Apple's new OS to ship first in NZ

The first retail copy of Apple Computer's next-generation Unix-based MacOS X will be sold to a New Zealander.

The first retail copy of Apple Computer's next-generation Unix-based MacOS X will be sold to a New Zealander.

The new operating system goes on sale worldwide on Saturday, March 24, four a half years after a beleaguered Apple bought Next Software for $US430 million, seeking its NextStep OS. Like NextStep, MacOS X is based on BSD Unix.

Apple has dubbed the foundation of the OS 'Darwin' and licensed it for open-source development, augmenting it with a handful of key technologies, including Quartz (a 2D imaging layer using Display PDF), QuickTime and the glossy user interface Aqua, which was unveiled more than a year ago.

Apple New Zealand head Paul Johnson says the company plans to exploit New Zealand's time zone advantage and stage a midnight opening, reminiscent of Microsoft's Windows 95 and 98 launches, at Magnum Mac's Auckland store.

The company already has several hundred back orders for the product and Johnson says the lucky punter will probably be drawn from that list and invited to make the purchase. The event may even be streamed live to the internet.

The software will cost $299 or $229 to those who have already bought the MacOS X public beta. There have been a number of changes in response to the 75,000 comments received from public beta testers, but Johnson was unable to demonstrate any of them yesterday at Apple's local roadshow. In keeping with Apple practice, the final version will be kept under wraps until it can be unveiled by CEO Steve Jobs. Apple has already confirmed thatnative versions of big -ticket items such as DVD playback, the iTunesMP3 player and the consumer video editing application iMovie will be missing from the shipping version, but hopes to have them available for download by release day.

Johnson also announced yesterday that the company's new Titanium G4 PowerBook, which is also heavily back-ordered, is now officially on sale here. The slimline laptop, which it built from aircraft titanium and claimed by Apple to be the fastest in the world, retails for $6699 plus GST for the 400MHz version and $9099 for the 500MHz.

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