Surprise! OS 10.6 Snow Leopard will unexpectedly be released early, on Friday, August 28! Here at Small Dog Electronics we are very excited about Snow Leopard, even though Apple is not heavily promoting its launch with pre-press, etc.

Snow Leopard is touted as a simpler, faster, more powerful, and more refined version of Mac OS X. It delivers a wide range of enhancements, next-generation technologies, out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange Server, and new accessibility features. Apple says “it’s the world’s most advanced operating system, finely tuned from installation to shutdown.”

How to Purchase and Upgrade to OS 10.6 Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard is an upgrade for Leopard users and requires a Mac computer (duh) with an Intel processor, 1GB of memory (though at least 2GB is highly recommended), 5GB of available disk space, and a DVD drive for installation.

If you’ve purchased a qualifying Mac or Xserve on or after June 8, 2009 that didn’t include Mac OS X Snow Leopard, you can upgrade to Snow Leopard for $9.95 directly from Apple via the Mac OS X Up-to-Date Program. Click here to get details of this offer and download the PDF.

If you have OS 10.5 Leopard installed on a Mac purchased before June 8 2009, you can simply purchase the Snow Leopard Single User Edition Upgrade from Leopard. If you have multiple Macs running OS 10.5 Leopard, you can purchase Snow Leopard Family Pack Upgrade from Leopard which can be installed on up to five computers.

If you have Mac OS 10.4 Tiger or earlier and want to upgrade to Snow Leopard, you will need to purchase the Snow Leopard Mac Box Set which includes OS 10.6 Snow Leopard along with iWork ’09 and iLife ’09. This costs $169.99, but again you not only get the latest version of the OS X Snow Leopard, you get two awesome applications. Purchasing those separately would cost $289! The Snow Leopard Mac Box Set is also available as a Family Pack for $229.99.

Some of the most exciting new features and overall system enhancements in OS 10.6 Snow Leopard include:

  • 64-bit support, the next big step for the Mac. All key system applications are now 64-bit so they can take advantage of all the memory in your Mac.
  • Out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange. Mac OS X Snow Leopard delivers built-in support for the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server, something even Windows PCs don’t have.
  • Smaller footprint. Snow Leopard takes up less than half the disk space of the previous version, freeing about 7GB for you — enough for about 1,750 more songs or a few thousand more photos.
  • The Finder has been completely rewritten using Cocoa to take advantage of the new technologies in Snow Leopard, including 64-bit support and Grand Central Dispatch. It’s more responsive from top to bottom, with snappier performance throughout the Finder.
  • Quicker Time Machine backup. Snow Leopard makes Time Machine up to 80 percent faster and reduces the time it takes to complete your initial backup to Time Capsule.
  • Faster to wake up and shut down. Your Mac wakes from sleep up to twice as quickly when you have screen locking enabled. And shutting down is up to 80 percent faster.
  • QuickTime X: As the next generation of media players, it’s built on new core technologies and advances modern media and Internet standards.
  • More efficient file sharing.
  • Multi-Touch gestures in older Mac models. All Mac notebooks with Multi-Touch trackpads now support three- and four-finger gestures.
  • A new technology called Grand Central Dispatch takes full advantage of multicore systems by making all of Mac OS X multicore aware and optimizing it for allocating tasks across multiple cores and processors.
  • Universal Access: Every Mac comes with built-in technologies designed to help people with disabilities experience it. Innovations in Snow Leopard advance accessibility even further.
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