It's been a really exciting week here at Apple's WWDC! There's a lot of information now available from the Keynote of the conference which is public, and there was a lot more disclosed in sessions that we can't talk about. However, the most important pieces of user news are that Snow Leopard will be available in September for $29 (USD) as an upgrade to Leopard, and that Snow Leopard will not support the PowerPC processor-based Macintoshes. This has very important implications for Cartographica—specifically, we will be discontinuing new feature support of 10.5, and thus the PowerPC, in new feature releases as of September of this year, much sooner than we had originally expected.
As you already know, Cartographica uses technologies in Leopard (OS X 10.5) that preclude our supporting OS X 10.4. There are too many of them to enumerate, but we believe that the decision to support Leopard-only provides us with a good base to build on. As such, we support in version 1.0 the 64-bit modes of both PowerPC and Intel-based Macintoshes.
We are aware that there are potential users who are already disappointed that we don't support 10.4, and we expect that there will be users who will be disappointed that we are accelerating our plans to discontinue new feature development in 10.5 (and thus the PowerPC-based Macintoshes). If you are a current customer who will be adversely affected by this announcement, please contact our support organization directly and we will work to create a resolution suitable to your specific circumstances.
What does this mean?
To be clear, we are not discontinuing bug fixes for 10.5 and PowerPC, but we will not be adding new features that support either the PowerPC or 10.5 after September of this year. On the product roadmap, that means that version 1.1 (due out this summer) will be 10.5 and PowerPC capable, but version 1.2 (due out this fall) will not.
Due to the very reasonable pricing of Snow Leopard, and the substantial support that it provides for multiprocessing, we believe that by adopting 10.6 technologies exclusively, we can provide the most advanced, responsive, and fastest GIS available on any platform. By eliminating the need to re-implement Apple's advanced technologies in Cartographica for 10.5, we can concentrate on features and interface, and move the product forward at a much greater rate.
We believe that the vast majority of customers are already prepared for this transition. Based on the last six months of access to the Cartographica micro-site, over 83% of our visitors are using Leopard on Intel machines, and less than 10% are using PowerPC (less than 5% if you include users who are using Leopard, and thus capable of running Cartographica). These numbers point at a trend of users moving to both Leopard and Intel since the beginning of the year (when there were about 84% on Intel). For users since March (counting paying customers and beta users), less than 8% are using PowerPC, based on our telemetry data.
We hope our users will appreciate our commitment to adopting new technologies that will move the user experience and performance forward as rapidly as possible.
Thank you for your support!
Gaige B. Paulsen