As expected, Apple Computer chief executive officer Steve Jobs used his keynote address Wednesday here at Apple Expo to announce the availability of the public beta version of Mac OS X. Jobs also introduced new additions to the company's iBook line of portable computers, and announced a faster graphics card option for the company's G4 desktop range.
The public beta version of Mac OS X will go on sale this week, Jobs said. It ships on a single CD-ROM disc containing English, French and German-language versions of the operating system.
While many software developers make their beta releases available for free download, Apple is charging US$29.99 for the disc in the US..
The final release, Mac OS X version 1.0 will go on sale early next year, Jobs added.
Jobs had first promised the beta release during his August 29 speech at the Seybold publishing conference in San Francisco.
Among the new features in the public beta release are a full implementation of Java 2, which takes advantage of Apple's new Aqua user interface design, OpenGL 3-D graphics, and support for symmetric multiprocessing to take advantage of the new dual-processor desktop G4s announced in July.
While Microsoft is the company that many Macintosh users love to hate, Jobs urged his audience to support the company - particularly the "few hundred people at Microsoft who love the Mac and who work night and day to make the Mac version of Microsoft Office the best."