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Tuesday, August 11, 2009, 01:40 pm PT (04:40 pm ET)

Apple's Snow Leopard rumored to be Golden Master

The latest build of Snow Leopard, Apple's upcoming operating system, is rumored to be the "Golden Master," or final copy before the product will be released for duplication on optical media.

Build 10A432 has been seeded to developers, and French Web site Mac 4 Ever has reported that the latest version is the final build, suggesting the product could be pressed onto discs very soon. The latest version of OS X is due to be released in September, but Apple has not announced an official date.

Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard is priced at $29 for the single user license and $49 for the five-license family pack. The upgrade prices are available for users of the current version of Mac OS X, 10.5 Leopard. Snow Leopard will only be available for Mac users on Intel-based computers.

Also available is Mac OS X Server 10.6 Snow Leopard. Priced at $499, Leopard Server is said to be the most significant improvement to the server operating system since Mac OS X Server was launched. Amazon is also selling box sets with Snow Leopard, featuring the OS, iWork and iLife for $169 and the five-license family pack, iWork and iLife for $229.

To create Snow Leopard, Apple said its engineers focused on refining 90 percent of the more than 1,000 projects in Mac OS X. New features include:

  • A more responsive Finder
  • Mail that loads messages 85 percent faster and conducts searches up to 90 percent faster
  • Time Machine with up to 50 percent faster initial backup
  • A Dock with Expose integration
  • A 64-bit version of Safari 4 that boosts the performance of the Nitro JavaScript engine by up to 50 percent and is resistant to crashes caused by plug-ins.
  • The all new QuickTime X, with a redesigned player that allows users to easily view, record, trim and share video to YouTube, MobileMe or iTunes.
  • Half the size of the previous version and frees up to 6GB 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.

With the Snow Leopard Up-to-Date program, many customers who bought an Apple computer this summer will qualify for an even cheaper upgrade. Customers who purchase a qualifying new Mac or a qualifying Apple Certified Refurbished computer on or after June 8, 2009 that does not include Mac OS X Snow Leopard can upgrade to Snow Leopard for $9.95 plus tax. To participate, your completed order form must be postmarked or faxed within 90 days of the date of your purchase of the qualifying Mac or by December 26, 2009, whichever is earlier.

For more on Apple's upcoming operating system, read AppleInsider's extensive Road to Snow Leopard series.