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Apple's Snow Leopard may know where you are

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Apple's upcoming Snow Leopard operating system will include location awareness and multi-touch capabilities. Or so it seems.

Citing an anonymous source, AppleInsider says that Snow Leopard, aka Mac OS X version 10.6, will include the CoreLocation framework introduced last March in the iPhone 2.0 SDK.

The iPhone runs a slimmed-down version of OS X. CoreLocation is a rare framework that exists on the iPhone OS and not - yet - in the version of OS X that powers Apple's Macs.

CoreLocation works with the iPhone's built-in GPS, cell phone-tower triangulation, and Wi-Fi positioning data provided by Skyhook Wireless to determine the device's location - a feature Apple defines as "geographical location technology."

Location-awareness is the New Hotness in many an application, from Google's recently announced Latitude service to the Places feature in Apple's new iPhoto '09 and iPhone apps such as Loopt and AroundMe.

Apple's current MacBook line doesn't include either GPS support or cell-phone circuitry, so it stands to reason that Snow Leopard's CoreLocation framework would rely on less-accurate Wi-Fi positioning.

That is, of course, until the next round of MacBooks appears, which may add GPS to their feature list, bringing them in line with Sony's Vaio P netbooks and Fujitsu's LifeBook U820 "mini-notebook."

While the rumored multi-touch capabilities will undoubtedly revive fervid dreams of the oft-imagined Tablet Mac - which has been coming "real soon now" since as long ago as 2002 - multi-touch APIs would more realistically simply make available to developers access to the capabilities of the multi-touch trackpads in the current MacBook line.

Snow Leopard is rumored to be scheduled for release in the first quarter of this year. Whether "geographical location technology" and multi-touch APIs will make it into Mac OS 10.6.0 or be delayed until until 10.6.1 or later, the anonymous sources didn't say. ®

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