Looks like the rumor mill was spot on this time, as speculation that Mac OS X Snow Leopard would ship earlier than its anticipated September street date have proven true. Apple (s aapl) announced this morning via a press release that 10.6 will go on sale Friday, August 28th (yes, that’s the end of this week, you’re not dreaming) at Apple retail stores. Pre-orders are now being accepted online.
It’s not really that shocking, since one Mac mini reportedly already shipped with Snow Leopard in Japan. This means users will be able to physically get their hands on the new OS two months before Windows 7 is scheduled to arrive, marking a significant win for Apple over Microsoft (s msft).
In the official press release, Apple SVP of Software Engineering Bertrand Serlet gave the following quote, which seems to indicate that the company is hoping this latest release will help bolster their enterprise business, since he focuses on Exchange:
“Snow Leopard builds on our most successful operating system ever and we’re happy to get it to users earlier than expected. For just $29, Leopard users get a smooth upgrade to the world’s most advanced operating system and the only system with built in Exchange support.”
Serlet also cues in on the price, mentioning the $29 single-user license fee for upgrading from Leopard to Snow Leopard. For only $49, users can pick up a family pack, which is a bargain even for Mac owners with only two computers, though the license covers up to five separate installations. Those upgrading from 10.4.x (aka Tiger) have the option of picking up the Mac Box Set with iLife and iWork for $169, or $229 for a family pack.
I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to a labor-intensive Friday, with four Macs to upgrade (a fifth is PowerPC-based, and so can’t run 10.6). You can check out our preparatory guide by Jon Buys to make things easier, or just drool over some of the details of the upcoming release.