Apple is working overtime to beat its publicized release date for the next major upgrade to Mac OS X.
Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Computer Inc. is working overtime to
beat its publicized release date for the next major upgrade
to Mac OS X, according to sources.
The company in May broke its tradition of secrecy by
the update, code-named Jaguar, at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., and at the unveiling
of Apples Xserve rack-mounted
server in Cupertino, Calif.; at these events Apple also committed to a "late summer" ship date.
According to sources, Apple now seems poised to break another
precedent by delivering the release early -- by early August, say sources.
Though some online reports have speculated that Jaguar will be at
"golden master" by July 15 -- only days before Jobs scheduled
keynote at this years Macworld Expo / New York trade show -- sources
have confirmed that Apple management has approved a slip of a week or
two if a few ongoing quality concerns are not resolved. Still, at worst, Jaguar would be let out of the bag ahead of the
The last time Apple predicted a "late summer" OS ship date (for the public beta of Mac OS X), it didnt arrive until Jobs Sept. 13,
2000, kickoff of Apple Expo in Paris.
Though Apple has not publicly commented on Jaguar upgrade pricing,
Jobs has said that Xserve
owners will not receive a free upgrade. This makes the timing for the
relative release dates for the two products odd; Apple just
shipped their first orders of more than 4,000 Xserves this week, meaning that the proud new owners will have to purchase the OS upgrade about a month after receiving their hardware.
The Jaguar upgrade is all the more crucial for Xserve owners because of major new networking features promised for the new OS.
Though the existing server-specific version of Mac OS X 10.1.5 that shipped with initial Xserve units includes GUI administrative
software, such as Server Admin and Server Monitor, for setting up and
managing networks, Jaguar will include new support for cross-platform
standards such as ActiveDirectory, SMB, Bluetooth, LDAP and Kerberos, making Xserves much more transparent and compatible within
heterogeneous network environments. Additionally, Jaguar will sport
support for IPV6 and IPSec; the CUPS print engine; LDAP (Open
Directory), SMB browsing and sharing; Virtual Private Network (PPTP);
and will include GCC 3.0 for full compliance with the C++ language.
Jaguar has been promoted in previews
as the most significant update to the still-young operating system,
which was built on the FreeBSD and Mach foundations Apple acquired
when it purchased Jobs own Next Computing Inc. in the late 1990s.
During Jaguars "sneak peek" at the WWDC keynote, Jobs also outlined various new features targeted at consumers.
There Jobs demonstrated enhancements to Jaguars "Aqua" user
interface, including the return of spring-loaded folders, a feature
many users said they missed from
Mac OS 9. Also, Jobs unveiled iChat, an integrated Instant Messaging
program that is the first to be compatible with AOLs system, and a new
Sherlock 3 search application.
More significantly, and perhaps pointing towards future paradigm
shifts in Apples hardware directions, are Rendezvous and Inkwell.
The former is a new wireless networking technology -- one Apple is
proposing as an industry standard -- that allows users to share files
and printers as well as to stream various media over AirPort wireless
networks. Rendezvous also offers automatic recognition and
configuration of multiple devices; Jobs mentioned that this could
make networking as simple as walking into a room. The technology, he
said, would be an available API for developers to include in all
computers and devices.
Inkwell is a carry-over from the handwriting recognition
technologies first pioneered in Apples defunct Newton PDA products;
the Ink APIs are integrated into Jaguars text system, allowing any
Mac OS X-native application to accept handwritten input.
Jaguar also will include QuickTime 6.0, which adds support for MPEG-4
and Quartz Extreme, an enhancement to Mac OS Xs imaging layer that
will combine 2D, 3D and video graphics with hardware acceleration,
all based on the OpenGL standard. This feature will require at
least an AGP 2x video card with 16MB of video RAM (32MB preferred).
So, although Quartz Extreme will not be available to owners of
Apple hardware that is more than a year old, all preliminary reports point to significant speed gains in Jaguar for all users -- even the ones on outdated machines.