With all the talk of cute new Spotlight visualizations and fancy Desktop Widgets, only the Inquirer decided to hold forth on Leopard’s 64-bit systems. Vista, it seems, will support 64-bit processing only in a highly specialized versions of the OS which will emulate 32-bit processing in software.
Called Window on Windows or WOW, this layer will run older XP applications but not older drivers. Leopard will be fully 64-bit compliant straight out of the box, with non-emulated 32-bit support built-in.
Starting with Xcode 2.4, the OSX Universal binary format has been extended to support 32-bit and 64-bit for both PPC and Intel processors inside the same file, giving OSX quad universal binaries. Users don’t have to choose between processor architectures nor 32-bit or 64-bit processors, either at the OS or application layers, it’s all abstracted away from them – as it should be.
I know it’s a bit early for kernel emulation blather, but the hackers among you will be glad to know that you’ll soon have a fully 64-bit OS at your fingertips for the price of a Mac Pro with built-in XP/Vista support, you know, just in case.