Rumor Has It: Snow Leopard Getting Early Release

Snow Leopard

The seeding yesterday by Apple (s aapl) of version 10A433 of Snow Leopard, which is presumed the Golden Master edition of the upcoming OS iteration, has led many to believe that Cupertino will be pushing the official launch date of the software up. The official line was, and always has been, that Apple would ship 10.6 on an unspecified date in September, but many Apple news and rumor sites are reporting that the date will in fact be much earlier, according to their various sources.

While there is some speculation that Snow Leopard could be arriving as early as Aug. 24, the money is on John Gruber’s proposed launch date of Aug. 28, since he has a good track record with this sort of thing. Backing up Gruber is MacDailyNews, which claims to have heard the same date from multiple independent sources.

If it were to launch on that earlier date, it would beat Windows 7 out of the gate by a considerable margin of nearly two full months, with Microsoft’s (s msft) latest entry sporting a street date of Oct. 22. It would also score points with consumers, since software hardly ever beats its stated release time frame.

Snow Leopard currently sits high atop the sales rankings, with the individual and family pack sitting at spots two and three, respectively. No doubt Apple’s aggressive pricing strategy has more than a little to do with the success of pre-order sales. Just $29.99 will get you a single-user license, while the family pack, which allows installation on up to five machines, costs a very budget-friendly $49.99. Windows 7 first appears at No. 23 on the best-seller list, two spots below OS X Leopard 10.5.6.