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Jobs chucks Leopard titbits to Apple masses

MacOS X 10.5 feature set fleshed out

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WWDC Steve Jobs opened Apple's annual developer conference by going back in time one year - in more ways than one. As well as harking back to the announcement of his company's ground-breaking relationship with Intel and taking trademark swiped at Microsoft, the Apple CEO talked up features in Mac OS X 10.5, aka Leopard, mostly previewed at WWDC 2006.

So what genuinely new features did Jobs pick out this year? A desktop look that adds a translucent dock, a menu bar at the top of the screen that now adapts to what users put on the desktop, something called Stacks that lets you group several icons within the dock, and a new downloads folder where the Safari browser stores files by default. The Finder, Apple's file browser, gets a new look with the Cover Flow function to view files the same way you would view iTunes cover art.

There was a strong nod towards gaming as video game publishers Electronic Arts and id Software, the maker of Doom and Quake, came on stage during Jobs' Monday keynote to announce their support of the Mac platform.

This summer, EA will come out with games like Command and Conquer 3, Battlefield 2142, Need for Speed Carbon and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, as well as some sports titles like Madden 08 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08. id Software owner John Carmack demoed a 20GB plus textured 3D environment.

Then it was onto packaging and pricing. The release of Apple's next "big cat" is scheduled for October at $129, "for the ultimate version", joked Jobs referring to Microsoft's layered price structure for Windows Vista.

"We've got a basic version, which is going to cost $129. We've got a premium version, which is gonna cost $129. We've got a business version, $129. We've got an enterprise version, $129. And we've got the ultimate version - we're throwing everything into it: It's $129. We think most people will buy the ultimate version," Jobs said. ®

Jean-Baptiste Su is Editor-in-Chief of Uberpulse.com

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