Jobs: Final Mac OS X held until 2001

It was due this summer, but now Apple's next-generation OS will only be seen in a public beta, CEO Steve Jobs tells developers

Apple Computer has moved back the release date of Mac OS X to January 2001, CEO Steve Jobs revealed during his Monday morning keynote speech at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose.

Jobs told developers that Apple will distribute a public beta of the next-generation operating system this summer, the season when Mac OS X had been slated to ship in final form. Jobs said the final version will be "available for pre-install" on new Mac systems starting in January.

At the show, Apple is distributing CDs containing Developer Preview 4.0 of Mac OS X, which offers a much more Mac-like version of the operating system, including a tweaked Finder and reworked Dock.

DP4 also includes a fully Carbonised pre-release version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5 browser and comes with a full implementation of OpenGL and Java 2. Jobs cautioned that the implementation of the OpenGL 3D API wasn't yet "fully tuned" but offers comparable performance to the version in Mac OS 9.

Java 2 has been fully integrated into the Aqua interface, so Java applications on Mac OS X look like Aqua applications.

QuickTime, Maya news In other news, Jobs announced plans to release a new version of QuickTime; a Mac version of Alias Wavefront's Maya videography and animation software; and a price cut to the company's WebObjects 1.1 Server software, which now costs $700 (about £427) for an unlimited license.

Jobs said the QuickTime rev will offer MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 decoding and encoding, local and streaming, all in software; Flash 4 support; new G4 acceleration that encodes music up to three times faster than the current version; and new QuickTime VR cubic panoramics that will allow users to look all the way up and down in a QTVR scene.

Besides announcing the WebObjects price cut, Jobs said a new Java-based version of the software is due by year-end.

The keynote event also featured demonstrations of Carbonised versions of Palm Desktop, Adobe InDesign 1.5 and Quake III Arena.

On the financial front, Jobs said Apple's market share is up worldwide, going from 4.5 percent to 5.1 percent in the United States, 3 percent to 4.1 percent in the Europe, and 5.7 percent to 7.8 percent in Japan from 1998 to 1999. The Apple chief said more than 4 million Macs have been sold in the past year, and 3.5 million iMacs have been sold worldwide in the past two months. About 45 percent of those buyers were new to the Mac platform.

Having introduced design sense to the realm of PC hardware, Apple is preparing to repeat the trick in software with its next-generation operating system. Go with Andreas Pfeiffer for the news comment at AnchorDesk UK.

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