3/26/09 UPDATE: Today Apple finally announced the dates for WWDC 2009: June 8-12. More information can be found on Apple's WWDC Web page. That matches my original assumptions. I still think it likely Snow Leopard will debut June 8.
This all started with two co-workers who sought my advice this past week on when to buy a new MacBook.
I thoughtfully advised them to wait until Snow Leopard came out so they would be sure to get all the promised speed benefits of the latest and greatest version of Mac OS X. Unfortunately, they both asked when that would happen.
It's widely expected that Apple will unveil Snow Leopard at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, but Apple has not yet announced the dates. At last year's WWDC keynote, CEO Steve Jobs said Snow Leopard would ship in about a year.
Since WWDC usually is held in June, I told my colleagues to wait until June – and then crossed my fingers events would validate my recommendation.
But with the issue now brought to my attention, I wanted to know myself when exactly to expect Snow Leopard. I went on a sleuthing mission and discovered enough clues that I'm now willing to predict June 8 as the Snow Leopard launch day.
Here's how I reached this conclusion:
First of all, I'm assuming Snow Leopard's release will coincide with WWDC. The event's dates are not set in stone (some years back it was held regularly in May and in 2006 was pushed back to August), although it usually falls in the second week of June.
An item on MacDailyNews the other day suggested WWDC might be held May 27-May 28 based on an item listed on the Moscone Center schedule posted online. The generic description says simply "Corporate meeting," but is listed as taking place in Moscone West, the wing of the complex where WWDC takes place every year.
But that's almost certainly not when WWDC will happen, not just because it's a bit too early, but because WWDC always runs over five or six days.
However, as I looked at the schedule, I noticed another generic "Corporate meeting" scheduled for Moscone West -- for June 6-June12. That's the second week of June, the correct number of days, and ends on a Friday (WWDC nearly always ends on a Friday).
Yes, June 6 is a Saturday, but last year a similar generic listing on the Moscone Web site had the event starting on Sunday June 8 when the official start date was actually June 9. That means WWDC's official start date this year probably will be June 7, a Sunday – unusual but not unprecedented. Back in 2005 WWDC's official first day was a Sunday.
I deduced that we'd see Snow Leopard on June 8 because the keynote typically is delivered on a Monday, and that's the moment at WWDC when Apple would announce a new operating system.
Still, though tantalizing, all that information needed something more to corroborate it. So I turned to Amazon.com.
By doing a search for "Snow Leopard Mac OS X" I discovered numerous Snow Leopard-specific books available for preorder, all scheduled for release from mid-June though July. The earliest, "Learn Mac OS X Snow Leopard," is scheduled for June 15, just one week after my predicted date.
Why is this significant? Well, when Apple released Leopard on October 26, 2007, the first Leopard book to appear (again, searching on Amazon) was "Mac OS X Leopard for Dummies" on Oct. 31, less than a week later. It was followed by at least a half dozen other books on Leopard released throughout November.
Obviously it's no accident the publishers timed their books to arrive immediately after the operating system. And remember, Leopard had been delayed from a June release that year. The publishers definitely are in the loop.
On the other hand, last November Engadget had post describing a leaked presentation slide by Jordan Hubbard, Director of Apple's Unix Technology Group, showing Snow Leopard as appearing in Q1 2009. That means we'd see it by the end of this month.
If so, I'd happily be wrong. I can't wait to load Snow Leopard on my Mac Pro!