Apple said Monday that it will ship the latest upgrade to its OS X Aug. 28. The upgrade, known as Snow Leopard, refines OS X and features built-in Microsoft Exchange support.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster reckons that Apple will sell about 5 million copies of Snow Leopard in the September quarter.
As far as pricing goes (statement, resources), Snow Leopard is $29 for current OS X Leopard users (a single license). Family packs---a five-user license---will run $49. If you're a OS X Tiger customer the upgrade will run you $169 for a single license and $229 for a family pack. Anyone that bought a Mac from June 8 to Dec. 26 is eligible for an upgrade for the $9.95 handling fee.
In the bigger picture, Munster figures that Apple will use that $29 price tag to show the Mac platform's value vs. Windows. Munster noted that it won't matter to the messaging that Snow Leopard is considered to be a minor upgrade.Munster said in a research note:
We believe Apple is using a minor upgrade to its operating system as an opportunity to sell it at a lower price ($29 vs. $129 previously) and market the new OS as a selling point for the Mac platform over the Windows platform. In other words, Apple is promoting the Mac platform as a superior alternative to Windows in terms of newer technology, more frequently, for less money. The release of Snow Leopard is not about new features; rather, it is about keeping Mac users up to date with the latest technology vs. Windows XP and Vista users on antiquated technology in our opinion.
For the corporate side of the house, the most notable thing about Snow Leopard is its built-in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 support. Mac OS X Mail, Address Book and iCal will coordinate with Exchange systems.
Some of the other improvements include:
- A better Finder;
- Faster loading Mail application;
- Redesigned QuickTime X;
- System applications built for 64-bit processors.