Apple's OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: Sept. for $29

For PC lovers, it's October 22nd that's circled in your calendar. But that's not the only major OS that's launching this fall. This week at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference in California, the company announced that its long awaited OS X Snow Leopard operating system would be shipping in September, undercutting Microsoft's own debut by a solid month. Apple already told us that Snow Leopard was less about being a completely new OS and more about refining the innovations in OS X Leopard, but we never imagined it would get priced as such.

Instead of charging folks $129 as usual, Apple will sell Snow Leopard for just $29 if you already own Leopard. That's right -- a new OS for $29. We haven't heard what Microsoft plans on charging for Windows 7, but we can guarantee you even the upgrade rates from Vista to 7 will be well above $29. As for Snow Leopard itself, users can expect a more responsive Finder, Mail that loads messages some 85% faster, quicker Time Machine backups and a 64-bit version of Safari 4. The OS will also ship with QuickTime X, a redesigned player that'll make viewing YouTube, MobileMe or iTunes media much simpler.

There's also an architecture that relies much more heavily on a 64-bit platform, which Apple asserts will lead to significant boosts in performance all around. There's also OpenCL support, Exchange Server 2007 support and Grand Central Dispatch (GCD), which is described as "a revolutionary new way for software to take advantage of multicore processors." OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard will cost Leopard users just $29, while the upgrade from Tiger will run $169.