Stepping up to Apple’s OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard will cost you half as much as Microsoft will charge for Windows 7 Home Premium, and you get you a full-featured OS too...
Mac OS X 10.6 and Windows 7 are yet to be released, but Apple has already won the upgrade battle.
This morning’s WWDC keynote revealed that the forthcoming OS X 10.6 ‘Snow Leopard’ will launch in September with an upgrade pricing of US$29 for users of 10.5 Leopard.
(Apple Australia has yet to release local pricing, but considering the negligible difference between the current US and AU pricing for OS X 10.5 – US$129 vs AU$158 – we don’t expect the local upgrades to be much more than $40).
By comparison, Windows 7 upgrade prices leaked last week by US retail chain Best Buy listed an upgrade from Vista to Windows 7 Home Premium for US$50, with the jump to Windows 7 Professional costing US$100.
We should of course stress that unlike Apple’s upgrade prices, these have not been officially announced by Microsoft. But if they’re right – and we have no reason to suspect otherwise – then Apple has caught Microsoft with a swift one-two knockout to win the OS Upgrade Crown.
First comes the price: for upgrading from the current OS to the shiny new OS, Apple customers will pay little more than half as much as Microsoft customers.
This is a smart move because despite its demonstrable speed improvements, Snow Leopard has few ‘must have’ killer features for the end user – so Apple has to price it accordingly in order to speed the upgrade cycle. Microsoft is likely to see a proportionally smaller uptick from Vista to Windows 7, in part because of its higher upgrade pricing.
Second comes the features, and this is another instance where Apple’s ‘one OS for everyone’ model trumps Microsoft’s many-flavoured model.
US$29 will give Leopard users the full version of Snow Leopard, but US$50 will give Vista Users only what’s in the mid-range Home Premium build. This is missing several features from Windows 7 Professional, which in turn is missing even more features from Windows 7 Ultimate.
It’s also worth noting that this is the first time that Apple has introduced a discounted upgrade package for OS X – in previous years every Mac user has had to pay the full sticker price for the same retail box.
However, the upgrade deal applies only to users of OS X 10.5 Leopard. Those running the now four-years old 10.4 Tiger – and who have an Intel-based Mac, as Snow Leopard doesn’t support the older PowerPC architecture – will have to stump for the full ticket offering.
This will now be sold as a ‘Mac Box Set’ bundle of Snow Leopard, iLife ‘09 and iWork ‘09 for US$169 (again, local pricing has yet to be announced). Mark that up as another canny move by Apple: instead of US$129 for the OS you pay a little more and get the latest app suites as well.
Finally, Apple still
offers something that Microsoft doesn’t – a ‘Family Pack’ bundle covering five users in a single household for US$229.
Unless Microsoft swiftly revises its Windows 7 upgrade pricing in light of this morning’s announcements, we can chalk up the first win in the mighty OS 2009 battle to Apple.