SAN FRANCISCO — It was Mac OS X 10.1s day, at least in the absence of other news.
There were few, and small, surprises presented by Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs during his keynote today that kicked off the first day of exhibits here at the Seybold Seminar conference.
Although the speech did have its share of news–such as demonstrations of ColorSync 4 and the upcoming AppleScrpt Studio, both of which warmed the hearts of media professionals–it served primarily as an attempt to cement Mac OS Xs place as a serious, workable operating system.
“This is the release everyones going to be using,” Jobs said of the 10.1 update. “Mac OS X is the most important, most strategic thing” for Apple, he added.
Jobs had originally been scheduled to appear via satellite from Paris, where an Apple Expo had been planned, but that show was canceled due to concerns over travel following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on Sept. 11.
Jobs announced that Mac OS X 10.1 will be available in stores beginning this Saturday. New buyers will have to shell out $129, the same as with previous versions. Noting that “this is not a small release we can release on the Internet,” Jobs said that registered Mac OS X users will be able either to order a CD-ROM containing the update for a $19.99 shipping and handling fee or go to a dealer until Oct. 31 and receive a free update disk. In addition, he said, users will be able to bring in their portable systems for an upgrade “on the spot.”
The new new
Some of the previously unannounced new features of Mac OS X 10.1 presented today were items targeted at print, Web and 3-D professionals.
Schiller said that Mac OS X 10.1 includes support for Adobe Systems Inc.s Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.3 standard, complete with 128-bit encryption. He also said that the system update includes more automatic USB-based printing (not requiring the Print Central utility) and support for LaserWriter 8 printers as well as over 200 PPDs.
Ken Bereskin, Apples director of Mac OS X product marketing, showed off an expanded Print dialog that accompanied the expanded printer support. The dialog, he said, “maps directly to printer features” such as duplexing and others.
Bereskin also demonstrated ColorSync 4, the latest version of Apples color-matching software. Calling it “fully integrated” into Mac OS X 10.1, Bereskin said that ColorSync would automatically sense monitors at each system startup and set up an accurate color profile. This feature, it was later said, works only with Apple and a “majority” of third-party monitors. ColorSync 4 also supports the complete ICC 4 specifications, Bereskin said.
Using Mac OS X 10.1s Image Capture feature, Bereskin downloaded pictures from a digital camera and embedded ColorSync profiles in each of them; he noted that these profiles are preserved even when the photos are e-mailed to other Mac OS X 10.1 users.
“Its like having a soft-proofing tool in your OS,” he said.
He also said that AppleScript plays a larger role in Mac OS 10.1 with new support for the XML-RC and SOAP Internet standards. Sal Soghoian, Apples AppleScript product marketing manager, said that the scripting technology will support and work with the Project Builder and Interface Builder development tools, in addition to integrating with the ObjectveC and Java programming languages.
To demonstrate AppleScripts new Web savvy, Soghoian showed a script working with Adobes recently announced Illustrator X; the script queried a remote weather service and then colored individual states on a U.S. map accordingly.
Sogohian also offered a “sneak peek” at AppleScript Studio, which, he said, will make AppleScript a “professional development tool.” The Studio, which currently does not have a release date, will enable scripters to add user interfaces to AppleScripts, making them look and act more like regular applications.
Mac OS X 10.1 will also support more industry-standard technologies and protocols, Schiller said. Among these are the SMB/CIFS server communication protocol, WebDAV, NFS and more.
The old new
As previously reported, Mac OS X 10.1 will include such new features as DVD playback, CD and DVD-R burning from the desktop and changes to the Dock user interface in addition to performance improvements.
Optimizations made to Mac OS X 10.1 make applications launch twice as fast, menus display up to five times as quickly and brings window resizing–which was problematic in earlier releases–up to speed. Similar performance gains were made with OpenGL and Java.
In addition to the ability to place the Dock on either the right- or left-hand side of the screen, Mac OS X 10.1 also gains support for longer file names and fully customizable keyboard navigation throughout the system.
A previously unannounced aspect of one of the Docks features, the “pop-up” access to application and file functions, is that this is a documented API available to all developers.
Its the applications, stupid
In his introductory words, Jobs expanded on Mac OS Xs 12-month transition plan that he outlined at this summers Macworld Expo in New York. Liking the 12 months to the 12 hours on a clock, Jobs said, “Were at 6 oclock.” He said that though there are currently 1,500 applications available for Mac OS X, many of these are small utilities or shareware; “the next three months will be the big ones.”
To that point, throughout the keynote developers such as Adobe, Microsoft and others were brought up to show off Mac OS X-ready versions of their software.
Microsofts Office v.X for Mac OS X, which was first shown at Macworld Expo New York, was repeatedly brought up; it is due in November and will run only on Mac OS X 10.1.
Adobe showed an early demo (“were not making any announcements yet,” said a company representative) of the next version of GoLive, the companys Web authoring tool, for Mac OS X.
Two developers of high-end 3-D applications closed the presentation. NewTek said that its LightWave 3D Version 7 was optimized for Mac OS X 10.1, the AltiVec co-processor in the G4 CPU and multiprocessor machines. To show that off, a company representative rendered a complete radiosity scene in approximately 30 seconds. In addition, Alias|Wavefront announced that Maya, their professional 3-D creation and rendering software, is available now.