Mac OS X 10.4, also known as “Tiger,” is proceeding on schedule, as Apple has dropped the prerelease tag from the latest build of the operating system, indicating that it has moved to final candidate stage.
It is understood that Build 8A425 was distributed both internally and to selected key developers last Tuesday, and unless major new issues are discovered it will be the last significant milestone before the product goes gold master.
The build includes only two significant glitches, concerning Japanese language support in some Carbon-based applications, and issues with some Nvidia GeForce graphics cards.
Assuming that no major issues appear, this means that the product is on track for release about mid-April, although it could be pushed back by up to a week if required.
Apple declined to comment on the release date of the product, other than to reaffirm its commitment to ship Tiger “in the first half of 2005.”
Apple has also quietly released more details of the Tiger sessions at its upcoming WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), with over 90 sessions added to the program on the WWDC Web site in the past week.
Aspects of Tiger covered include utilizing the new synchronization engine in Tiger to sync via .Mac accounts, accessing new features in QuickTime 7 via QTKit, and building 64-bit solutions for Tiger-only applications.
Tiger will be the biggest software release of 2005 for Apple, and was described in a recent interview by Ron Okamoto, the companys vice president for developer relations, as the “most significant release the platform has seen since the original Mac OS X.”
In addition to better support for 64-bit applications and a completely new version of QuickTime, the product includes Spotlight, a desktop search engine, and Core Image, a revamped graphics system.