Apple's Snow Leopard still evolving, developers say

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Although there's been some evidence to suggest Snow Leopard could hit the market several months ahead of expectations, new information reveals that Apple remains heavily engaged in building out some of the features first previewed back in June.



In particular, developers on the web note that new copies of the software surfacing this week arrived with fresh additions to Grand Central, a new architecture designed by Apple to make it easier for programmers to take advantage of Macs with two or many processor cores. At the same time, some previously available functions have changed.



Another well-publicized area of the next-generation Mac OS X still under heavy revision is 64 support and a 64-bit kernel. While many of the Macs introduced during the first half of the year are compatible with the latter, those introduced this fall have yet to see the same treatment.



With nearly all of the forward-facing applications in Snow Leopard due for upgrades to Apple's object-oriented Cocoa programming interface, including the Finder, there's also a long but expected laundry list problems that will be need to be smoothed out in the coming months. One of these applications is Font Book, which is reportedly far from complete.



For the time being, outside developers remain tasked with testing Microsoft Exchange support, a technology Apple said would find its way into Snow Leopard's versions of Mail, iCal and Address Book. They've reportedly been asked to ignore some other areas of the system, such as non-optimal power management on notebooks that will be addressed later on.



While announcing Snow Leopard at its annual developers conference this past June, Apple vouched to deliver the software to end users "about a year" later. However, speculation that the software could see a release several months earlier was boosted when an Apple official displayed a presentation slide during an system administrator's conference last month showing the first quarter of 2009 -- or March -- as a target launch date.



As always, readers can keep up to date on the latest Snow Leopard rumblings through AppleInsider's Mac OS X 10.6 topics page and the ongoing Road to Snow Leopard series.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 86
    Doesn't sound like they'll be ready til Spring/Summer.



    What money on the first person to say Apple is late, based on a rumour it may ship early, even though no ship date has been announced other than “about a year” from Summer 08.
  • Reply 2 of 86
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,491member
    Yup!



    I keep saying that I don't see this before the ADC. This is much more work than some are assuming.



    It's almost a total re-write of much of the OS, as well as the added functionality at the lower levels.
  • Reply 3 of 86
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,491member
    Yup!



    I keep saying that I don't see this before the ADC. This is much more work than some are assuming.
  • Reply 4 of 86
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,752member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by columbus View Post


    Doesn't sound like they'll be ready til Spring/Summer.



    What money on the first person to say Apple is late, based on a rumour it may ship early, even though no ship date has been announced over than ?about a year? from Summer 08.



    Exactly. Come May we will hear over and over how Snow Leopard is late and it is just like Vista... People will wail and moan that they were waiting to buy their new 16 core Mac Pro but refuse to buy one with an "outdated" OS on it. (Expect some threats to buy a netbook instead...)

    Then in July afterthe early adopters wait in line to buy the .0 release there will be complaints that it is not perfect. Apple's most buggy release since (fill in previous .0 release of choice).



    Me, personally, I am happy to wait until they get it right. I see no urgent need to get SL out in a rush. Apple could use a calm launch after iPhone 2.0 and MobileMe...
  • Reply 5 of 86
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    Exactly. Come May we will hear over and over how Snow Leopard is late and it is just like Vista... People will wail and moan that they were waiting to buy their new 16 core Mac Pro but refuse to buy one with an "outdated" OS on it. (Expect some threats to buy a netbook instead...)

    Then in July afterthe early adopters wait in line to buy the .0 release there will be complaints that it is not perfect. Apple's most buggy release since (fill in previous .0 release of choice).



    Me, personally, I am happy to wait until they get it right. I see no urgent need to get SL out in a rush. Apple could use a calm launch after iPhone 2.0 and MobileMe...



    ---- Well said.
  • Reply 6 of 86
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    This is much more work than some are assuming.



    Including the people actually working on it though? That's where the assertion for Q1 comes from.



    Even though the outside developers say it's got a long way to go, we still don't have any frame of reference as to how long it will take.



    Developers often say that the system has a long way to go only a couple of months before the final release.



    The developments in Snow Leopard are significant but there's no way we can say at this stage if it can or can't be released in Q1.



    It seems fairly certain that it will likely be in March at the earliest though and this is stretching Q1 to the limit so we'll just have to see how developments go over the next couple of months and maybe get some info at MW.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey


    I see no urgent need to get SL out in a rush.



    The urgency is for the apps and drivers. I've only recently considered moving to Leopard because I don't want my apps to start breaking and introducing bugs that weren't there before.



    My view is if it ain't broke don't upgrade unless it offers something major. Snow Leopard should offer something major but I want it to be in the hands of all developers soon so that they can make sure the apps work properly.



    Otherwise, I might not upgrade for another year from now. If it's out in March then I might be able to upgrade earlier.
  • Reply 7 of 86
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    Exactly. Come May we will hear over and over how Snow Leopard is late and it is just like Vista... People will wail and moan that they were waiting to buy their new 16 core Mac Pro but refuse to buy one with an "outdated" OS on it. (Expect some threats to buy a netbook instead...)

    Then in July afterthe early adopters wait in line to buy the .0 release there will be complaints that it is not perfect. Apple's most buggy release since (fill in previous .0 release of choice).



    Me, personally, I am happy to wait until they get it right. I see no urgent need to get SL out in a rush. Apple could use a calm launch after iPhone 2.0 and MobileMe...



    Yep, I can definitely wait, but I would at least like a preview at MacWorld of what will make the cut in SL for the feature-set.
  • Reply 8 of 86
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    It would be sad but if it takes Apple a 64 bit OS to fix it's WiFi stack on intel hardware then SL can't come fast enough! If there has been one disappointment that my early 2008 MBP has had it is the issues with WiFi that cause me the most grief. It needs to be fixed and the supplied stack of tools needs to be updated so that real diagnostics can be run by the user. Nothing burns my ass more than a piece of software saying it can't do something and not giving you any reason as to why.



    The other issue I have with SL is that all the system apps will end up being built around the new libraries. Libraries that don't seem to be extremely stable in my mind. Of course this is part of what Apple is saying they are addressing so maybe things will firm up.





    Dave
  • Reply 9 of 86
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,230member
    Apple no longer has the burden of devoting considerable resources to carbon developement. I'd expect that that has freed up many an engineer to work on

    other tasks.



    OpenCL is a group led effort with much input from Nvidia, Intel, AMD/ATI and Khronos Group. Apple's load here should be more minimal than home grown stuff.



    I think Snow Leopard should be delivered when it lives up to its promise to polish and optimize OS X to the point where there aren't a bunch of complaints about x feature not working as purported.



    I see a spring delivery perhaps in late April.
  • Reply 10 of 86
    I appreciate the optimism of some people like Marvin and Hiro (from another thread) but...



    Marvin, it would be very difficult for Apple to hit a Q1 target when the frequent seeding hasn't begun yet.



    Hiro, just because some Apple employee says something, doesn't make it official.
  • Reply 11 of 86
    We were also promised QuickTime X on the same time line yet developers have not seen hide nor hair of that.
  • Reply 12 of 86
    Sooner than later wish.



    Guess a couple of months after SL comes out I'll be able get a Dell loaded with Linux for $100 due to their Going-out-of- business sale. Just to play with of course.



    P.S. In the 28 years I have been buying computers none of them were Win machines.



    If there's any delay it will probably be Win 7 'cause it will have a new standard to catch up with.
  • Reply 13 of 86
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    While many of the Macs introduced during the first half of the year are compatible with the latter, those introduced this fall have yet to see the same treatment.







    What the heck does that mean? Early 2008 MacBook Pros are compatible with Snow Leopard, but Late 2008 MacBook Pros are not?
  • Reply 14 of 86
    Exactly. As part of the transition to the 64 bit kernel, all drivers have to be rewritten. To give the developers a chance to debug the core OS without additional bugs caused by a bunch of new drivers, only a select few drivers were ported. Since development started before the late 2008 devices were finished, only the early 2008 computers are supported at this time.
  • Reply 15 of 86
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    They've also seeded a server version of SL. I think this is the first one. I'll finally be able to install it as a VM. Hopefully it works well enough with the new MBs to at least offer basic driver functionality.
  • Reply 16 of 86
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,230member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    They've also seeded a server version of SL. I think this is the first one. I'll finally be able to install it as a VM. Hopefully it works well enough with the new MBs to at least offer basic driver functionality.



    Are you running Leopard Server and is it as buggy as I'm reading? I'm thinking about getting certified in OS X server and I wonder if Apple is going have the published resources for SL Server. I figure the polish and optimization can go a LONG way with their server product.
  • Reply 17 of 86
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I believe Steve said "about a year" at WWDC, so we still have 7 months to wait. But I'm surprised Grand Central is still getting "fresh additions."



    It's fundamentally a very simple API isn't it? The OS just makes a queue for each processor, and you give it work units to do. If you want the work units to execute sequentially you add them to the same queue, otherwise address them to "any."



    Probably my understanding is incomplete, but it seems like there's not too many ways to model an API for that. Two C functions? AddToSpecificQueue(block, queueId) AddToAnyQueue(block).
  • Reply 18 of 86
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,491member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    Including the people actually working on it though? That's where the assertion for Q1 comes from.



    Really? Who that you know is working on saying that? The possible red circle around the date the we read of? That's certainly nothing. It's already been asserted that it could have been a mistake.



    Quote:

    Even though the outside developers say it's got a long way to go, we still don't have any frame of reference as to how long it will take.



    That's true, but from what we are reading about, it does seem to be a ways off.





    Quote:

    Developers often say that the system has a long way to go only a couple of months before the final release.



    Often? I'd say rarely.



    Quote:

    The developments in Snow Leopard are significant but there's no way we can say at this stage if it can or can't be released in Q1.



    We can't say so with a definite word, but unless Apple has something up its sleeve the way it did when it released 10.4 surprisingly early, there's no reason to believe that this will be three months early. That's VERY early. Why would Apple want to do that?



    Quote:

    It seems fairly certain that it will likely be in March at the earliest though and this is stretching Q1 to the limit so we'll just have to see how developments go over the next couple of months and maybe get some info at MW.



    Certainly March would be the earliest, though some wags here were predicting Macworld!



    But March seems too early. Apple hasn't put out enough beta's yet for that.



    Quote:

    The urgency is for the apps and drivers. I've only recently considered moving to Leopard because I don't want my apps to start breaking and introducing bugs that weren't there before.



    My view is if it ain't broke don't upgrade unless it offers something major. Snow Leopard should offer something major but I want it to be in the hands of all developers soon so that they can make sure the apps work properly.



    Otherwise, I might not upgrade for another year from now. If it's out in March then I might be able to upgrade earlier.



    If Apple does go for a 64 bit kernel, then we will NEED all new 64 bit drivers. Remember how that screwed Win 64. I've got some expensive equipment here, I want to know they will work properly, or I won't upgrade. If people won't upgrade because of that, what advantage will they have gotten by coming out with the OS early?



    That's easy. None!!!



    In fact, it will be a marketing fiasco.



    For people who are complaining on the other thread about lack of FW on the new MB, and the use of a mini DisplayPort connector on another, this will be a hurricane compared to the breeze of those complaints.
  • Reply 19 of 86
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,491member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    I believe Steve said "about a year" at WWDC, so we still have 7 months to wait. But I'm surprised Grand Central is still getting "fresh additions."



    It's fundamentally a very simple API isn't it? The OS just makes a queue for each processor, and you give it work units to do. If you want the work units to execute sequentially you add them to the same queue, otherwise address them to "any."



    Probably my understanding is incomplete, but it seems like there's not too many ways to model an API for that. Two C functions? AddToSpecificQueue(block, queueId) AddToAnyQueue(block).



    Ah! But if it were that simple, everyone would have already done it, including Apple. This is really quite complex.
  • Reply 20 of 86
    Isn't iTunes still written in Carbon? When will that ever be moved to Cocoa? That has to be the largest app right now that still uses Carbon.
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