As expected, the latest update to Apple’s (AAPL) flagship Macintosh operating system — Mac OS X Snow Leopard — is going on sale Aug. 28 for the previously announced price of $29. (Press release here.)
Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster has done some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations and concluded Apple is in it less for the money than for the strategic advantage it hopes to gain over Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows 7, schedule to ship in October.
According to Munster, Apple is likely to sell 5 million copies of Mac OS X v10.6 in the remaining month of its fiscal fourth quarter for an average selling price of of $22 — less than $29 and more than the $9.95 Up-to-Date price Apple has offered customers who bought MacBook Pros after June 8.
At 60% gross margin, that comes out to $66 million, or $.05 per share — a bump that Munster believes has already been baked into the Street’s Q4 estimates.
So what’s really going on here, he asks rhetorically?
Despite the long list of improvements Apple is touting — it claims to have “refined” 90% of the more than 1,000 “projects” that make up the OS X — Munster describes Snow Leopard as “a minor upgrade … without many significant new features.”
In Munster’s view, Apple is using Snow Leopard as
You can learn more about Snow Leopard — including what’s new, compatibility and tech specs — at Apple’s website here.