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10.6 A Maintenance Update?

And the codename's 'Snow Leopard'?

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Rumours are circulating Apple are readying a new version of their 64-bit operating system, that it might preview at their WWDC this summer, that it may be ready for the winter holiday market, that it's going to be 'Intel only', that it might be 'pure Cocoa', and that it's more of a maintenance update than a real new version.

According to TUAW sources the new OS won't include new features but will distinguish itself instead by better stability and security. The same sources hint at a release not exactly in time for the holiday market but at least the Macworld Expo in January 2009.

TUAW further speculate the new release may leave PPC boxes behind - signalling an end to the days of universal binaries, a move which will save some punters a lot of disk space and anger others.

At time of writing nearly 26,000 people have participated in TUAW's guessing game as to the codename for the new system; 'Cougar' presently is in front, followed by 'Snow Leopard', 'Garfield', 'Lynx', 'Felix', 'Caterpilla', 'lolcat', and others.

But Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica claims the name is already set as 'Snow Leopard'.

Cheng also believes the system will premiere at Macworld 2009, will not boast major changes, and will focus on better performance and stability. And he too speculates the system will be 'pure Cocoa'.

'10.6 is all about making graybeards bristly', comments Cheng.


Of course the eternal argument about what is Carbon and what is not will rear its head again. 'Apple may only axe Carbon UI stuff', offers Cheng, but in fact that's what Carbon is - an archaic GUI API that was dead ten years ago. New technologies aren't 'Carbon' simply because they're not wrapped in NeXTSTEP classes.

Leaving PPC boxes behind isn't going to be popular; then again leaving PPC behind back in 2006 wasn't a big winner with the punters either: IBM have long since shown they can wipe the floor with Intel when it comes to power computing and black hats always have a considerably easier time of it with x86 shellcode.

Outlawing Carbon however has got to be a good thing: this will force the lamers to finally adopt the platform they should have taken the time to get acquainted with ten years ago. Claiming for ten years they had too much legacy code simply didn't wash.

And finally: making a 'Daytona' release has got to be to Apple's advantage. There are currently so many things wrong with 10.5, some of them carried over from Tiger and some uniquely their own, some inexcusable implementation bugs and some bizarre design flaws, that time has to be taken to catch up.

The world's most advanced operating system's been getting wobbly of late.

See Also
Hotspots: A Road to Daytona
TUAW: 10.6 to Debut at WWDC 08?
Ars Technica: 10.6 Snow Leopard May Be Pure Cocoa

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