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Steve Jobs proclaimed in January that 2003 would be “The Year of the Notebook” for Apple Computer. In hindsight, it looks as if he meant “The Quarter-Year,” because the company has released a “breakthrough” product in each successive quarter.
Second quarter: iTunes Music Store (ITMS); third quarter: Power Mac G5s; fourth quarter: Apple this week announced that on October 24th it will unleash Mac OS X 10.3, ushering in the Panther Quarter.
ITMS is, as they say in the music world, a “hit,” and Apple is expected to announce the
release of a Windows version
next week, a move that will be followed closely by tech-specific and mainstream analysts, the record industry, and music buyers. And the G5s have propelled Apple’s desktops into the 21st century, competitive with any shipping PC in performance and price.
But Panther is the most important piece of this mosaic. It’s how users (and potential switchers) view, interact with, and direct all the physical capabilities that the other products and services offer. It needs to be “insanely great.” Which Panther appears to be.
Macworld, and the
preview at Apple’s site
offer detailed views of the new OS’s features and services. Looking at the screenshots, I’m struck by Panther’s great degree of integration and extension.
On the global front, Panther is built to work seamlessly in Windows and Unix-like networks, and the new Finder eases navigating the myriad disks and files. (Apple is also releasing Panther Server, for folks who think OS X is the best way to manage computers.) On the security front, File Vault supplies 128-bit AES file encryption/decryption “on the fly,” and Secure Delete is a welcome addition if it lives up to its name.
On the local front — the desktop where you work on and manage files — the new Exposé feature looks great. It lets you instantaneously reduce the clutter of many windows by reducing their size in proportion to their number. The Finder does look a bit iTunes-like, but I think that aids navigation. And Apple claims that Search finds items much more quickly than previous versions, a most welcome enhancement.
There’s no way to tell from pictures, but I imagine the integration of Panther and the bundled iApps (like iTunes, iMovie, and especially iChat) and non-iApps (like Safari, Address Book and Mail) will be a revelation. I’m looking forward to it.
The power of the G5s, the opportunities of ITMS, the breadth and accessibility of Panther — maybe we’re heading to four full quarters of “The Year of the Mac.”
Apple to release Mac OS X Panther, Server Oct. 24
Apple on Wednesday announced the release of Mac OS X Panther and Panther Server; both versions will be available on Friday, October 24, beginning at 8:00 p.m. The new OS features a revamped “user-centric” Finder interface that puts a user’s favorite folders, hard drive, network servers, iDisk and removable media into a single location. Other new features include faster search, colored labels and better integration with Windows network environments. Panther supports ActiveDirectory and SMB-based home directories on Windows servers and enhanced Windows integration that allows for printing to shared printers.
iTunes for Windows rollout scheduled for Oct. 16
Apple, Dell competing for 130,000-laptop deal
New Mac OS X v10.2.8 update fixes Ethernet, battery status
Thursday, Thrice to perform at Apple stores
ProMax array ready for the G5
ProMax has announced the US$1,195 ProMax Internal 500GB SATAmax Array that’s compatible with the Power Mac G5. It’s designed especially for professional uncompressed SD video editors. The array includes two 250 GB SATA, 7200 RPM, 8MB buffer hard drives (striped as RAID-0); a two-port SATA PCI Host Adapter (especially designed for the G5); two SATA drive cables; one 120GB FireWire 800 external boot drive; one FireWire 800 cable; and a power cord.
PocketDock For 3G iPod shipping
Epson introduces Stylus C64, Stylus CX6400
Mobile FireWire 800/USB 2.0 hard drive released
eBeam whiteboard system now uses Bluetooth
Ars Technica hands-on: 15″ Aluminum PowerBook G4
iCal, iSync updated, new features added
Apple on Wednesday released updates to iCal (v1.5.1) and iSync (v1.2.1), the company’s calendaring and data synchronization software for OS X users. Both are available for download from Apple’s Web site. iCal gains an improved interface, better time zone support, new keyboard shortcuts and the ability to run AppleScripts triggered by iCal events. iSync 1.2.1 adds complete calendar synchronization support for users of wireless phones that use the Symbian operating system, and now supports more than 20 different phones from Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Siemens.
Update fixes glitch with StuffIt products
‘Final Cut Pro 4 Visual QuickPro Guide’ released
Avid wants to tempt you with Avid Free DV
Asanté releases drivers for Power Mac G5s
TeleSym software chosen for Dartmouth’s VoIP system
Around the Web
Apple should have used Intel chips, Sculley says
Former Apple CEO John Sculley said Tuesday at the Silicon Valley 4.0 conference that the company should have adopted an Intel-based architecture when it had the chance in the late-1980s. Intel co-founder Andy Grove tried to convince Apple to migrate to Intel chips, Sculley said, and called his negative decision “probably one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made.”
Dual-layer 8.5GB recordable DVDs developed
Macworld Expo 2004 registration opens
New Napster, iPod don’t play nice
Pixar-Disney Talks Said to Show Progress