Apple released Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' at 6pm tonight - and Mac users turned out in hundreds to greet the release.

At the Apple retail store on Regent Street, a crowd of 600 Mac users queued up in the hour before the new operating system went on sale.

Apple had closed its shop in advance of the 6pm deadline, causing excited customers to queue outside. Apple staff, meanwhile, busied themselves installing the new system on the store's demo Macs.

North of the border in Apple's only Scottish store, on Glasgow's Buchanan Street, queues of Mac users were also seen waiting for their chance to buy the evolutionary new operating system.

Similar activity has been reported across the UK, as Apple resellers this week announced their plans to open late for Leopard.

Apple's new operating system will go on sale in the US in just a few hours time, beginning at 6pm local time (11pm, UK time).

Analysts have estimated the release will accrue $240 million into Apple's coffers.