Release schedule for Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" leaked

AppleInsider reports that the release schedule for Mac OS X has leaked, culminating in a final release sometime in August. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the cite claims Apple will follow a three-part release schedule synchronized with the Worldwide Developers Conference this summer.

A preliminary developer build, timed for release between now and the WWDC in June, will include major updates to the operating system core and functionality. A second build will be released at the start of the conference on June 8.

What does this mean for those of us who aren’t developers? The build released at WWDC will probably be “feature complete” Ñ that is, every major update will be in place. Apple will probably throw in a couple of new features that have been kept secret until now. That means this build may contain the rumored “Marble” interface style Ñ Apple’s effort to completely refresh the visual look of OS X. All that will remain for Apple’s engineers to do after WWDC is tweak the software and fix as many bugs as can be found.

A final developer build will be released sometime between the end of the conference and the actual release of the software. This will be the last developer build released, as Apple will be preparing to manufacture the consumer version of Snow Leopard.

So keep an eye out for WWDC in June Ñ that’s when Snow Leopard will be fully unveiled to the world. We’ll just have to wait until Apple’s usual fall product refresh to buy a new Mac with it installed.

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