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Tip From Mossberg: Snow Leopard Upgrade Good for All

snow_leopardWhile many of us had suspected it to be the case, Walt Mossberg of All Things Digital in his review of Snow Leopard has confirmed it: The 10.6 upgrade will work with 10.4 Tiger. Which means that if you’re not keen on iLife or iWork ’09, you can skip the full version included in the box set and save yourself a cool $140.

Of course, while Tiger users are probably pleased as punch, it’s unclear how Apple’s (s aapl) going to feel about this. On the one hand, Mossberg has let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, and advised users of a course of action that could deprive the company of a lot of potential revenue. Not to mention that those who do use this upgrade method will be in clear violation of Apple’s licensing agreement.

On the other hand, Walt’s exact words are:

[H]ere’s a tip: Apple concedes that the $29 Snow Leopard upgrade will work properly on these Tiger-equipped Macs, so you can save the extra $140.

That “Apple concedes” bit makes it sound like Cupertino had a hand in this particular revelation, which could mean the company expects to make more off of Tiger users buying the upgrade at a discounted price than it would from straight-up sales of the box set. Which makes sense, since why would you pay $169 for an update when your machine is humming along fine without it? A $30 price point, by contrast, will convince an awful lot of fence-sitters.

It remains unclear whether the $29 Snow Leopard upgrade disc (or $49 family pack) will work for standalone (ie. clean slate) installations, though it seems likely that it will, at least according to Lifehacker’s review of the software. Snow Leopard goes on sale tomorrow, Aug. 28th; the NYT and USA Today have interesting reviews as well.

17 Responses to “Tip From Mossberg: Snow Leopard Upgrade Good for All”

  1. Linders von DeLappe

    Meow…My iBook G4 will continue to meekly run via Panther. Actually, I still love my Mac and hopefully – she’ll continue “roaring” for many moons to come…

  2. Given that Snow Leopard is Intel-only, how many original users still on Tiger are restricted to their PowerPC architecture? If anything, these users might consider upgrading to Leopard 10.5. Which means $ for Apple. Of course, users upgrading to a new Intel-based computer means $$$ for Apple.

  3. While I am plunking my $30 down gladly, my money is on Snow Leopard having some unannounced functionality that is important to the Tablet and/or new ways that Apple will better bridge the distinctions between MacOS and iPhoneOS computing models

    The assumption here is that Apple wants/hopes/needs everyone to upgrade to take advantage of something unannounced, and are pricing the upgrade accordingly.

    Here’s a post on my analysis:

    Analysis: Apple June Quarter Earnings Call

    Check it out if interested.


  4. I suspect the disc for Snow Leopard is the same no matter what. No serial number is required. Apple’s Family Packs are on the “honor system”, and the box set and SL packages probably are, too. This wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    I don’t think Apple has any desire (nor should they) of setting up “Apple Genuine Advantage” (as if!) to police this process. More trouble than it’s worth.

  5. zoffdino

    If anything, we should thank Apple for not being draconian on its users. Imagine the headache that would occur if Apple sells “Snow Leopard Clean Slate Version”, “Snow Leopard Up-to-date version”, “Snow Leopard Leopard Upgrade Version”, “Snow Leopard Tiger Upgrade Version” and a few other editions of its server software. This is not Windows and its crazy upgrade chart. There are only two Snow Leopards: a home and a server version.