Apple to Show Mac OS X Panther at WWDC

The Mac maker announced it is pushing back its developers show until June to showcase the next major upgrade to Mac OS X.

In another alteration to its annual conference calendar, Apple Computer Inc. on Friday announced that it has moved back the 2003 edition of its Worldwide Developers Conference from May to June to prepare a preview release of its next major Mac OS X upgrade, dubbed "Panther."

The company said it will move the show from its traditional location in San Jose, Calif., to San Franciscos Moscone Center. WWDC will run from June 23-27.

"Our annual Worldwide Developers Conference provides our developers an in-depth look at the future of the Mac platform, and giving everyone a preview release of Panther is the best way to do that," said Ron Okamoto, Apple vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations, in a statement. "Moving to June ensures that every developer will leave the event with a copy of Panther in their hands."

eWEEK first reported in August 2002 the Panther sobriquet, which continues the feline marketing theme Apple initiated that month with the release of "Jaguar," a k a Mac OS X 10.2.

Panther will mark the third significant upgrade to Mac OS X since its debut—and the fourth big cat from Apple. The initial Mac OS X release bore the internal code name Cheetah, and Mac OS X 10.1, which shipped in September 2001, was referred to internally as Puma, although neither moniker was ever publicized. (Mac OS X 10.2 Server was code-named Tigger, sources said, another sobriquet that never saw the light of day.)

Besides the promised changes to Mac OS X, the reshuffling of the WWDC schedule marks another step away from Cupertino, Calif.-based Apples traditional cycle of trade shows. The move comes amid reports that Apple will scale down its participation in Julys Macworld Expo show in New York after a dispute with show organizer IDG World Expo over the latters announcement that starting in July 2004 it will relocate the show to its Boston birthplace.

Industry sources concurred with a recent report on Mac-focused Web site Think Secret that Apple CEO Steve Jobs plans to leave his traditional keynote spot at Macworld Expo to Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Philip Schiller. The move will reportedly also precipitate a name change for the show that will focus on the content creation market. If Apple goes through with the plan, it will position WWDC as the main summer forum for a Jobs keynote.

IDG and Apple were not immediately available to comment on changes to WWDC or Macworld Expo/New York.

IDG World Expo Japan in December canceled Macworld Expo/Tokyo for 2003, citing lack of support by key exhibitors, apparently including Apple. And sources said that IDG in January moved to calm skittish third-party vendors by promising them a refund of fees for the July show if Apple declined to participate.

Latest Apple News:

Search for more stories by Matthew Rothenberg.