Yesterday, Apple privately previewed its next operating system, Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" and Snow Leopard Server at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. Although the public did not get a glimpse of the new OS, an Apple press release said that Snow Leopard would include "out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange 2007." Apple said that the standard Mac OS X applications Mail, iCal, and Address Book would have native access to Exchange. Apple plans to deliver Snow Leopard in approximately one year.
The Exchange support in Mac OS X 10.6 will be through Micrsoft's Exchange Web Services protocol, the same protocol used by iPhone 2.0 software, which will enable the iPhone, the new iPhone 3G, and iPod Touch to become Exchange clients. (Apple CEO Steve Jobs dedicated his keynote address to iPhone announcements.) The iPhone 2.0 software update and iPhone 3G will become available next month.
Published reports before yesterday's announcement had speculated that the new OS would run only on Intel-based Macs. However, Apple did not comment on whether or not it would drop support for PowerPC processors.
See also Snow Leopard's Exchange support won't deliver Outlook parity.
Yesterday, Apple released information about Snow Leopard Server, the server version of Mac OS X 10.6 that will ship next year. Snow Leopard Server will include the same performance optimizations of Snow Leopard client, plus a few new features, including read/write support of Sun's 128-bit ZFS file system and an Address Book Server.
The ZFS file system is a high-performance drive format that Apple says will also include data redundancy, automatic error correction, and dynamic volume expansion, among other file system features. The current Leopard OS X 10.5 supports read-only ZFS, but on in the command line.
Snow Leopard Server will also add Address Book Server, a new server that will share contacts across multiple machines and let you create a central Address Book without the use of an LDAP server. Address Book Server will use the new CardDAV specification, which uses WebDAV to exchange vCards.
Other improvements include revisions of existing features, such as iCal Server 2.0, which will add group and shared calendars, push notifications (useful to iPhone users), and the ability to email meeting and event invitations to non-iCal Server users. The iCal Server 2.0 also includes a web application for enabling viewing of calendars from a web browser (presumably iPhone-friendly).