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Snow Leopard Server Pounces Friday

The server version of Apple's new operating system will debut alongside its client-side cousin.
Apple's new Snow Leopard operating system isn't the only new OS the company will release on Friday—Snow Leopard Server also hits the streets Aug. 28.

The server version of Mac OS X 10.6 features the audio recording tool Podcast Producer 2 as well as Mobile Access Server, a secure connection platform that provides an alternative to clunky VPN configurations.

Other new tools in Snow Leopard Server include Wiki Server 2, Address Book Server, and iCal Server 2. Snow Leopard Server is priced at $499, including unlimited client licenses.

Meanwhile, Snow Leopard client pre-sales remain strong. The OS was the top software seller on Amazon.com as of early Tuesday, while the Snow Leopard Family Pack ranked second, according to Amazon's Sales Rank page.

A financial analyst on Monday predicted big sales for the OS. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster said he expects Apple to sell 5 million copies of Mac OS X 10.6 through the end of the current quarter. Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard users can upgrade to the new version for just $29.

Snow Leopard introduces a number of new features to the Mac operating environment, particularly for power users.

"For the first time, system applications including Finder, Mail, iCal', iChat' and Safari are 64-bit and Snow Leopard's support for 64-bit processors makes use of large amounts of RAM, increases performance and improves security while remaining compatible with 32-bit applications," Apple said in a statement.

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.

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

In addition to the single-user, $29 upgrade license, Apple is offering a $49 Snow Leopard Family Pack that allows five installations per household.