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MacOS X 1.0 to launch 24 February

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Apple has set 24 February as the official launch date for its next-generation operating system, MacOS X, according to company sources speaking to ZDNet US.

The final version of the OS will be unveiled during CEO Steve Jobs' keynote at MacWorld Expo Tokyo, and followed by a "massive" ad campaign, the sources said.

Many Mac users were expecting Jobs' speech at MacWorld Expo San Francisco, which will take place in the first week of January, to mark the launch of MacOS X - exactly a year after the OS' introduction to the public. Instead, Apple will officially announce the date of the official announcement. If you see what we mean...

Rumours have been doing the rounds of late that Apple will ship an update to the currently available Public Beta version of the OS. ZDNet US' sources said the MacOS X is now "feature complete" and all that's left is bug fixing and optimisation. That suggests that the OS will ship around the time of its launch, though the sources don't actually say MacOS X 1.0 will be available at launch.

If it does ship, then the OS will be made available ahead of expectations. When the release of the Public Beta slipped from early summer to September - just scraping in ahead of the very broad deadline Apple had officially announced - it emerged through company sources that the final release was unlikely to appear before March 2001, which is pretty damn close to the 24 February launch window.

Apple is banking on MacOS X to revive high-end Mac sales, depressed by both a lack of software to take advantage of their multiple processors and the fact that the fastest PowerPC 7400 CPU still only clocks at 500MHz. Company CFO Fred Anderson noted this week that Apple's poor Q1 2001 sales are in part due to professional and power users hanging fire on hardware upgrades until they can see MacOS X running on it. The fact that Apple also announces upgrades in January after the end of the quarter doesn't help either, we'd submit.

Between three months and a year after the launch of MacOS X 1.0, Apple will release a major update, codenamed 'Orient', the ZDNet US sources said. ®

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