Apple’s announcement that Snow Leopard will indeed ship on August 28 (as we predicted) has generated a fresh rash in sales of the software, even as the company’s UK price for the essential Mac upgrade generates shrieks of anguish from Mac users there.

Snow Leopard pre-orders once again seized the top two slots on Amazon’s best-selling software list, following Apple’s announcement. The single-user version of Snow Leopard ($29) is the best-selling version, hotly-pursued by Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User) in second place. Interestingly, iLife ’09 remains popular at number 9.

These strong pre-orders reflect analyst sentiment for Apple’s sales of its new OS. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes Apple will sell “approximately 5 million copies” of Snow Leopard during the remainder of the current quarter.

UK users have been wondering why Apple hasn’t enabled them to pre-order the new OS, unlike in the US. With the £25 price tag now announced, local UK Mac websites are carrying unhappy comments from customers who had expected to pay under £20 for the upgrade.

While Snow Leopard costs a great deal less than Windows 7 Family Pack – £150 compared to the Mac OS X Snow Leopard UK price of £39 – customers still feel the price difference can’t entirely be explained away by local tax and shipping costs.

"Why does the UK Mac customer always get ripped off by Apple? I know that £25 is cheap for an operating system (albeit a minor upgrade) but you can’t help but be annoyed by the much cheaper US version,” one customer complained.

UK users are also being warned the software won’t ship until September 4 if ordered through Amazon’s UK store.

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