The next major release of Apple’s operating system, dubbed “Snow Leopard,” is slated to come out next year. No specific date has been actually set for the launch, but when announced at the WWDC event back in June, the company said that Mac OS X 10.6 would be available in about a year. Now, however, a leaked slide from a recent presentation suggests it could be sooner.

Specifically the slide presented by the director of Apple’s Unix Technology Group, Jordan Hubbard, shows Snow Leopard will ship in the first quarter of 2009 – sparking speculation that the company could show off a near finalized copy at January's Macworld Expo and follow up with an official release a couple of months later.

Rather than emphasize revolutionary new features, Snow Leopard is said to focus on performance and stability, with Apple particularly mentioning it will be optimized for multi-core processors and that should also enable “breakthrough amounts of RAM.”