Apple CEO and chairman Gilbert Amelio yesterday finally laid out operating system plans aimed at reviving the struggling giant but disappointed Mac loyalists who were hoping for a quick panacea. In a two and a half hour speech at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco Amelio said that a new version of the Mac OS based on the NextStep operating system will be available inside twelve months.
Codenamed Rhapsody, the software will run on both PowerPC and x86 processors and will inherit key features of NextStep including support for multithreading, multitasking and multiprocessing. Amelio said existing Macintosh applications will run at the same speed or a little faster on Rhapsody. Developers will get Rhapsody tools in mid-1997 and a second version of Rhapsody will be available in mid-1998. Apple will also continue to develop System 7 with an upgrade codenamed Tempo due for the summer.
Fighting back at critics who insist that Apple is in terminal decline, Amelio said the OS plans are just part of a long turnaround process: ''Our job first is to heal the patient. It will happen.''