While 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 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.