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.

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