The Guardian this morning calls Mac OS X 10.3 a "far-reaching and impressive upgrade" that justifies its cost.

These statements are contained within a short review of Apple's forthcoming OS, which ships tomorrow – though some Macworld readers claim to have received copies of the OS already.

Mac OS X is "the most mature version of OS X so far, and lies at the centre of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' efforts to revitalize the company," the report states.

The piece compliments the upgrade for its much-improved overall performance and faster application launching, startup, and shutdown times. Panther "finally delivers the operating system Mac users have been waiting for," it says.

The new operating system launches in the UK tomorrow (October 24) at 8pm. Apple resellers across the country are preparing to mark the launch with special in-store events, with some resellers opening at 8pm for special late-night sessions. Macworld has some information on local events here. Contact your local reseller to find out what they're doing.

The upgrade is anticipated to be well-received by Mac users. A recent Macworld Online reader poll found that 50 per cent of voters consider it a "must-have" upgrade.

One reader wrote: "It’s well worth the money. Think how far OS X has come since 10.0, and look at what you get for your money compared with other popular operating systems. In my opinion, it's a cheap price to pay."

New features

Panther delivers over 150 new features, including a completely new Finder that provides one-click access to a user’s favorite files and folders; Exposé, a new way to instantly see all open windows at once; and iChat AV, a complete desktop video-conferencing solution.

It will cost £99 (including VAT) for a single user licence. Customers can place pre-orders with the Apple Store from today. The Mac OS X Panther Family Pack is a single-residence, five-user license that will be available for a suggested retail price of £159.

The standard Mac OS Up-To-Date upgrade package is available to all customers who purchased a new Mac system on or after October 8; all customers who purchased a Power Mac G5 regardless of purchase date that do not have Panther included; and customers who purchase the Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar retail product on or after October 8 for a shipping and handling fee of £14 (subject to confirmation).

Panther requires a minimum of 128MB of RAM and is designed to run on the following Apple products with built-in USB support: iMac, iBook, PowerBook, Power Mac G3, Power Mac G4, Power Mac G5, Power Mac G4 Cube.