By Ian Neubauer

SYDNEY: Apple today announced that its long-awaited Mac OS X Leopard and Mac OS X Server version 10.5 will go on sale in Australia October 26 and according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, it is Apple’s best ever upgrade.

According to Apple, Mac OS X Leopard incorporates more than 300 new features and a new desktop layout incorporating Stacks, a new way to easily access files from the Dock. The software package also features a redesigned Finder that lets users quickly browse and share files between multiple Macs and Time Machine to automatically back up everything on a computer.

Mac OS X Server Leopard also builds on Apple’s commitment to ease of use with more than 250 new features including Wiki Server, a feature that allows network users to collaboratively create and modify shared web sites; Podcast Producer, a widget that automatically published podcasts to iTunes or the web; and iCal Server, the world’s first commercial CalDAV standard-based calendar server.

“Leopard, the sixth major release of Mac OS X, is the best upgrade we’ve ever released,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Mac OS X Leopard has an RRP of $158. Mac OS X Leopard has an RRP of $598 for a 10-client edition or $1,199 for an unlimited-client edition. The unlimited version is included at no extra cost with Apple’s Xserve rack-mount server hardware.

Apple is currently accepting advanced orders for both products though its website.