Apple recently released a new operating system upgrade: Snow Leopard, also known as OS X v10.6. While the price is right — upgrading from Leopard costs only $29 for a single-user license — what will you really get? We take a look at its best business features to give you the rundown of what you can expect with the latest Mac OS.
Increased System Speed and Storage Space
Snow Leopard is fast and light. With a footprint that’s less than half of the previous version, you’ll have about 7 gigabytes more disk space. And with the 64-bit capabilities, applications can address more memory and run even faster than before.
Snow Leopard will also shave precious seconds off the time it takes to wake your computer from sleep and to shut it down. Backing up is quicker, too — Snow Leopard makes Time Machine, Mac’s backup software, 80 percent faster, and it even speeds up the initial full backup.
Microsoft Exchange Server Support
Snow Leopard comes with out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, so you can seamlessly integrate Mail, iCal, and Address Book with your company systems. Whether you’re using Exchange for viewing employees’ schedules, setting up meetings, or sending e-mails to people on Global Address Lists, you can now do it all on Apple apps.
You’ll also receive out-of-the-box support for Cisco IPsec VPN connections, helping you get your secure connection set up quickly.
Better File and App Organization
Snow Leopard’s Finder, Exposé, and Stacks make it quicker and easier for you to search through and organize your documents and workspace, saving time and improving efficiency.
Finder previews are speedier, and you can get full document, video, and image previews directly in Finder. You can also restore items from the Trash folder to their original locations with a single click using the Put Back option.
Exposé now integrates with the dock, making it more convenient to get previews of your workspaces and switch to the one you need. Stacks also has some improvements, letting you scroll through the items in a docked folder in a grid view with greater ease and allowing you to open subfolders in the Stack.
Enhanced PDFs and Text Documents
Preview, Apple’s PDF viewer and editor, also has some improvements. It’s now easier to copy and paste text from a PDF with a smart selection tool that can identify columns. And the nearly hidden annotations feature gets an upgrade and a new toolbar to make it easy to add comments, links, edits, and more. Keeping with the theme of making things fast and easy to find, you can also now view multiple PDFs in a single document window, which makes it easier to get an overview of related documents and eliminates desktop clutter.
Another cool new Snow Leopard feature is the flight data detector, which recognizes flight numbers in e-mails and text documents and links to a flight tracker widget, which provides up-to-date flight information.
Snow Leopard also lets you create text shortcuts for frequently used phrases and symbols.
Improved Video Functions
Video capabilities are essential in today’s business world, and Snow Leopard features some new tools to help you keep pace. iChat video and iChat Theater now let you share higher-resolution videos and use less bandwidth than previous versions. Whether you’re using iChat for videoconferencing, giving presentations, or going over video content, you’ll be using fewer resources and getting better quality videos.
QuickTime has also been updated. QuickTime X offers efficient media playback, live streaming, and greater color accuracy. Plus it lets you record your screen to create instructional screencasts, save your media so it’s compatible with multiple devices and platforms, and do basic video editing, like trimming, right in QuickTime.