Apple Unveils New Mac OS X

Presenting the biggest change in the Mac operating system in 16 years, Apple Computer (Nasdaq: AAPL) released the public test version of its new Macintosh computer operating system Wednesday.

The long-awaited Mac OS X has the same overall look as other Mac operating systems, but offers new Internet and graphics technologies, as well as new colors.

Said Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the Apple Expo in Paris, “Mac OS X is the future of the Macintosh.”

The operating system was revamped from the ground up, Jobs said, and represents nearly a decade of research and development. Originally scheduled to be released earlier in the summer, the Mac OS X is available at Apple’s online store in English, French and German.

The company site also includes in-depth information on the new system.

High Marks with ‘Holes’

To run, the system requires 128 MB of RAM and a Power Mac G3 or G4. It will not run on the original Power Mac G3 or G3 systems that have processor upgrades. The public test version will expire May 15, 2001, and the official release of the new operating system is scheduled for sometime next year.

The new system is getting high marks from analysts, but several “holes” need to be fixed. For example, the system is not compatible with “Airport,” the Mac’s networking product, and Palm users will not be able to synchronize their hand-helds using the new OS.

Because of the compatibility problems, some analysts are recommending that users wait for the official version to be released before switching over.

More Mac Programs

The new OS will run old Mac programs, though the programs will not be able to use the new features. Developers are most excited about Apple’s new software development environment, called “Cocoa,” which reportedly makes it easier for developers to write Mac programs. Apple officials said that Cocoa will lead to a new generation of Mac software in the next few years.

Apple has consistently trailed Microsoft’s Windows in the number of available programs.

New ‘iBook’ Models

Apple also introduced two new iBook models at the Apple Expo. Each iBook has a 10 GB hard drive, 64 MB of RAM, digital video editing software and audio/video ports. The iBooks are only available through the company’s online store.

The standard iBook model offers a 366 MHz processor, while the Special Edition has a 466 MHz processor. The standard version sells for $1,499 and the Special Edition for $1,799.

Because the new iBooks come pre-installed with “iMovie 2,” users can edit home videos on their desktop, and add special effects and audio features.

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