RealTime IT News

Apple Trains Spotlight on 'Jaguar' OS

NEW YORK - Apple Computer boss Steve Jobs on Wednesday trained the spotlight on the new Mac OS 10.2 'Jaguar' operating system, hyping more than 150 features including new media players, synching capabilities and Sherlock 3, a "completely rewritten" version of the search engine.

Dressed in trademark tee-shirt and jeans, Jobs' two-hour keynote at the MacWorld here centered around demos of applications within the OS X software, which is priced at $129 and set for shipping on August 24.

His speech came just hours after Apple announced the 10.2 "Jaguar" Server, the upgrade of the Mac OS X Server software that combines Unix with Mac. The company said 'Jaguar' Server introduces more than 50 new features, including new NetBoot and NetInstall network management tools, based on Apple's new LDAPv3 Open Directory architecture targeting business, education and government customers.

In his presentation, the Apple CEO also unveiled the new iMac, with a 17 inch landscape display (1440 x 900 pixels). The sleek new flat-screen PC, includes Nvidia GeForce4 MX graphics, 800MHz G4, 256MB RAM, an 80GB drive and is priced at $1,999. Jobs also announced a host of price cuts to existing Apple products, including the 15-inch iMac SuperDrive system, which has been reduced to $1,799.

Jobs was greeted with loud applause from the Mac faithful with another announcement that Apple would partner with MusicMatch to build and ship an iPod for Windows digital media device. The new iPod, which is expected to hit stores in late August, will come in 5GB, 10GB and 20GB memory sizes.

He said Apple would also slash prices of its existing iPod 5GB and 10GB devices by $100. The 5GB iPod is now $299, down from $399 and the 10GB version is now $399, down from $499. He said the new 20GB player would retail for $499.

Describing iPod as a "giant hit", Jobs showed off new software additions to the device, including the ability to add/sync calendars and contacts from the Jaguar OS.

The Apple co-founder also bowed the company's .Mac product, playing on rival Microsoft's .NET Web services initiative, hyping a new set of Internet-based services and software for the consumer market.

The .Mac line would feature e-mail service with iMap, POP or Web-based access, 100MB of Internet storage from Apple's iDisk integrated with Mac OS X Finder and always-on hosting for personal Web sites and digital images that can be shared online.

He said .Mac would also allow users to share calendars from Apple's iCal software and would come with McAfee's Virex antivirus tool.

He said .Mac would be a paid subscription product for $99 annually and would replace the free Tools service, which is being scrapped. "Existing iTools accounts will be transitioned to .Mac accounts during a free trial period ending September 30. During that time, iTools freeloaders will get to buy .Mac for $49 for the first year, he said.

Along with the slew of announcements, a staple of his appearances at MacWorld conference, Jobs spent most of the time in front on an iMac showing off "the coolest applications in the world" within the new 'Jaguar' OS.

He was joined by Rob Glaser, CEO of Real Networks, to demo the RealOne Player for Mac, a product now available as a free beta on the Real.com Web site. Glaser said the RealOne Player for Mac would include RealVideo 9, which offers broadcast quality video to broadband users.

Later this year, RealNetworks plans to enable the Mac version of the player to receive the RealOne SuperPass subscription service, which shuttles digital programming from third-party content providers like ABCNEWS.com, CBS Big Brother, CNN, E! Networks, FOX Sports.com, MLB Advanced Media and NASCAR.com.

Jobs also highlighted the inclusion of the QuickTime 6 player within the new operating system, praising the adoption of the MPEG-4 standard. "Everything will jump on the MPEG-4 bandwagon...Except for maybe Microsoft," Jobs said, poking a dig at Microsoft, which will use proprietary code in its Windows 9 (nee Corona) digital media product.

He highlighted new features in the OS that includes Sherlock 3, the Web-based search app that is now fitted with channels for tracking stocks, news feeds and city-based entertainment. Sherlock 3 can also track eBay auctions and allow for finding a bidding on items in a non-browser environment.

Jobs said 'Jaguar' was also fitted with the Inkwell hand-recognition technology and the new 'Rendezvous' application which helps users automatically find IP addresses and devices without complicated configuration procedures.

He said 'Rendezvous' would work nearby computers, printers and other peripherals to detect devices and even share music playlists. Printer makers Epson, HP and Lexmark have already signed on to include 'Rendezvous' into new products, Jobs said.

Other bells and whistle added to 'Jaguar' include a new Mail app that allows upgraded support for multiple accounts and a Junk Mail filtering system that is "the best in the world." He said the recently launched iChat instant messaging tool has also been integrated into 'Jaguar' to allow the use of @Mac.com accounts as AIM handles.