Apple Offers Cheap Upgrades To Snow Leopard

Apple's newly unveiled "Up-to-Date Program" applies to qualifying Mac and Xserve purchases made between June 8 and December 26, 2009.

The program is similar to ones Apple has offered in the past, but Apple has dramatically reduced its price for existing OS X user upgrades. Earlier this month at its Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple said it will charge just $29 for existing customers to upgrade from Leopard, and $49 for a "family pack" of 5 upgrade licenses.

"There is no question that $29 is reasonable, and that will spur faster adoption than we would have otherwise seen if it had landed at the typical $129 price," said Nick Gold, senior account executive at Chesapeake Systems, a Baltimore, Md.-based Apple specialist.

Price isn't the only incentive that Snow Leopard offers, however. Set to ship in September, Snow Leopard represents the final stage of Apple's goal of running all major system applications in 64-bit mode, and includes numerous under-the-hood performance tweaks as well as support for Microsoft Exchange.

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With Grand Central, a set of technologies that adds support for multicore processors and parallel computing, and OpenCL, which lets applications tap into unused GPU computing power, Apple has designed Snow Leopard for the rigors of next-generation computing, a move that will enable OS X to continue making steady, albeit modest gains in the business world.

"While many of these changes are under-the-hood, Snow Leopard has been a major development effort which really hammers in the last nail of fully modernizing the OS," said Gold.