After taking down the site for a few minutes, Apple brought it back up today and announced that Mac OS X version 10.6, known as Snow Leopard, will go on sale this Friday, August 28 at Apple’s retail stores.
Apple has stated that Snow Leopard would predominantly be about streamlining both the size and speed of the OS. Installing Snow Leopard should take about half the time of performing a Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard install, and it’s expected that you’ll gain about 7 GB of space back on your hard disk.
The main point of the new release seems to be speed. Apple claims that the installation of the system now hogs up to 6GB less hard drive space, while fine tuning should see all users of Intel Macs noticing performance improvements right across the board.
The under-the-hood improvements that Apple has made to the new OS boasts of faster times for everything from installation to waking the computer from sleep to system shutdown. This could represent a boost in accessing USENET newsgroups.
A single user version of Snow Leopard will be available as an upgrade from Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard for $29, a family-pack version that’s licensed for up to five Macs within a household will cost $49, and an updated Mac Box Set, which will include Snow Leopard, iLife ’09, and iWork ’09 will cost $169.
Looking at it historically, pricing is surprisingly low for an Apple product, fueling fire that this may be an attempt to be more aggressive in its competition with Microsoft. Windows 7 is slated to be released in October.
Additionally, it may reflect the new system’s relative lack of new features. Apple’s own website doesn’t pull any punches, trumpeting Snow Leopard’s arrival with the headline: “The all-new, exactly-the-same Finder”.
The most popular newsreaders for the Mac, Panic Unison and BinBot, seem to be unaffected by this upgrade. However, users may experience a slight performance boost due to these new upgraded features.