Apple has 2.5 million active users of Mac OS X today, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in his keynote at Macworld Conference & Expo in New York. By the end of the year, Apple expects five million active users, he added.
Seventy-seven percent of purchases of new Macs choose to keep Mac OS X as the default operating system. Twenty percent of the installed Mac base has moved to Mac OS X. This is the fastest OS transition ever, whether you’re talking about Apple or Windows.
The migration to Mac OS X is fueled by some incredible applications, such as the new Maya 4.5, WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos, Photoshop Elements 2.0, and RealPlayer. Rob Glaser, CEO of Real Networks, demoed the latter and called it the best computing video experience ever.
To no one’s surprise, Jobs touted Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), which will ship on a CD with a yellow-and-black spotted “X” logo. It has over 150 major new features, he added. With the Unix base in Mac OS X, Apple has become the number one Unix supplier in the world. Unix features, as well as Windows interoperability, have been beefed up with Jaguar, he said.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing, joined Jobs on stage to demo the multithreaded Finder (which makes it much faster), spring loaded folder (a much requested feature brought over from Mac OS 9), and integrated search. Spring loaded folders even work with the column view in Mac OS X. The search engine is extremely fast and responsive, Schiller said. Schiller also demoed new Desktop Pictures preference option that lets you select folder of pictures or graphics and have them change at set intervals.
Jobs said that Universal Access features made sure that “no one was left behind” when using Mac OS X. The features help make the Mac easier to use for folks with certain disabilities.
The CEO also touted QuickTime 6, which was released earlier this week. See our Monday report for details. He praised MPEG-4 and QT’s 6 support of it.
“Everything will jump on the MPEG-4 bandwagon — well, except for maybe Microsoft,” Jobs said.
Jobs said that Jaguar will feature Sherlock 3, a “completely rewritten version” of the search engine. The new Sherlock evolves the tools’ channels into Internet services. Sherlock 3 adds channels for tracking stocks, grab news, find movies playing in an area (along with the film’s poster and a trailer), eBay (for finding and bidding on items in various categories), restaurants (with directions, including a map), and more. In the movie channel, you can even buy tickets online. More channels will be added in the future, Jobs said.
The CEO also talked about Inkwell, Jaguar’s handwriting recognition for Mac OS X. It’s based on technology from the late Newton handheld.
Jobs and Schiller demoed Jaguar’s Rendezvous technology, which automatically discovers devices over any IP network with zero configuration. It works with other computers, peripherals, and “devices we haven’t even thought of yet,” Jobs said. You can use it to do things like share music between Macs and use network printers without complicated configurations. Epson, Hewlett Packard, and Lexmark have adopted the technology and will build it into upcoming printers.
Rendezvous will be built into iTunes early next year, Jobs said. It’s all based on Internet standards and is totally open so “no one will own Rendezvous,” he added.
The CEO said that the Mail application has been beefed up with new rules and support for multiple accounts. The coolest thing added is a Junk Mail feature, Jobs said. Adaptive latent semantic analysis will go through and figure out what is junk mail. It’s good out of the box, and users can configure it to make it even better, Jobs said.
The Address Book has also been overhauled in a major way. It’s now a systemwide database that can be used by any application, Jobs said. It’s simply to use, but offers sophisticated features, he added. There’s a fast edit mode, full LDAP searching, and hot links to maps, iDisks, and more. With integrated Bluetooth support in Mac OS X 10.2, you can actually dial phones from the Address Book. If someone calls you, you’ll get a popup message on your Mac screen and send a SMS message if you wish.
Jobs also touted iChat, the instant messaging tool built into Jaguar. You can use with your Mac.com and/or AOL screen names, if you wish. Rendezvous works with iChat to go out and find people and build special Rendezvous buddy list. URLs can be embedded in iChat messages. You can even drag and drop URLs into the utility and do file transfers.
“We think it’s now the instant messaging experience in the world,” Jobs said.
Mac OS X 10.2 will cost US$129. It will be on sale Aug. 24. If you buy a Mac before then, you can get Jaguar for $19.95.