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Apple may release Snow Leopard early next year

post #1 of 54
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An Apple director has inadvertently broken word that his company may be planning to release Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard three months earlier than expected.

Speaking at the Large Installation System Administration (LISA) conference in San Diego last week, Apple's director of Unix technology Jordan Hubbard ran a series of slides [PDF] as part of his presentation, which have since been linked off the conference's website.

Of possible interest is one slide (below) that outlines the frequency in which the company has released major new versions of the Mac OS X operating system dating back to its inception in 2000. In addition to all past releases, it pencils in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard for a release during first quarter (Jan - Mar) of 2009. The slide notes that its arrival should come a little more than 14 months after the last major Mac OS X release, Leopard.

While announcing Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard at its developers conference last June, Apple stated that the software was "scheduled to ship in about a year," which would have put its release somewhere in the second or third quarter of the year, rather than the first.

Hubbard's revelation would suggest the Cupertino-based company may have plans to accelerate Snow Leopard's deployment schedule to the point where it can show off a near finalized copy at January's Macworld Expo and follow up with an official release a couple of months later.

Rather than add new usability features, the Mac maker said the goal of Snow Leopard will be to enhance the performance of Mac OS X, set a new standard for quality and lay the foundation for future Mac OS X innovation.

In particular, the software will be optimized for multi-core processors, tap into the vast computing power of graphic processing units (GPUs), enable breakthrough amounts of RAM, bundle support for Microsoft Exchange 2007, and feature a new, modern media platform with QuickTime X.

A slide from Jordan Hubbard's presentation at the LISA conference last week.

It should be noted, however, that external testing of Snow Leopard has thus far been extremely limited and at a frequency uncharacteristic of an Apple operating system bound for market in a few months. The company has released just one new test build of the software since June, which arrived late last month.

In that build, Apple introduced developers to a Mac OS X Finder that had been partially rewritten in Cocoa, a move towards a 64-bit kernel, and HFS+ file compression. The build, however, was rife with issues and a number of components were either suspended or exhibited quirky behavior.

Readers looking to keep up to date on Snow Leopard can find an archive of related reports on AppleInsider's Mac OS X 10.6 topics page. AppleInsider has also recently begun its Road to Snow Leopard series which offers an in-depth look at the real-world benefits of the new operating system.
post #2 of 54
Lwmlaf??
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post #3 of 54
Oooh - can't wait. I've got an intel MacBrook Pro with Snow Leopard's name on it ...
post #4 of 54
I can wait. QA, QA, QA, QA, QA, ...

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post #5 of 54
I don't see why they'd release it before WWDC '09. They'd want developers on board with Grand Central and 64-bit. Give it a few more months to cook-- no one's really clamoring for it yet.
post #6 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

I don't see why they'd release it before WWDC '09. They'd want developers on board with Grand Central and 64-bit. Give it a few more months to cook-- no one's really clamoring for it yet.

Well the chart does say 14+. i would expect a release in March of 2009. That would fit the criteria of 1Q 09 and 14+ months.
post #7 of 54
If that's fiscal Q1 2009, then that's Oct-Dec 2008.

I am in no real hurry to update. Frankly, I think faster than two years is a needlessly fast cycle for an operating system that's solid and mature with some complicated features being added, and I think those features need to be done right the first time.
post #8 of 54
I guess this opens up the door for introducing a tablet at MWSF 09. I certainly hope so.

A more touch-based UI, would explain the limited external testing. Apple would want to keep it secret.

/Daniel

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post #9 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While announcing Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard at its developers conference last June, Apple stated that the software was "scheduled to ship in about a year," which would have put its release somewhere in the second or third quarter of the year, rather than the first.

To some, 8 to 9, in fact 7 to 9 months is "about a year."

Amazing. Apple pre-announces a product release date and misses it gets chastised. Pre-announces a product release date and launches is earlier and gets chastised.

I personally wished they didn't tell us anything and get surprised like the good old days.

In any event, we can't wait for it and are just biting at the bit.
post #10 of 54
Given the state of the last developer release, Q1 seems very optimistic. Perhaps the slide was produced a long time ago and no one updated it? I'm still expecting WWDC.
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post #11 of 54
Bloody YES!
post #12 of 54
From what I've seen of SL, their is no way that SL will be ready in calender Q1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

To some, 8 to 9, in fact 7 to 9 months is "about a year."

Amazing. Apple pre-announces a product release date and misses it gets chastised. Pre-announces a product release date and launches is earlier and gets chastised.

I personally wished they didn't tell us anything and get surprised like the good old days.

In any event, we can't wait for it and are just biting at the bit.

People bitch about Apple not offering up a roadmap, too.
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post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

I can wait. QA, QA, QA, QA, QA, ...


Ditto. Test the living CRAP out of it. Don't want an OS that's borderline flaky until the third patch or so.

Still, this is very encouraging news. WWDC's usually in June, if Apple can hit even that date, they'll be out ahead of Windows 7 by quite a lot. Not that Microsoft's new 'holiday season 2009' release date is to be taken very seriously, given their track record.

My new early '08 Macbook Pro is looking forward to Snow Leopard.


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post #14 of 54
An impending release of snow leopard would be a big feather in Jobs' gat for MWSF. It would also help Apple regain some of the face they lost when Leopard was released almost a year late (and with some major bugs). When it comes to tech, best to follow the Scotty doctrine. Be very conservative on your time estimates and it will make you look like a miracle worker.
post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

I don't see why they'd release it before WWDC '09. They'd want developers on board with Grand Central and 64-bit. Give it a few more months to cook-- no one's really clamoring for it yet.

Exactly. Get it right the first time.

Apple needs to slow down the release process. They should do what they did with 10.0 and have public betas again and stop keeping these OS releases to just their ADC group. Of course that would be a great pain for them to keep their secrets.
post #16 of 54
Is this where Jordan goes into another period of self-imposed exile?

OT: http://crackmonkey.org/pipermail/cra...ne/005293.html
post #17 of 54
April is a while away. Mac touch running snow Leo FTW!
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post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Ditto. Test the living CRAP out of it. Don't want an OS that's borderline flaky until the third patch or so.

Still, this is very encouraging news. WWDC's usually in June, if Apple can hit even that date, they'll be out ahead of Windows 7 by quite a lot. Not that Microsoft's new 'holiday season 2009' release date is to be taken very seriously, given their track record.

My new early '08 Macbook Pro is looking forward to Snow Leopard.
...


Since only specific core pieces are changing in Snow Leopard, every point release on Leopard (10.5) counts as QA for Snow Leopard !!! So, YES, we are all currently testing the crap out it !!

The scientific community is drooling all over Snow Leopard. Why do you think Apple showed them the release schedule. I read an article yesterday which was a mini interview with two members of the Kronos standards group and they stated that the standard was now complete!! There is still a 30 day legal review to do but it is done. It only took 6 months !!! For a standards committee to do that is amazing and it was Apple that put the carrot out for them.

The OS X release schedule was likely shown at the same conference that the Kronos group had their OpenCL "launch party".

http://www.macworld.com/article/136921/opencl.html
post #19 of 54
Anyone else think it's unusual that 10.6 doesn't say "Snow Leopard" next to it when all the other releases have their nicknames?

Name change coming?
post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

An impending release of snow leopard would be a big feather in Jobs' gat for MWSF.

A big feather in his gat? Now that is thinking different, homie.
post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

Anyone else think it's unusual that 10.6 doesn't say "Snow Leopard" next to it when all the other releases have their nicknames?

Name change coming?

Uh... http://www.apple.com/macosx/snowleopard/
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post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

Uh... http://www.apple.com/macosx/snowleopard/


I was about to say.

And why would they change it? Snow Leopard's a cool enough name. And they're running out of good big cat names anyway.




"Hey! You gotta problem with Snow Leopards!?!"


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post #23 of 54
Perhaps Apple want Snow Leopard finished and preinstalled onto the new 4-core family of consumer Macs and who knows, 16-core Mac pro's? coming out in Q1. Who knows what lies behind an early release. It could be hardware driven.
post #24 of 54
That and its just another flavor of leopard.

As for big cat names, they still have cougar and lion among others.
post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

Perhaps Apple want Snow Leopard finished and preinstalled onto the new 4-core family of consumer Macs and who knows, 16-core Mac pro's? coming out in Q1. Who knows what lies behind an early release. It could be hardware driven.

No 8-core Nehalems are due for Q1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

That and its just another flavor of leopard.

As for big cat names, they still have cougar and lion among others.

Cougar = Puma.
post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

That and its just another flavor of leopard.

As for big cat names, they still have cougar and lion among others.


"OS X 10.6 Cougar." "OS X 10.6 Lion."

Nah. Just doesn't sound as cool somehow.

But you're right, it is mostly just a turbo'd up Leopard... not that anyone will complain. And I think OpenCL is pretty exciting.

Hmm, what's the latest word on res independence and ZFS support making it into Snow Leopard? Yes? No? We don't know?

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post #27 of 54
Did anyone figure out what the abbreviation LWMLAF used in the presentation file stands for?
It's found on pages 9, 11, and 12 in the linked PDF file.
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post #28 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by thej1 View Post

Since only specific core pieces are changing in Snow Leopard, every point release on Leopard (10.5) counts as QA for Snow Leopard !!! So, YES, we are all currently testing the crap out it !!

God I hope not. Changes were made between 10.4 and 10.5 that were a huge step backwards. If Apple isn't planning to fix that in 10.6 then I have little hope for the future of the OS.

Snow Leopard should be different enough, in fundamental ways, for any testing of Leopard to be completely irrelevant.

I hope Snow Leopard doesn't ship until at least WWDC. Otherwise I fear we'll already be at 10.6.2 by then.
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

If that's fiscal Q1 2009, then that's Oct-Dec 2008.

Not even close to being possible.

I'm thinking that even March is too close.

Unless they've made major strides which haven't been reflected in beta releases, I'd rather see them wait until the ADC.

This release is all about QA, and speed. Let's make sure that's what actually comes out.

Apple can't afford to trumpet this, and then have a buggy release.
post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel B View Post

I guess this opens up the door for introducing a tablet at MWSF 09. I certainly hope so.

A more touch-based UI, would explain the limited external testing. Apple would want to keep it secret.

/Daniel

remember this is NOT a feature release. It has nothing to do with tablets or multitouch.

Likely, the only "new" features to make the light of day will be ones that have already been spoken about, and slipped into the 10.5 release, but as a developer only function, such as RI, and ZFS, to mention the biggest, with no guarantee that either will be there.
post #31 of 54
I do believe there will be a surprise or two behiind Snow Leopard but keep in mind that MS just announced a few weeks ago the time frame they were looking to release Windows 7. This was a much earlier time frame than what was previously considered. Apple has alot of momentum right now and if the public perceives that MS is getting itself together, then Apple's momentum grinds to a halt.

I'm expecting also to see a true OSX based netbook next year. Some of the changes in SL make sense with this in reducing the size and increasing performance. This is an area that Vista cannot touch yet Windows 7 can. Of course not to mention that it is a hot market that is greater than what SJ alluded to when he stated they were watching it.

Of course all of this does not mean that it will be as bug free as it should be for an initial release if brought out in the first qtr. Just as Vista was criticized for being released too early so was Leopard. If Apple feels that it was good enough for the general public and non-techies then it's probably going to be released.

All in all I also don't see Apple targeting too many users to upgrade. This release I believe is going to be more about selling hardware...moreso than in the past.

Just my 3 cents of course.

One other thing has anyone noticed in the Sunday flyers now that Apple is the company showcasing how fast their systems are while HP and others do not mention clockspeeds? I'm wondering now if Apple is looking to exploit these other companies now with their focus on performance. We've read and heard about the focus on perf improvements in SL, we've seen the laptops bumped up a bit thanks to nvidia, and now Apple is the only one mentioning clockspeeds in ads.

Just something I noticed this last weekend.
post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Lwmlaf??

http://twitter.com/mkalmes/statuses/1013395222

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Lwmlaf = Level Windows Makes Laughable Attempts at Following
post #33 of 54
Get it right the first time and Windows 7 be damned. WWDC in June is about right.

Get it out too soon with too many bugs, and Microsoft will be all over it in their advertising. I believe that the current Leopard will be just as good as Windows 7 anyway, and to bring out Snow Leopard in June is still ahead of Windows 7. Apple should not rush this, even for hardware sake. Make the hardware capable of using Snow Leopard to the full, but keep the release at the proper time and make it right.

And Snow Leopard is the perfect name - a cleaner working version of Leopard.

Greg
post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

remember this is NOT a feature release.

You state that like a fact. At this point, I think we're all just speculating.

SL can be whatever Apple wants it to be.

/Daniel

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post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by thej1 View Post

Since only specific core pieces are changing in Snow Leopard, every point release on Leopard (10.5) counts as QA for Snow Leopard !!! So, YES, we are all currently testing the crap out it !!

The scientific community is drooling all over Snow Leopard. Why do you think Apple showed them the release schedule. I read an article yesterday which was a mini interview with two members of the Kronos standards group and they stated that the standard was now complete!! There is still a 30 day legal review to do but it is done. It only took 6 months !!! For a standards committee to do that is amazing and it was Apple that put the carrot out for them.

The OS X release schedule was likely shown at the same conference that the Kronos group had their OpenCL "launch party".

http://www.macworld.com/article/136921/opencl.html

Thank you for the link - maybe the long lead time (towards the end of 2009) was based on the idea of OpenCL standardisation taking longer than expected. Oh well, what ever the case maybe, I'm definately going to upgrade to Snow Leopard + iLife + iWorks when they're all updated
post #36 of 54
Since Apple doesn't have too many new features planned for Snow Leopard, a lot of the work that usually goes into polishing all of the many new OS X features is absent this go 'round. While I would like it to be bullet proof on launch, who's to say that Apple doesn't already have much of this nailed down already? I can totally see Apple launching Snow Leopard on Saturday, March 28th, 2009.
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post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

Anyone else think it's unusual that 10.6 doesn't say "Snow Leopard" next to it when all the other releases have their nicknames?

Name change coming?

Agreed on the QA. Imagine if APPL releases Snow Leopard and it works, say, like Vista.

Can you imagine the headlines: Snow Leopard or SLOW Leopard?

Or, Snow Leopard - The New Vista!
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post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ByronVanArsdale View Post

Agreed on the QA. Imagine if APPL releases Snow Leopard and it works, say, like Vista.

Can you imagine the headlines: Snow Leopard or SLOW Leopard?

Or, Snow Leopard - The New Vista!


'Blow Leopard'?


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post #39 of 54
OH OH OH! I just thought of something cool.

Finder is getting rewritten in Cocoa, right? And most other Apple apps are already in Cocoa now, right?

What if....Apple enabled Cocoa to use OpenCL behind the scenes!!!!!!! You write in Cocoa and the Cocoa components are tapping OpenCL making everything insanely...SNAPPIER!

Seriously though, do you know what kind of performance increase that would make for all Cocoa apps???? Windows 7 would have nothing on that!
post #40 of 54
I like how people always say noooo, develop OS X slower. How do people know how many issues need fixed and optimized and how long they will take? The presentation shows that the Leopard -> Snow Leopard period is 14+ months and some other major releases took this long. 6 releases in 8 years = 16 month average cycle.

Look at Microsoft's efforts. Taking longer doesn't guarantee a better product. Longer times mean that people lose focus on the task.

The focus with Snow Leopard is optimization, possibly removing PPC stuff and compiling for 64-bit. Just because some stuff sounds complicated doesn't mean it takes longer to implement - it's not as if they start working on it as soon as the last version is out the door. The GPU stuff has been going for a while in various incarnations. The multi-threading stuff will take R&D from Xgrid computing and previous multi-threading techniques.

A March release is still 4 months away too. Beta in January, a few betas in Feb, Final version in March.

To be honest, it could have been a typo in the presentation. Q2 is what people were expecting. Nonetheless, I think people should be more open to an early release. It's not as if the people working on it are being given a public deadline and scared that it's not done yet. The release date is not official, right now it's probably a rough target.

Which systems did Apple put out before they were ready? MobileMe perhaps but they know what they are doing most of the time. The simple solution is for Apple to release it when they think it's ready and consumers who know little to nothing of Apple's internal developments who arbitrarily think otherwise can simply wait before using it.
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