Snow Leopard goes on sale in Australia (updated)

Apple's newest operating system now available.

Mac OS X 10.6, or "Snow Leopard", running on a MacBook Pro: image by Apple

Mac OS X 10.6, or "Snow Leopard", running on a MacBook Pro: image by Apple

Apple has launched Snow Leopard, it's newest operating system.

"Snow Leopard builds on our most successful operating system ever and we're happy to get it to users earlier than expected," Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Bertrand Serlet, said.

The operating system is available as an upgrade for Mac OS X Leopard users in Australia for $39. The Snow Leopard family pack, a single-household, five-user license, costs $69. Tiger users will have to buy the Mac Box Set, which includes Mac OS X Snow Leopard, iLife 09 and iWork 09, for $229.

When it flaunted Mac OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard, in early June, Apple said the upgrade would go on sale sometime in September.

Recently, however, accumulating clues - including a glitch on Apple's own Web site - pointed to an early release.

Analysts have projected that Apple will sell between 2.5 and 3 million copies of Snow Leopard in the quarter that ends Sept. 30, although the impact to Apple's bottom line will be markedly less than 2007's Leopard, which was priced at $US129 for a single license.

In June, Apple said it reduced the price for Snow Leopard because it wanted all its users to move up to the new OS.

"Leopard was $US129 but we want all Leopard users to upgrade to Snow Leopard, so we're pricing it at $US29," said Craig Federighi, the vice president of Mac OS engineering, during a presentation at the company's annual developer's conference on June 8.

Apple has marketed Snow Leopard as a stability and performance upgrade, rather than an OS packed with easy-to-see changes.

Snow Leopard runs several Apple-provided applications faster, the company claimed, including Mail, which loads messages twice as fast, and Time Machine, the integrated backup and restore program, which does its initial backup 80 per cent faster.

Snow Leopard adds support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 to allow synchronisation from Exchange to Mail, Calendar and Address Book on the Mac.

The new OS also supports the OpenCL (Open Computing Language) standard, which will let developers "steal" computing power from a Mac's graphics processor and apply it to general, non-graphics tasks.

All laptop and consumer desktop Macs are now configured with graphics processors from Nvidia, which has been aggressively pushing its chips' ability to take some of the load off the CPU.

According to Apple, Snow Leopard has been squeezed to about half the size of its predecessor; users who upgrade from Leopard should reclaim about 7GB of disk space.

Customers who have purchased a new or Apple-refurbished Mac since June 8 are eligible for the company's Snow Leopard Up-to-Date Program, which provides a copy of new operating system for a $US9.95 shipping and handling fee. That deal is good through Dec. 26.

Although Snow Leopard is priced considerably less than Microsoft's Windows 7, and Apple beat its rival to market, analysts have said that the latter definitely doesn't matter and the former means little more than bragging rights.

"I don't envision that anyone is really saying to themselves: 'I need a new computer, and whoever ships first gets my business,'" said Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, in early June.

"In the long term, [the price difference] has no impact," said Allen Krans of Technology Business Research at the time.

"The challenge of Windows 7 is reaching those usability and performance standards that weren't met with Vista."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleoperating systemsMac OS Xsnow leopard

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?