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MacOS X public beta in two weeks – Jobs

Powerbook, iBook revs stay under wraps

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Steve Jobs astonished the Mac faithful at San Francisco's Seybold Seminars by announcing MacOS X for Intel hardware, and a range of new Apple-branded consumer appliances.

Of course, he didn't - we just made all of that up.

But Apple flacks have been working hard for the past few days to dampen expectations of new hardware announcements, and despite the widespread suspicion that this was some kind of double-bluff, the Jobs reality-distortion field really was held in check this time.

Jobs did announce that the MacOS X beta would be sent out on 13 September, with final release now expected in "early" 2001. In May, at the Apple developer conference, Jobs committed to January availability so this may be a discreet way of announcing a further delay.

Jobs task was to drum up momentum for MacOS X among professional publishers - Apple's most lucrative constituency - and this he did by reprising his keynotes to the WWDC and MacWorld Expo, with very little new. Adobe (running PhotoShop on OS9), Discreet Logic and Macromedia demonstrating OS X versions of Combustion chipped in, but the desktop product run-through, and demonstrations of QuickTime on OS X and the bomb app were practically identical. Discreet is the second SGI stalwart to make a splashy announcement of a port to MacOS X.

OS X has received a couple of tweaks: the bright alpha-blended look is now optional, and a more traditional Grapite look can be used as an alternative; and the Dock has undergone a modest rethink to help users distinguish between shortcuts and running applications.

One segment of the demonstration, intended to show that an OS X PowerBook returned from sleep mode in one second failed twice and was quickly abandoned. So we can guess just who inside Apple will be bracing themselves for the hissy fit... ®

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