Apple makes it official: Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard ships on August 28

Apple today announced that Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard will go on sale Friday, August 28 at Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers, and that Apple’s online store is now accepting pre-orders. Snow Leopard builds on a decade of OS X innovation and success with hundreds of refinements, new core technologies and out of the box support for Microsoft Exchange. Snow Leopard will be available as an upgrade for Mac OS X Leopard users for US$29.

“Snow Leopard builds on our most successful operating system ever and we’re happy to get it to users earlier than expected,” said Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, in the press release. “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.”

To create Snow Leopard, Apple engineers refined 90 percent of the more than 1,000 projects that make up Mac OS X. Users will notice refinements including a more responsive Finder; Mail that loads messages up to twice as fast;* Time Machine with an up to 80 percent faster initial backup;* a Dock with Exposé® integration; QuickTime X with a redesigned player that allows users to easily view, record, trim and share video; and a 64-bit version of Safari 4 that is up to 50 percent** faster and resistant to crashes caused by plug-ins. Snow Leopard is half the size of the previous version and frees up to 7GB of drive space once installed.

For the first time, system applications including Finder, Mail, iCal, iChat and Safari are 64-bit and Snow Leopard’s support for 64-bit processors makes use of large amounts of RAM, increases performance and improves security while remaining compatible with 32-bit applications. Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) provides a revolutionary new way for software developers to write applications that take advantage of multicore processors. OpenCL, a C-based open standard, allows developers to tap the incredible power of the graphics processing unit for tasks that go beyond graphics.

Snow Leopard is the only desktop operating system with built in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and it allows you to use Mac OS X Mail, Address Book and iCal to send and receive email, create and respond to meeting invitations, and search and manage contacts with global address lists. Exchange information works seamlessly within Snow Leopard so users can also take advantage of OS X only features such as fast Spotlight searches and Quick Look previews.

Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard, the next major release of the world’s easiest to use server operating system, will also go on sale Friday, August 28. Snow Leopard Server includes innovative new features such as Podcast Producer 2 and Mobile Access Server and is priced more affordably than ever at $499 with unlimited client licenses. More information and full system requirements for Snow Leopard Server can be found at

Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard will be available as an upgrade to Mac OS X version 10.5 Leopard on August 28 at Apple’s retail stores and through Apple Authorized Resellers, and online pre-orders can be made through Apple’s online store ( starting today. The Snow Leopard single user license will be available for a suggested retail price of $29 and the Snow Leopard Family Pack, a single household, five-user license, will be available for a suggested price of $49. For Tiger users with an Intel-based Mac, the Mac Box Set includes Mac OS X Snow Leopard, iLife ’09 and iWork ’09 and will be available for a suggested price of $169 and a Family Pack is available for a suggested price of $229.

The Mac OS X Snow Leopard Up-to-Date upgrade package is available to all customers who purchased a qualifying new Mac system from Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller between June 8, 2009 and the end of the program on December 26, 2009, for a product plus shipping and handling fee of $9.95. Users must request their Up-to-Date upgrade within 90 days of purchase or by December 26, 2009, whichever comes first. For more information please visit Snow Leopard requires a minimum of 1GB of RAM and is designed to run on any Mac computer with an Intel processor. Full system requirements can be found at

*Testing conducted by Apple in August 2009 comparing prerelease Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard with shipping Mac OS X v10.5.8 Leopard on a shipping 2.0 GHz MacBook system and a shipping 2.66 GHz iMac system, both configured with 2GB of RAM. Performance will vary based on system configuration, network, file sizes, data sets and other factors.

**Testing conducted by Apple in August 2009 comparing 64-bit Safari 4 to 32-bit Safari 4 on prerelease Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard on a shipping 2.0 GHz MacBook system and a shipping 2.66 GHz iMac system, both configured with 2GB of RAM. JavaScript benchmarks based on the SunSpider Performance test. Performance will vary based on system configuration, network connection, and other factors.

Source: Apple Inc.


  1. … and arrives – most likely, September 1st.

    As I noted the last time this was featured.

    OK, enough of that. This, at least, is very much “Mac News” and worthy of note. Much more so than the screw-ups at Microsoft or Dell, notable mainly as gloating over the mis-steps of “Our Enemies”. What are we? Republicans? Progressives don’t keep Enemies Lists!

  2. The last time I did a pre-order of an OS from Apple, the packaged was shipped in such a way as it arrived on my doorstep on the day of release.

    Not sure if that would apply to Amazon pre-orders, but Apple’s site seems to confirm this, it specifically states “arrives on August 28th”.

  3. DLMeyer;

    I can see how you feel; all I can say in MDN’s (and its readers’) defense is, the second half of 90’s, as well as the early 00’s was marked with massive amounts of doom-and-gloom over Apple, culminating with Dell’s famous quote (SIDAGTMBTS — “shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders”), most of us feel entitled to give a bit back. At this point, we all still believe we have a long way to go before we’re about even.

  4. “Should we suppose this is Build 432 from last week’s developer release?”

    What made me laugh about this rumor is the RELEASE NOTES accompanying 10A432 clearly stated that the kernel was 32 bit only, and the 64 bit kernel could only be activated on certain Macs by holding down the 6 and 4 keys on startup.

    If 10A432 is Golden Master, I’ll eat my hat.

  5. Not sure how new this news is, wasn’t this announced back in April…

    Anyways, I can’t wait to get that package open and try out all the new features! Count me in!

    I think it will differ slightly from latest developer build and I expect some little visual and GUI treats, previously unannounced, to light up the reviewers and to put the new Windows 7 even further behind

    How do people feel about gamma 2.2 instead of 1.8 for default Mac displays? Might take some getting used to,

  6. re: 32 bit vs. 64 bit

    I think it will boot to 32 bit but will be compatible with 64 bit apps by giving them special OS extenstions to use more memory. A lot of low level stuff, especially for 3rd party hardware, is still coded 32 bit.

    Not sure why they don’t default to 64 bit on every compatible Mac and make it compatible with 32 bit drivers. Then again, there may be a point where 64 bit is actually slower than 32 bit for operations on Macs with 32 bit amounts of memory?

  7. …family pack ordered, and @silverhawk: I tend to upgrade all of our computers at home basically as soon as it arrives, no special precautions, no ‘erase and install’ or ‘archive and install’ or so, just plunk it on.
    Have been doing that since my first Mac (now some 15 years ago already), and didn’t have any single issue until now…
    The (early days) 15″ G4 PowerBook will be left out, too bad for my son who got it after me using it daily until my 13″ piece of unibody wonder arrived early this year…

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