As Adam and numerous other Mac pundits speculated last week (see "Leopard Slated for October 26th?," 2007-10-04), Apple has announced that it will indeed ship Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard on Friday, 26-Oct-07. The online Apple Store now accepts Leopard pre-orders, with an estimated delivery date of 26-Oct-07. As was the case with the Tiger and Panther releases, Leopard will go on sale at Apple Stores at 6:00 PM local time.
The cost will be, as usual, $129 for a single-user license or $199 for a five-user family pack, although lower prices are available from resellers like Amazon.com and Small Dog Electronics. Some Macs that are delivered on or after October 26th will either have Leopard installed or include a Leopard installer disc, Apple said. Anyone who purchased a new Mac on or after 01-Oct-07 is eligible for the Mac OS Up-to-Date package, which provides a copy of Leopard for a shipping and handling fee of $9.95. For those of us with older machines, Leopard requires a Mac with at least an 867 MHz PowerPC G4, or any PowerPC G5 or Intel processor, and at least 512 MB of RAM (but we always recommend more RAM than that).
In a briefing with Apple, Glenn clarified the policies around how the Boot Camp beta for Tiger will continue to work after Leopard is released. Brian Croll, Apple's senior director of Mac OS X product marketing, said that there's a distinction between the Boot Camp Assistant, the software that sets up an appropriate partition and handles the Windows operating system installation, and the partition that's been created with that software.
The Boot Camp Assistant beta release for Tiger will stop working after 31-Dec-07, Croll said. However, any partition created with the beta will continue to work indefinitely. And those partitions can be managed by Leopard's Boot Camp Assistant software.
Apple also announced that Mac OS X Server 10.5 Leopard will go on sale on 26-Oct-07 too, at the same time as the desktop version of the operating system. As with previous versions, a 10-client edition of Leopard Server costs $499 and an unlimited-client version costs $999. Those who purchased a qualifying Xserve after 01-Oct-07 are eligible for the $9.95 Mac OS Up-to-Date package. Leopard Server has the same processor requirements as the desktop version, but also requires at least 1 GB of RAM and 20 GB of free disk space.
This is the first release of Mac OS X that's not available in any form on CD, as all consumer-class computers that are capable of running Leopard also have at least a Combo Drive (DVD reading plus CD writing). Some Xserve models can run Mac OS X Server 10.5 but have only a CD-ROM drive; for such machines, you can perform a network installation using another computer running Leopard Server, or put the computer into Target Disk Mode and install Leopard Server from another computer that has a DVD reader.
Joe has already put these system requirements into his "Take Control of Upgrading to Leopard: Early Bird Edition" ebook, which you can purchase now to start preparing for your upgrade to Leopard. Early-bird buyers get a free upgrade on October 26th to the full release edition of the book. (Glenn's "Take Control of Sharing Files in Leopard" will come on the heels of the release; you can pre-order it and three other Take Control titles for Leopard now - Users & Accounts, Customizing, and Fonts - or pre-order all five at a discount.)