The competition against Windows 7 is officially heating up. Apple’s OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, set to be released in September, is now for sale by preorder on Amazon.com. The pre-orders quickly jumped to the top of Amazon’s software sales charts, currently holding the top 2 spots (with Microsoft Office 2007 in third place).
Snow Leopard does have Windows 7 beat in pricing for existing computers. The OS retails for $29.00 for a single license or $49.00 for a “family pack” of 5 licenses. However, it should be noted that the Apple OS only works on Apple’s latest Intel-based hardware (no PowerPC Macs), while Windows 7 can install on virtually any system. The level of OS vendor support to hardware driver manufacturers necessary for Windows could easily justify the pricing difference. Still, some would argue that’s a merit of Apple’s closed-system approach.
The new OS’s biggest improvement is moving to a 64-bit kernel, with all Apple applications being rewritten to run natively in 64-bit mode. With more memory accessible (among other advantages), Apple says the shift makes its applications run much faster.
A bundled package including Snow Leopard and Apple’s iWork and iLife application suites is also being sold for $169.00, with a 5 license pack sold for $229.00. With a price of $120.00, iWork and iLife will likely be slightly cheaper than Office, which is typically priced at $150 at launch.
The new OS also has a few more price quirks. Newly purchased systems are eligible for a special $9.95 pre-order (most new Windows PCs come with a free upgrade to Windows 7). Any Mac bought after June 8 is eligible, details can be found here.
For mass-Mac users, an unlimited license has dropped from $999 with Tiger OS X (the last version of OS X) to $499. With Tiger, $499 would only buy you 10 licenses.
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