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Snow Leopard Draws Mixed Reviews

Apple's newest OS praised by some for speed, knocked by others for lack of "killer features."
Snow Leopard introduces a number of new features to the Mac operating environment, including 64-bit versions of Finder, Mail, iCal, iChat, and the Safari Web browser.

Mac OS X 10.6 also includes a new multithreading technology called Grand Central Dispatch that should prove popular with gamers and other users that require maximum horsepower for graphics processing and other computationally intensive tasks. GCD enables applications to take full advantage of multi-core processors.

For corporate users, Snow Leopard offers built-in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, a feature that could help Apple make gains in the enterprise and small business computing markets.

Amazon last week reduced the price of the upgrade version of Mac OS X 10.6 by 14%, from $29 to $25. It also cut the 5-user Family Pack edition by 10%, from $49 to $44. Additionally, the online retailer reduced the Box Set Family Pack (non-upgrade) from $229 to $199.

Mac OS X 10.6 Server is down 11%, to $445. Amazon is also offering free, "Super Saver" shipping on all versions of Snow Leopard.

Apple is continuing to charge the original prices for Snow Leopard on its Apple Store Web site, but is offering discounts to customers who purchased a Mac on or after June 8 through a program called "Up To Date." Qualified buyers can buy the upgrade version of Snow Leopard for just $9.95 through the program.

Apple shares were off 1.06%, to $168.24, in trading Monday.