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Snow Leopard On The Loose

Apple's new Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Apple Inc. hide caption

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Apple Inc.

By the time you read this, Apple's new operating system update, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, will be officially released, about a month earlier than was originally anticipated.

So far for the Mac faithful, word is good. Although the $29 software upgrade is minor compared to some of Apple's larger operating updates in the past, it is built to save disk space, speed up tasks like opening up applications, and lay the ground work for software that takes advantage of multiple processor cores and the OS's 64-bit architecture.

Most impressive to me: that Apple actually put a picture of a snow leopard on the box for the software.

I ordered a copy of the update, but haven't received it yet to take a look for myself. (Tip: it's slightly cheaper than retail, $25, on Amazon.)

But there are plenty of early reviews to chew on: Here's what David Pogue of the New York Times, Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal and the Apple experts at Macworld think of the new OS.

The consensus seems to be: a cheap, no-brainer upgrade for Mac users with newer computers that adds some welcome tweaks, but nothing earth-shattering for those who don't know an OS from a USB port.