Maintain, optimize and troubleshoot your NLE
Professional cloud workflow platform
Simplified media management
< Blog Home

Upcoming Snow Leopard features you should know about

Snow Leopard is the name of the next version of Mac OS X, due next year. The idea behind Snow Leopard isn't to add a lot of features but instead to overhaul and optimize the OS for maximum performance. Developers are already receiving pre-release versions - here are some of the biggest features:

* No PowerPC support - This operating system will be Intel-only I'm afraid.

* Full 64-bit support - This was somewhat rudimentary in previous versions and consequently developers didn't really take advantage of it.

* New default display gamma - This one is very important for editors. With previous versions of Mac OS X, the default gamma was 1.8 which was great for print work. The default display gamma in Snow Leopard is now 2.2, which brings it closer to most TVs and Windows computers.

* Cocoa rewrites for all applications - "Almost all" of the visible applications (including Finder) have been rewritten in Cocoa. Cocoa and Carbon are two different application programming interfaces (APIs). Basically, Apple has decided that it wants to transition developers away from Carbon (which is more convenient if you are also developing for Windows) and towards Cocoa instead. Consequently, Cocoa tends to get all of the new features (such as 64-bit support) while Carbon gets left behind.

Ars Technica speculates that Carbon applications in Snow Leopard could be "wrapped" in Cocoa. I imagine this would affect performance and it should be noted that Final Cut Pro is currently written in Carbon. A Cocoa rewrite of FCP is inevitable (and much appreciated) but of course, no-one knows when that will occur.

* And then of course, all the features mentioned in the original press release - Grand Central for more efficient multi-core processing, OpenCL for using the GPU as another processor (must be why the new MacBook Pros have two GPUs) and QuickTime X which offers "optimized support for modern codecs and more efficient media playback" which would imply some kind of acceleration.

So all in all, this looks to be a promising update for people in the film and TV industries.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Oct 27 2008 to Analysis, Apple, Software