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Apple's Snow Leopard Ships Aug. 28

Mac early adopters can set a date: Apple announced this morning that it will ship its next version of Mac OS X, Snow Leopard, this Friday, Aug. 28 -- earlier than it had predicted in June -- and it's already taking pre-orders for it on its Web site.


Snow Leopard -- you can also call it Mac OS X 10.6, but Apple, like Microsoft, has been moving away from using version numbers to identify its operating-system updates -- will be an unusual release in some ways. Apple is emphasizing performance over new features, calling this version "refined, not reinvented" and advertising such incremental improvements as faster startup and shutdown times, a smaller disk footprint and a more crash-resistant Web browser.

Apple is also pricing Snow Leopard low enough to make it almost an automatic upgrade from the current, already-good OS X 10.5 Leopard: just $29, $100 less than what Leopard sold for at its debut. (If you bought a Mac from June 8 on, right after Snow Leopard had its first in-depth demonstration at an Apple conference, you can probably get it for just $9.95.)

But people running older versions of OS X aren't eligible for those deals, and many older Macs can't run Snow Leopard at any price.

If you use 10.4 Tiger, you'll have to buy the "Mac Box Set," a $169 bundle of Snow Leopard and the latest versions of Apple's iLife media-creativity and iWork personal-productivity suites. I like iLife and iWork, but I'm not sure that every Tiger user will appreciate having to pay for those two bundles as part of a Leopard upgrade.

If your Mac doesn't have an Intel processor inside, you can't install Snow Leopard on that machine. Four years after it announced it would switch to Intel's processors from PowerPC chips and some three and a half years since it shipped its first Intel-based Mac, Apple considers that transition over.

I plan to have a review of Snow Leopard online and in print as soon as I can. Meanwhile, I'd like to hear from current and potential Mac users: Do you plan to switch to Snow Leopard? If so, how soon? If not, what's pushing you away? (Windows and Linux users are, of course, free to chime in, too.) The comments are yours ...

By Rob Pegoraro  |  August 24, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Mac  
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Probably gonna do the upgrade. As you say, $30 is pretty cheap.

In other news, remember the movie Maximum Overdrive? It's happening:

Posted by: wiredog | August 24, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Looking at the Apple page,

Rewritten Finder, finally. 64 bit and uses Cocoa. And tuned for multicore chips. About bloody time.

And maybe they've fixed the disk eject bug? I know that sometimes the iPod won't eject properly and I have to shutdown the box. Well, I've never had a problem just unplugging the thing, but you're not supposed to do that.

Posted by: wiredog | August 24, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Pretty much a no-brainer for me. The low price makes the decision easy. Are there any compatibility issues? I heard a rumor that Quicken will break under Snow Leopard.

Posted by: CafeBeouf | August 24, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Annnnd.. The pre-order page returns a 404 error...

Posted by: wiredog | August 24, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Rob, I'm going to wait on your review...and see what the others provide as comments. Then I'll decide.

Posted by: rjrjj | August 24, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Snow Leopard won't run on my old iMac. It'll have to be on a new computer before I get it.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | August 24, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I'll probably wait a couple of weeks before upgrading, but for $30 why not? My biggest question is how snappy will it be with all the under-the-hood fixes. Yes, it's supposed to be faster, but then again they've got those fancy capabilities like being able to play a movie from the finder that will slow it back down. And I echo the comment above about the disk eject button. I'm not sure if it's a problem with my older (only 3yrs!) machine, but I've had a couple of times it doesn't notice I've put a blank DVD in there.

And I'll be really interested in the inevitable comparison to Win7, when it gets released.

Posted by: tokrueger | August 24, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Ordered it today. Getting it on my doorstep Friday. I mean I just paid $50 a few weeks ago to pre-order Windows 7 for my PCs - $29 to upgrade my Intel iMac is a steal.

Posted by: SkippyZippy | August 24, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I really don't have the time to install, and my disk space is running out, so I am not going to upgrade. I rather buy a new laptop (I go for Windows this time). The question is, why can't they do everything automatic (yes, I meant it). I'm too busy to deal with a computer unless I'm really using it.

Posted by: daiqn | August 25, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Hello daiqn,

I registered on here just to tell you that when you upgrade to Snow Leopard you will actually GAIN around 7 GB of space on your HD ! So you should go for it!

On another note, I am so upgrading!

Posted by: latif687 | August 25, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Ordered as soon as I got email from Apple. $30 and better, lighter and faster. It's simply too tempting. In fact, I also ordered iLife 09 to upgrade from 08 that came with my MBPro.

Posted by: rajpol | August 25, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse


I am noticing that for the last several days on both your page and also on Brian's page, that when I click on the Comments, the pages reset to the right side of the screen. It is correctable by clicking on the page reload feature, but this never occurred before. Browser is the current version of Firefox.

Posted by: | August 25, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

I ordered a Mac Box Set, delivered direct to my home in the Philippines. I still have iWork/iLife 08 up to now! Been waiting for this, am excited to see how it'll go.

Posted by: mayadanteamihan | August 25, 2009 2:26 AM | Report abuse

Been using Snow Leopard since WWDC this summer. It's as snappy and crash-resistant as people have reported. For $29 for an upgrade, it's pretty much a no-brainer. $49-$200+ for an upgrade to Windows 7? (which is pretty much an apology for Vista) Which is the more expensive platform? That's not even taking into account the family pack upgrades.

Posted by: leipzapf | August 25, 2009 3:24 AM | Report abuse

Much as I love Mac software I've noticed that there's never been an upgrade without unanticipated bugs showing up that require even more upgrades. By the time such problems are ironed out several discount vendors will be selling the newest Snow Leopard DVD's below list price. So what's the hurry?

Posted by: jonthom | August 25, 2009 5:59 AM | Report abuse

I have been running Beta versions of 10.6 for about 4 months now and the last 2 months in 64-bit kernel mode and have found only a couple of issues with programs. I have found no issues with major programs like Office 2008 or Firefox, etc. just lesser known programs like x-lite beta (preferences window doesn't open) and the use of my USB headset inside VMware's Fusion running Windows XP as the guest OS. Stability and speed have been excellent to date and I will be ordering an release version as soon as I finish these comments.

Posted by: lrmcintosh | August 25, 2009 6:14 AM | Report abuse

I switched to Ubuntu and have no regrets.

Posted by: gck1200 | August 25, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

I will upgrade - the price makes it very easy to do so, especially if you do indeed get the performance enhancements, but might wait a bit to hear about any problems with the upgrade for the various software I use (a program like Pro Tools often has issues with upgrades).

I like the idea of a performance upgrade - though I love getting cool new features, for a smaller price, a performance enhancement is good for now.

Posted by: Sullyville | August 25, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

As usual, i vill obey orders and get Snow Leopard. i'm confident it will speed things. But i want to register two complaints in advance. One, already mentioned, is that bugs and incompatibilities seem certain, given the experience of past upgrades --- but without warning when Apple can predict some of them. The other is that when i seek to fix a glitch, Apple, though polite, fails to acknowledge what they call a "known" problem, letting me think it's me. Past upgrades have clashed with HP printer features, for example.

Posted by: JohnPMacKenzie | August 25, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

For those who do iChat visits regularly (think grandparents), the reduction in bandwidth requirements and increase in resolution should be sufficient reasons to upgrade. I've offered to drop ship copies to our out-of-town kids along with purchasing a family pack for the house.

Posted by: doshea | August 25, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I plan to install Snow Leopard on my mini solo, which I upgraded to a Core2Duo. I haven't been doing much to really need the Intel upgrade, but I am looking forward to spreading my video wings with the new iLife suite. My other macs are G5s or 4s, so they will slowly fade away I suppose, but I use YellowDog on a dual G4 which is kind of fun to play with every now and then, just for some mindless games and browsing.

Posted by: stvcar | August 25, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Reassure me that 10.6 will be compatible with Adobe's InDesign CS3, Photoshop, and Acrobat, and I'll order it immediately.

Posted by: watchbird1 | August 25, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

As a general rule, I doubt that upgrading an operating system (Mac or Windows) is ever worth the time and expense. I just wait until I buy my next computer. But, like everybody says, $30 is cheap and I could see pulling the trigger. Still, it's just an incremental upgrade.

Posted by: Booyah5000 | August 25, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"If you use 10.4 Tiger, you'll have to buy the "Mac Box Set," a $169 bundle of Snow Leopard and the latest versions of Apple's iLife media-creativity and iWork personal-productivity suites."

Forget it, then. I'll stay on 10.4 until I need a new machine.

Linux is looking more appealing by the minute...

Posted by: jamshark70 | August 25, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I'll get it, and since I bought my MacBookPro in June, I'll get the good price. But I'm not so impatient that I have to be first in line. I'll wait for the dust to settle.

Posted by: fluxgirl | August 25, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

There are how many millions of PPC Macs out there that would be capable of running 10.6? If the system requirements of 10.6 are the same as for 10.5, any PPC Mac running at at least 867 mHz could handle 10.6. I can see stopping PPC support at some point, but NOT when so many of us happily use PPC Macs.

If Apple wants to increase its share of business use, it should not tell potential customers that they might suddenly find themselves left out in the cold unless they spend substantial sums to upgrade their hardware. Apple rightly claims its hardware is better than others'. My 667 mHz TiBook is still running well after 7 years, just as I expected. Further, those with PPC-based software, such as Adobe CS 1 are faced with having to buy a very pricey new version if they want to run 10.6.

Surely Apple can afford to create a PPC version of 10.6, even if it were to be shipped at a later date.

Posted by: Garak | August 25, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I am running 10.4.11 on 3 of our 4 computers and therefore would have to spend not just the $ 169.00, but $229.00 for the Mac Box Set Family pack to upgrade. I will not do it though until I learn more about the new system and see if its even worth it.
... and I agree with Garak: If Apple wants to increase its share of business use, it should not tell potential customers that they might suddenly find themselves left out in the cold unless they spend substantial sums to upgrade their hardware.

Posted by: arw7400 | August 25, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Now that I've retired, my primary uses of the computer are email, web surfing, and iphoto plus Skype to see the kids/grandkids. All work just fine on Tiger and I can see no reason to pay the heavy price to upgrade.

Posted by: maybealiberal | August 25, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Have considered upgrading from 10.4. Just had a hard-drive crash, but had been backing up to a LaCie Back-up drive using the old Mac Back-up program, so everything was recovered. The Genius at the store told me that he was surprised the old program still worked, and thought the upgrade would be worth it to me just to get Time Machine. Would be interested in thoughts on whether people think it is worth it for that reason, alone (it definitely would have been had I lost everything!)?

Posted by: brookwright | August 25, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I've already pre-ordered Snow Leopard for my laptop.

@ Garak. While it's true that those running hardware that is more than 3.5 years old can't get Snow Leopard, they are hardly left "in the cold." Leopard is already great. Snow Leopard will improve the user experience, but it will not bring significant changes in day-to-day functions for most people. I write this as a happy owner of a 5.5 year-old PPC G5 desktop, which still is a workhorse and will not be replaced anytime soon.

Snow Leopard brings some important optimizations that will ready the Mac platform for the future. I expect that the next version, whatever it will be called, will be a much more dramatic change. By then, our PPC machines will really be ancient, and it makes sense that Apple is gradually leaving them behind.

Posted by: jkh1970 | August 25, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Let it snow let it snow let it snow ... yes I pre-ordered and will be ready to go with snow leopard.

Posted by: moralcompass1 | August 25, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

My ancient laptop running 10.3.9 does what I need it to do. When I upgrade to a new machine, I'll get it then.

Posted by: sandushinka | August 25, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I have an iBook G4, which I got in Spring 2005. Not long ago, upgraded my RAM and last month, I upgraded from Mac OS 10.3.9 to OS 10.5.8. I'm really impressed with the performance improvements from these recent upgrades, but it looks like I can't add Snow Leopard, since I'm not using a Mac with an Intel processor. So, until I get a newer machine, I guess I'll be "stuck" at this plateau. (And on a side note -- Any word on why the replacement batteries that Apple swapped out free a while back, because of fire risk, don't hold a very long charge? I emailed you about this recently, but my query wasn't on your Friday webchat. I'm re-emailing my question, if this is something you might wish to address.)

Posted by: sdcafunnyguru | August 25, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I'll be getting the CD in the mail Friday. However, my years in my old life as a Windows user have made me a little cautious: I think I'll just hang out for a few weeks, watch the webposts and maybe read through a copy of one of the several commercially published software user guides before I actually run the install. The irony is that Leopard is so good that there's no real need to move quickly. Unlike, say, Vista...

Posted by: PhilipL42 | August 25, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

@Rob Pegararo--

I came across a disturbing rumor that posited that Apple had actually WEAKENED security in Snow Leopard in order to make it more user-friendly. I SINCERELY hope that the rumor is just that: A rumor without any foundation in fact.

Posted by: nbahn | August 25, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

If you don't get a windows system, and you just got a apple pc, you can use this software to convert your video on Mac: HD Video Converter for Mac

Posted by: softwaresoda168 | August 26, 2009 6:06 AM | Report abuse

I bought my first (used) mac yesterday; it has leopard. I'll wait, but my son, the macnut will get it on day one.

My main machine is running Win 7. So far, I like it, except it doesn't seem to sleep properly.

Posted by: filfeit | August 26, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Just a note for anyone who hasn't upgraded yet, 10.6 *disables* Gears (Google's offline app) in Safari (unsure about Firefox or others) and there's no indication on Google's web page when it will work again. Allegedly setting the User Agent as Safari 3 will work, but I uninstalled Gears on this computer (thinking it just needed a re-install) and now it won't let me re-install.

Posted by: pjgeraghty | August 29, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

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