset. The limitation of these tools, however, are that they could only give you part of the picture of how your application runs. Selecting the best tool for the job could be tricky, and there was no easy way to compare data between tools to see a complete view of the behavior of your application. Instruments in OS X changes all that. It allows you to see multiple aspects of your application's performance over time. Time-based graphs allow you to monitor CPU usage, disk I/O, and memory usage, to see how they interact. This gives you a more complete picture of your application's behavior.
- Snow Leopard's Dashcode lets you quickly and easily build elegant and compelling Dashboard widgets. Created to meet the needs of widget developers, Dashcode combines powerful visual layout tools with a code editor, debugger, and comprehensive package management into a world-class, integrated development environment. You can create powerful and useful widgets for yourself, your organization, or even for distribution to the world.
- OS X makes it easy to use scripting languages as full application development tools. Snow Leopard ships with support for the RubyCocoa Bridge and the PyObjC bridge. These 2 bridges give developers access not only to system APIs, but to Cocoa frameworks such as AppKit and Core Data, enabling you to build fully native, Mac OS X applications in Ruby or Python. The RubyCocoa and PyObjC bridges allow you to freely mix code written in Objective-C with code written in the scripting language. You can quickly build prototypes and then optimize by implementing performance-critical pieces in Objective-C.