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Apple Snow Leopard: Spotted in Stores This Week

Updated with closing stock price

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL - Get Report) will unveil the latest version of its Mac operating system, Snow Leopard, later this week, as the tech giant searches for a software revenue boost.

Like the elusive feline with which it shares its name, Snow Leopard has kept well hidden for the last few months, prompting plenty of speculation about the technology's debut.

Apple had been expected to launch version 10.6 of its Mac OS X sometime in the fall, possibly in September, but is clearly looking to racking up additional software revenue as early as possible.

"Snow Leopard builds on our most successful operating system ever and we're happy to get it to users earlier than expected," said Bertrand Serlet, Apple's vice president of software engineering, in a note released Monday before market.

There, is of course, method to Apple's madness. By moving its launch forward, the tech leviathan can grab the tail end of the lucrative back-to-school season, and also steal a march on Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report), which launches Windows 7 on Oct. 22.

Snow Leopard will now ship on Aug. 28, with a single-user upgrade priced at $29 and a five-user Family Pack that costs $49. A server version of the technology will also make its debut on Friday, priced at $499 for unlimited client licensees.

Touted by Apple as much faster, more robust, and half the size of the existing OS X Leopard, the new versions of the software also have built-in support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.

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