Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: Cocoa Finder and 64-Bit Changes
With the broad seeding of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, a few more details have been revealed about the direction Apple is going with Snow Leopard. According to the seed notes, Apple is migrating more towards Cocoa (rather than Carbon) and continues the transitioning of Mac OS X to 64-bit operating system. AppleInsider recently explored some of the details surrounding the changes.
Apple states that almost all user-facing applications in Mac OS X have been written in Cocoa with Finder being the notable exception. Apple will finally be migrating Finder to Cocoa in Snow Leopard. Despite Cocoa having a reputation amongst end-users that it is "better" than Carbon, AppleInsider notes that both will continue to coexist.
For users, the move to Cocoa means that applications will have more consistent appearance and behavior. Apps that make use of standardized interface controls rather than building their own will not only be more familiar, but users will also benefit from the code exercise and reuse, which removes bugs and allows for centralized optimizations. In other words, Apple can address user interface problems that in turn impact all apps.
Apple is, however, focusing on Cocoa and is now requiring 64-bit applications to make the switch from Carbon. This new requirement announced at the 2007 WWDC caught some developers off-guard and is why Adobe's Photoshop CS4 remains a 32-bit application, while Windows CS4 already offers 64-bit support.
According to AppleInsider, Snow Leopard will deliver the first 64-bit kernel for Mac OS X. The benefits of 64-bit support are most apparent for applications that require large amounts of memory, and likely do not directly affect the majority of consumers. Apple's Mac OS X has already been able to provide support for 64-bit applications.