The Mac Box Set from Apple is a cost-saving bundle that includes the full version of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, iLife '11, and iWork '09. It is targeted at owners of Intel Macs who are still using the Mac OS X 10.4 operating system, as it is the only way for those users to upgrade directly to Snow Leopard.
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is the long-awaited successor to Apple's revolutionary Leopard operating system. This version of the operating system will give Tiger users all of the dramatic upgrade features found in Leopard, as well as the performance and functionality enhancements delivered by Snow Leopard. It is the first version of OS X that does not support Macs that use PowerPC G3, G4, and G5 CPUs.
Tiger users will appreciate the streamlined look and feel that Snow Leopard will bring to their Intel Mac. The operating system, which is optimized for 64-bit operating systems, adds an enhanced Finder with Cover Flow, a 3D dock with Stacks, Time Machine backup, Quick Look file previews, iChat with screen sharing, multiple virtual desktops via Spaces, integrated Boot Camp support, and much more.
Because OS X software engineers were able to concentrate their efforts on writing code for Intel Macs, the operating system performs much better than previous versions. Most applications are completely written in 64-bit code, making them more secure, stable, and speedy when compared to legacy 32-bit apps. New underlying technology, including Grand Central Dispatch and OpenCL, give Apple programmers the tools necessary to fully take advantage of multicore processor systems, such as the Intel Core Duo, Core 2 Duo, and Xeon CPUs that power most Intel Macs.
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. Desktop stacks, which allow users to access folders directly from their Dock. Stacks are scrollable, allowing you to navigate through them to locate a specific file.
Of course, the tried and true Mac interface is retained by Snow Leopard, albeit a bit snazzier than that of Tiger. All of the expected bundled applications and modules are still there in familiar places: 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 substantial update for Tiger users. It adds extensive functionality for a more enjoyable computing experience. Users will appreciate the ease of Quick Look, the versatility of Stacks, the data protection provided by Time Machine, and greatly enhanced accessibility features.
iLife '11 is an all-in-one creativity suite for Apple computers. It includes the popular iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, iWeb, and iDVD applications for Mac OS X.
These applications give you the creative tools necessary to get the most out of your Mac: Organize, edit, and share photos with iPhoto. Create home movies with iMovie, and share them with family and friends with iDVD. GarageBand allows aspiring Mozarts to create innovative musical compositions. iWeb ties this all together, allowing you to publish photos, music, and video on the web.
iWork '09 is a suite of productivity applications for Apple computers. The suite includes a word processor (Pages), spreadsheet (Numbers), and a presentation application (Keynote).
iWork is an excellent productivity option for the Mac. It is fully compatible with files created with Microsoft Office, and can export documents into Office file formats. You can use the iWork.com web service to collaborate with Windows users.