Apple has confirmed the launch date for its next generation operating system, Leopard.

Customers looking to pre-order the company's next operating system can now do so from the Apple Store in the UK or the US.

Apple says it will ship the new software on the 26 October. It will cost £85.

“Leopard, the sixth major release of Mac OS X, is the best upgrade we’ve ever released”, said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO before taking a dig at Microsoft and its plethora of versions: “And everyone gets the ‘Ultimate’ version, packed with all the new innovative features.”

Leopard’s new desktop promises a redesigned 3D Dock with Stacks an updated Finder includes Cover Flow, and a system backup offering called Time Machine.

Leopard is long-awaited by Apple users, not just because it has been delayed, but because it's been a long time since the last update to the Apple OS - 30 months in fact.

Apple also announced that Mac OS X Server version 10.5 Leopard will go on sale on 26 October at the same time as Mac OS X Leopard.