Apple Unveils Snow Leopard, But What Does it Mean?

Apple’s airtight secrecy has allowed it to do some wonderful things. But what happens when it’s difficult to tell the path of future operating systems? That’s the situation I’m trying to tackle with Mac OS X Leopard and now the upcoming Mac OS X “Snow Leopard.” The good news is, Apple says they’re focused on improving the "quality" of the OS. The bad news is, it’s not clear what the plan is for the existing 10.5 OS — or what it will take for OS changes to sync up with what we need as musicians and audio producers.

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Snow Leopard Promises QuickTime X

In case you haven’t seen, Apple has made a vague public mention of Snow Leopard, the next major release of OS X. Cost: unknown. Availability: a year out, roughly. Contents: "quality" improvements. (I talk about some of the confusion Apple’s software strategy has caused over on Create Digital Music.) Here’s the visualist tidbit: on the official announcement page, Apple mentions that a key feature will be QuickTime X. I figure this could be fantastic news — or terrible news. For now, we mostly have questions: Will QuickTime X be back-ported to Tiger/Leopard? Will it be on Windows? (Normally, I wouldn’t …

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Pre-Release of Pro Tools 7.4 for Leopard; Why Patience Could Pay Off

The good news: Digidesign has made a pre-release version of Pro Tools 7.4 (all versions — M-Powered, LE, and HD) available for Mac OS X Leopard. You’re advised not to install this on a critical system and to keep regular backups, but if you’ve got a new machine waiting for a Leopard-ready version, you can give this a go now. Update: Information on Pro Tools Compatibility for Mac OS X 10.5.3 The reason you might still want to wait on Leopard upgrading, in case this hasn’t already made you cautious: not all RTAS plug-ins are expected to be “Leopard-ready.” (TDM …

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Mac OS X 10.5.3 Released; Addresses USB Audio Issues

Apple has made its Mac OS X 10.5.3 update available. Among the bug fixes: “Addresses an issue with stuttering video and audio playback in certain USB devices.” Also interesting, given that some issues may have been related to wireless issues: “Improves 802.1X behavior and reliability.” About the Mac OS X 10.5.3 Update [Knowledge Base HT1141 at Apple Support] Thanks to John for the tip. (I hear shouts of joy from various people as that Software Update dialog pops up…) This would appear to address at least some of the audio performance complaints with 10.5.2. Those of you who have been …

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Blame Apple, Not Your Driver Maker, But Leopard Fix May Be Close

Sometimes the kernel pops, sometimes it doesn’t. We’re waiting for a Leopard fix, and have reason to believe we may not have to wait much longer. Photo CC EastBayAnt. Updated: As expected, the Mac OS X 10.5.3 update has been released, and it promises to address USB audio playback issues. That may or may not fully resolve issues users have been encountering; I expect we’ll know more soon. Let’s get one thing straight: if you’re having audio problems under Mac OS X 10.5.2 and you’re looking for someone to blame, it’s reasonably safe to blame Apple, in case that wasn’t …

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eMotion, Lovely Particles Tool on Leopard, Now Available for Beta Download

eMotion – Basic particles tool example from Adrien Mondot on Vimeo. We saw eMotion last year — it’s a Mac OS-based 3D tool for particles and visual effects, with physics modeling, Wacom tablet control, input from sensors and OpenSoundControl, a text engine, and integrated Quartz Composer support. In other words: it’s a friendly tool for making pretty motion imagery, designed to be usable by performers. Creator Adrien Mondot has new videos up and a beta available for download. (An Intel Mac running Leopard is required.) eMotion on stage from eMotion for Animation on Vimeo. More videos, including screencasts on features …

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Leopard Audio Woes and Digidesign; 10.5.2 is a Lemon for Music?

The more we learn about Leopard, specifically 10.5.2, the worse it gets. I don’t think there are any larger lessons to be drawn here, or meaningful platform discussions to be had. I think you should find a workaround and keep making music. Hey, I’ve been running Mac, Windows, and other operating systems (cough, yes, DOS) for a long time. Some releases are beloved keepers, rock-solid models of compatibility and stability. Others, you move on, and try to erase the version number from your mind. Both seem to come in cycles. Digidesign has joined its M-Audio unit in responding to our …

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Digidesign Talks Latest Windows, Mac Releases, Compatibility, Drivers

Having already heard from M-Audio, we now have a response from Digidesign regarding concerns about driver support and Pro Tools software compatibility for the latest Windows and Mac operating systems. Bob Langlie, VP of Customer Support and Service, and via Digi’s forums, Digidesign’s product marketing and general operations representatives all weigh in with some clarification and answers. There’s even a response to me complaining about the lack of explicit Vista Home Premium support. (The short answer on that is, if you’ve got Home Premium, give it a shot and see what happens; a lack of explicit support doesn’t mean that …

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M-Audio Responds: Update on Driver Situation, New Drivers

M-Audio has actually gotten in touch in response to frustrations about incompatibilities with OS updates — updates which, admittedly, have recently been frequent and sometimes troublesome on both the Windows and Mac sides. Niels Larsen, General Manger at M-Audio, responds in comments with some specifics on where drivers are, some new drivers that were released literally today, and some comments on the OS situation in general.  (I’ve copied it here just in case you missed it in comments.) I’ve also heard from Digidesign/M-Audio public relations; I hope to have additional updates soon. This is well worth reading whether or not …

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PreSonus Goes to Open Beta for Drivers

Speaking of drivers, PreSonus announced today that they’re allowing users to register for open beta drivers. They’re hardly the first to do this — M-Audio has done the same historically, even if I’m not thrilled with their pace at the moment. But this raises an interesting question: could opening a beta help improve driver quality and get updates in users’ hands faster? Do audio users really want to "beta-test" drivers in the first place? (I guess that depends on how mature the "beta" release is.) We’ll have to see how PreSonus fares. How is PreSonus doing with released drivers? Reasonably …

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