Apple Freezes Snow Leopard APIs, Mac OS X 10.6 Upgrade Steps Closer to Release

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Date: Tuesday, May 12th, 2009, 08:18
Category: Software

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Over the weekend, Apple distributed a new beta of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system that altered the programming methods used to optimize code for multi-core Macs, telling developers they were the last programming-oriented changes planned ahead of the software’s release.
The company is said to have informed recipients of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard build 10A354 that it has simplified the application programming interfaces (APIs) for working with Grand Central, a new architecture that makes it easier for developers to take advantage of Macs with multiple processing cores.
According to AppleInsider, Grand Central works by breaking complex tasks down into smaller blocks, which are then routed efficiently to a Mac’s available cores for faster processing. This allows third-party developers to leverage more of a Mac’s hardware resources without having to be well-versed in multithreaded programming.
Sources close to the story say the Grand Central “dispatch” methods were tweaked/simplified within build 10A354. Apple has also apparently told developers that “no further API changes are planned for Snow Leopard.”
This means developers can now press forward with Snow Leopard versions of their applications with confidence that further Apple-instated changes won’t force them to make significant alterations to their code between now and the time the software hits the market. It can also be seen as a sign that the the operating system upgrade is one step closer to reaching a final developmental stretch that will focus on stability and optimization.
Other reputed changes include the addition of Chinese handwriting recognition support for Macs that include a multi-touch trackpad.
In support of the handwriting recognition software in Snow Leopard, Apple also reportedly tweaked the system’s Language & Text Preference Pane to include support for bidirectional text.
Apple has apparently also included a new codec due to debut with Snow Leopard called MPEG-4 High Efficiency AAC (or HE-AAC). The company has stated that the codec is an extension of the Low Complexity AAC (or AAC-LC) codec that’s optimized for low-bitrate steaming of audio and podcasts.
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is expected to hit the market sometime this summer with a near-finalized version likely to make a public appearance at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next month in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Apple this weekend also equipped developers with Mac OS X 10.5.7 build 9J61, which corrected one more minor issue with the impending Leopard update.

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