Snow Leopard, the next major update to OS X, will be available in September, Apple announced during Monday’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote. However, OS X 10.6 will only work on Intel-based Macs, leaving the owners of aging PowerPC-based hardware without the ability to upgrade.

First announced at the 2008 WWDC, Snow Leopard doesn’t offer the parade of new features Mac users might have come to expect from a major OS X update. Instead, much of the focus with Snow Leopard has been behind the scenes, with Apple looking to improve the performance and increase the power of its operating system.

During Monday’s keynote, Apple senior vice president of software engineering Bertrand Serlet said the next major version of OS X would be characterized by powerful new technologies, refinements to existing features, and support for Microsoft Exchange.

Snow Leopard will cost $29 for Leopard users, with a family pack available for $49. That’s a far cry from Apple’s usual price on OS X updates - it costs $129 to purchase Leopard, for example.

“We want all users to upgrade to Snow Leopard, because Snow Leopard is a better Leopard,” said Serlet of OS X 10.6’s price.”

Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard will be available as an upgrade to Mac OS X version 10.5 Leopard in September 2009 through the UK Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorised Resellers. A press release has yet to confirm the UK price only to say: "Details of pricing will be available at launch."

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