Steve Jobs, who has dropped the "interim" from his role as chief executive officer of Apple, has demonstrated publicly for the first time the client version of Mac OS X and new Internet tools before a packed and cheering auditorium here.
Jobs, clearly upbeat during his keynote address despite a few failures during the demonstrations, showed Aqua, the new user interface for the Mac, which will begin shipping this summer and be preloaded on Macs in January 2001. New features include a dock on the bottom of the display to organise text, movies, graphics and other files.
The client OS will have three API (application program interface) levels - classic, carbon and cocoa. Classic will run OS 9 software; carbon will run recompiled OS 9 applications to take advantage of the new features in OS X; and cocoa will take advantage of object-oriented languages like Java.
Software developers announced their allegiance to the company and its new client OS at the show. Kevin Browne, acting general manager for Microsoft, said, "We are fully behind Steve and we'll be there for OS X."
Bruce Chizen, executive vice president for Adobe Systems, said of the new client, "It's just so damn cool."
Jobs also unveiled a series of consumer-oriented Internet tools that are designed to work in concert with Macintosh server and client technology. ITools, iCard and iReview will be new services on Apple.com that, for example, will include a database of acceptable sites for children. Instead of filtering out unwanted sites, as current protection software employs, the database will only include permissible sites. The database currently has 50,000 sites reviewed and approved by teachers and librarians.
Jobs announced the company has invested $US200 million in EarthLink Network and would include it as the default, preinstalled Internet service provider on Macs beginning this year. He also revealed that company shipped 1.35 million Macs in the last quarter, the most for Apple in any one quarter.
The new products weren't directly targeted at Apple's business users, primarily in the publishing industry. However John Swart, a consultant to The Associated Press, said Apple's improved ease of use and its superior ColorSync technology along with the Mac's entrenched position in publishing should help it hold its share on the desktop.
On the server side, Swart said, Windows NT and the upcoming Windows 2000 are rapidly becoming standard except in "all-Mac sites." He said, "Last year I was saying I did not know how to spell NT. Now, I have to use it."
Jobs' keynote had the feel of a rock concert, with Grateful Dead music and attendees lining up for hours before the event. First in line were three 16-year old high-school boys from Fargo, North Dakota who arrived at 3am to secure seats in the standing-room only event.