developers are getting their first look at the company’s next-generation operating system thanks to a starter
kit released this week.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker is preparing for the
release of Mac OS X 10.4x (code-named Tiger), which it anticipates
should happen in the first half of 2005. The upgrade from the current
version known as Panther includes 150 new features such as support for 64-bit applications and memory addressing as well as enhancements to audio, video and search.
The actual release date may be delayed by a few months — if developers believe a rogue posting on Amazon.com. Earlier this week, Amazon’s site inadvertently advertised it was taking pre-orders but was expecting a release date of June 30, 2005. The date is three months later than the original release date of March 31, 2005.
When it does appear, Tiger is expected to compete for user desktops along with major projects like Microsoft’s
next generation Windows OS — codenamed Longhorn — as alternative desktops like those offered by OpenOffice.org and Yellow Dog Linux.
The Tiger offer is open to members of Apple’s Developer Connection
(ADC). A subscription fee of $500 grants the member early
access to Tiger software and documentation; pre-release versions of Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger and Xcode 2.0 (Apple’s integrated development
environment — IDE — for Mac OS X). The offer also includes a
one-on-one engineering consultation and a DVD with engineering
instruction, along with presentation slides and sample code. Apple
prides itself on a developer base with 12 million OS X users and upwards
of 12,000 native applications built for Panther alone.
Tiger’s biggest draw is expected to be a revision to the operating
system’s search capabilities. Dubbed “Spotlight,” the technology, which
has the look and feel of iTunes, will be integrated into the taskbar
with core functions slated for Apple’s Finder, Mail, Address Book and
System Preferences. The search itself adds more native terminology,
including not only Metadata but also full content indexing.
The new OS will also allow 32-bit apps to run alongside 64 bit with LP64 support in GNU C Compiler (a high-quality C compiler released under the GPL) as well as fine grain locking Symmetric Multi-Processing, access to control lists and Apple’s Xgrid application built in.
Other additions to Apple’s Tiger include:
conferencing between four people and audio conferencing for up to 10
people with a new GUI.
as “Expose’ for Widgets” where individual mini-applications or portlet
containers could be accessed and hidden using a function key.
potentially include non-Macintosh devices.
actions built in
that lets novice users build their own scripts and link workflows
without having to take a course in Apple Script.
technology, which includes real time hardware-accelerated and
pixel-accurate filters, effects and transitions.
Tiger’s Server version has also been updated with tools that make
migrating from Windows-based servers easier. With the new OS, Apple said, administrators can now migrate user and group account information from an existing Windows Primary Domain Controller (PDC) (define) automatically into an Open Directory. Apple has said Tiger Server could
then take over as the PDC for Windows clients and even host Windows
users’ home directories, group folders, roaming profiles and shared
As with previous software development kits, anyone purchasing the
Tiger Early Start Kit is bound to some secrecy so as not to let too slip many of final release the features before Apple is ready
to spring it on the Mac marketplace.
CEO Steve Jobs is expected to update Apple’s developers during the
company’s appearance at Macworld in January 2005.