DESPITE A TOTAL LACK of announcements from the Cupertino cabal, the next version of Apple's love-it-or-hate-it OSX operating system is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com.
Still without an official release date, and based entirely on conjecture that the OS will be ready to rock some time in September, impatient Macolytes have ensured that Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard has already topped Amazon's software bestsellers chart.
Jobs' Mob made it clear right from that start that Snow Leopard would have very little in the way of new content or extra flashy bells and whistles, but would concentrate on reducing the operating system's footprint and making it more stable and secure.
In fact, reading through the pages and pages of marketing cobblers for Snow Leopard, it's very difficult to find any tangible changes at all other than minor cosmetic tweaks and arcane under-the-bonnet jiggery-pokery. Which all begs the question, why does Apple think it can charge punters $29 - which is likely to translate to £29 if Apple's usual flagrant disregard for exchange rates is anything to go by - for what is essentially a point release?
If there's nothing new in the operating system, and all they are doing is trimming down the fat and making it work properly, then surely the release should be free of charge for existing users? Rumour has it that recent hardware purchasers will be able to get a $20 discount on the asking price, but even paying ten bucks for a point release seems a bit painful. Especially if you've just dropped three grand on a shiny new Mac.
And there's an extra kick in the teeth for anyone still harbouring a renegade PowerPC based Mac. Your time is up, I'm afraid. This will be the first OSX release that is Intel only, no doubt leaving legions of G5 users sobbing into their wheatgrass juice.
Don't get me wrong... I love Apple's products. I have owned just about everything the Cupertino company has ever released. I've used Macs for both business and pleasure throughout my adult life. And I honestly believe that OSX is the most stable, user-friendly and intuitive operating system currently available.
But charging any amount of money for a point release in the current economic climate, let alone a hefty $30, is a step too far in anyone's book, even a confirmed Apple fanboy's.
Sadly though, as the increasing tally of pre-orders on Amazon proves, there is an army of rabid Apple fans out there unwilling to vote with their credit cards and tell Steve Jobs exactly where to stick his overpriced upgrade. µ