Apple launches Mac OS X Beta and new iBooks

Apple launches Mac OS X Beta and new iBooks

Apple Computer showered the Australian PC market with a double-hit of product releases yesterday, launching the Macintosh OS X public beta version and a new line of coloured iBooks.

Mac OS X, dubbed the "foundation" of all of Apple's operating systems for the next decade, features Internet and quartz-based graphics technology, a clean liquid-look "Aqua" interface, and an open-source UNIX-based foundation named Darwin. The Beta will run on systems with 128 MB/RAM and all Apple Power Mac PCs.

The upgrade is tailored to both novice and power-users, Geoff Winder, product marketing manager for Apple Australia, claimed. "While Mac OS X has complexity and performance, it has simplicity and elegance when you need it," he said.

Mac OS X also has zero boot-up time on notebooks, executives demonstrated yesterday. It will be bundled with Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5 browser tool for $55 including GST, available in English, French and German from Apple Stores tomorrow.

Mac OS X Beta version was developed with the aid of a 200-strong global developer community, including Microsoft, Adobe and Filemaker, all of whom will design "carbonized" applications compatible with Mac OS X, said Winder.

Apple also unveiled a new iBook line. The new models include a 366MHz or 466MHz PowerPC G3 processor; a 10GB IDE hard drive; CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive; 400Mbps FireWire port for connecting digital camcorders; and iMovie2, Apple's digital video editing software. iBook comes in Indigo, and the iBook Special Edition in Graphite. Both versions are sold in Key Lime. Indigo retails for $2995, the Graphite Special Edition for $3595 and Key Lime starts at $2995.

Mac OS X and the new iBooks will be sold through the Apple Store chain and not through the vendor's reseller conglomerate. Apple was not interested in hard-sell marketing of the new products, but in gauging early "customer feedback", particularly on Mac OS X, before launching its retail version in early 2001, according to Winder.

Apple will provide all reseller staff with a free copy of Mac OS X in an effort to "actively involve resellers in the product as much as possible".

Executives declined to make local profit projections on Mac OS X and the new suite of iBooks.

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