Report: Apple to launch Snow Leopard OS June 8

Sleuth pegs debut during Worldwide Developers Conference keynote

Apple will roll out Snow Leopard, its next operating system, June 8, according to a report based on openings at the San Francisco event center the company frequently books for its developer conference.

Last year at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple confirmed that the next upgrade to Mac OS X would be dubbed Snow Leopard, and would launch "in about a year."

According to the Baltimore Sun, the Moscone Center has an opening June 6 through June 12 marked only as a generic "Corporate meeting." That week is the same time of the month that Apple has held WWDC at Moscone in 2007 and 2008.

Apple has not yet published a schedule for WWDC.

The Baltimore Sun, writer noted the similarities between the June opening and past WWDCs. "That's the second week of June, the correct number of days, and ends on a Friday (WWDC nearly always ends on a Friday)," said David Zeller.

Zeller also assumed that, as at previous developer conferences, Apple will hold a keynote on the Monday of the event, and furthermore, use that keynote to announced the launch of Mac OS X 10.6, a.k.a. Snow Leopard.

Last year, CEO Steve Jobs took the stage on the Monday of WWDC to deliver the keynote, during which he unveiled the new iPhone 3G, which Apple started selling July 11. It's not known whether Jobs will attend WWDC this year; when he announced in January that he was taking time off for health reasons, he said his leave of absence would run through the end of June.

One analyst declined to speculate on a Snow Leopard release date, but said that with last week's desktop refresh, Apple now has its hardware pieces in place. "Adding more robust graphics processing is a way for setting things up for developers to take advantage of OpenCL in Snow Leopard," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research.

Apple has said Snow Leopard will support OpenCL (Open Computing Language) to allow developers to "steal" computing power from the graphics processor and apply it to general, nongraphics tasks.

All notebook and consumer desktop Macs are now configured with graphics processors from nVidia, which has been aggressively pushing its chips' ability to take some of the load from the CPU.

According to earlier reports, Apple has also provided developers with Snow Leopard builds that feature tools to mimic the iPhone's location-sensing skills, as well as additional support for multitouch features.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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