Apple's forthcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system upgrade will cost just £19 when it's released in September.

Apple has announced that Snow Leopard will cost US$29 for Leopard users, with a family pack available for $49. (Leopard originally cost $129 [£83] to purchase.)

A press release has yet to confirm the UK price only to say: "Details of pricing will be available at launch."

However, anyone familiar with Apple's US-to-UK pricing can safely assume that Snow Leopard will cost £19 as an upgrade, with a family pack available for £35.

Snow Leopard Mac OS X 10.6

"We want all users to upgrade to Snow Leopard, because Snow Leopard is a better Leopard," said Apple senior vice president of software engineering Bertrand Serlet.

Snow Leopard will work only on Intel-based Macs, leaving the owners of aging PowerPC-based hardware without the ability to upgrade.

First announced at the 2008 WWDC, Snow Leopard doesn't offer the parade of new features Mac users might have come to expect from a major OS X update. Instead, much of the focus with Snow Leopard has been behind the scenes, with Apple looking to improve the performance and increase the power of its operating system.

A number of enhancements allow the OS, codenamed Snow Leopard, to tap into the processing power of multiple CPU and graphics processing cores to boost software performance. The OS builds in multiple programming and software tools that divide up tasks for simultaneous execution across the cores.

Additional reporting by Philip Michaels (Macworld) and Agam Shah.