Apple's Wordwide Developers Conference is still going on until the end of this week, but the cat is already quite literally out of the bag. The new 10.6 version of OS X, also known as Snow Leopard, leaked onto torrent sites just one day after it got introduced to the developer community.

The presentation of Snow Leopard was one of the highlights of Apple's keynote yesterday. The new version of the Unix-based operating system is supposed feature better performance and integrated Exchange support, among other things. OS X 10.6 won't be in stores for another three months, but preview build that was introduced on Monday can already be found on various torrent sites.

Crunchgear reported yesterday
about Snow Leopard popping up on a private torrent site, but writer Nicholas Deleon refused to say where he found the torrent. He did however post a screen shot, and commenters quickly identified the site as the private Bittorrent music community What.cd. The torrent quickly spread to rivaling music site Waffles.fm, and finally found its way onto the Pirate Bay a few hours later, where it is currently attracting more than a thousand leechers.

It's unclearer than ever how much harm this torrent will cause to Apple, if any at all. Microsoft has been very successful with it's public beta tests for the upcoming Windows 7 operating system, persuading millions of users to install the beta testing version of the OS, which will eventually prompt to install a retail copy.

Apple on the other hand has always been pretty greedy with it's beta versions, distributing upcoming versions of its operating systems only to selected developers. However, the company decided to offer a special upgrade price of only $29 for users of the current OS X version 10.5 for the first time. One could speculate that this is at least partially a reaction to the popularity of OS X on torrent sites. And it seems to be working. One of the Pirate Bay users commented:

"Will seed until the end of time... or at least until I can pick it up in store. At $29, why the hell not. ;o"


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