Apple Remote Desktop 2, which will ship next month, is the Cupertino, Calif., computer makers suite of tools for desktop management, software distribution and help-desk support for IT administrators managing multiple Macs.
The newest release is specifically designed for the Mac OS X, while the earlier version launched in 2002 had supported mixed Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X environments, said Tom Goguen, Apple Computer Inc.s director of server and storage software marketing.
As part of the OS X focus, the new version supports the operating systems Unix infrastructure and can run Unix remote shell scripts across one or multiple OS X systems, Goguen said. Such scripts could be used to manage such settings as energy-saving features or date and time preferences across desktops.
Screen sharing also has gained a series of new capabilities in the release. Apple has boosted its performance so that there is little lag time between systems. Goguen said the company could not provide a specific measurement of the performance boost from the previous version of Apple Remote Desktop, but he called it "significant."
Apple Remote Desktop 2 also supports remote control of desktops through the Virtual Network Computing (VNC) mechanism, meaning that an IT administrator can observe and control not only Mac OS X desktops but Windows and Linux desktops that support VNC, Goguen said.
Apple announced more than 50 new features in the latest release of the asset management software, including an offline reporting feature for adding mobile systems in hardware and software inventory reports even when they are not connected to the network.
Apple Remote Desktop 2 will be available for $299 for managing as many as 10 systems and for $499 for managing an unlimited number of systems. The software will run on Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later.