Mac OS X is here

During yesterday’s kickoff keynote at Apple Expo Paris, Apple released Mac OS X Public Beta and introduced a new iBook line in all new colours. Apple also announced that it will offer the Radeon graphics accelerator card as a build-to-order option on The Apple Store for all Power Mac G4 and Power Mac G4 Cube systems.

Immediately available in English, French and German through The Apple Store for $29.95, Mac OS X has a new user interface named ‘Aqua,’ and an open-source UNIX-based foundation named Darwin.

Mac OS X features true memory protection, pre-emptive multi-tasking, and symmetric multiprocessing when running on the new dual-processor Power Mac G4 line. Mac OS X includes Apple’s Quartz 2D graphics engine (based on the Internet-standard Portable Document Format) for graphics and broad font support; OpenGL for 3D graphics and gaming, and QuickTime for streaming audio and video.

In addition, the Aqua interface has some new functionality, such as the ‘Dock,’ a technique for organising applications, documents and miniaturised windows. Mac OS X Public Beta includes many applications, including Apple’s new Mail client (IMAP and POP compatible) and new versions of the QuickTime player and Sherlock Internet searching tool, as well as a beta version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Apple also unveiled a new iBook line featuring FireWire ports and iMovie 2, a digital video editing software package. Apple’s new iBook now comes in Indigo and the new iBook Special Edition, which includes a DVD-ROM drive for watching DVD movies on the go, comes in Graphite. Both iBook and iBook Special Edition also come in Key Lime.

The new iBook models include: a 366 MHz or 466 MHz PowerPC G3 processor; a 10GB IDE hard drive, configurable to 20GB; a 400 Mbps FireWire port for connecting high-speed peripherals such as digital camcorders and hard disk drives; a CD-ROM drive or DVD-ROM drive; an AV port providing audio and composite video output; and the ATI RAGE Mobility 128 controller with 8MB of SDRAM for games and graphics.

The Radeon graphics card is available for order through The Apple Store for all Power Mac G4 and Power Mac G4 Cube models for $100. The addition of the Radeon graphics card means the G4 is available in more than 90,000 build-to-order configurations and the G4 Cube is available in over 2,000 configurations through The Apple Store.

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