Jobs makes welter of software announcements at WWDC

Third-party speech recognition support, the official releases of OpenGL for the MacOS and MacOS 8.6, the first preview release of MacOS X Client and the unveiling of a new graphics and windowing system for MacOS X, based on Adobe's PDF technology, were among the highlights of Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs' keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference this morning.

Apple has continued to rope in key application support for the MacOS platform, with the announcement this morning by CEO Steve Jobs that Dragon Systems is to bring the latest versions of its speech-recognition software to the MacOS.

Speaking at Apple's World Wide Developers' Conference, Jobs and his software chief Avie Tevanian also made an array of software announcements on Apple's behalf – including the official announcement of MacOS 8.6, OpenGL support for the MacOS and a new version of the Macintosh Runtime for Java, which reportedly runs five times faster than previous versions. All are available as free download from Apple's Website.

Jobs and Tevanian also unveiled "Quartz", a new graphics and windowing system for MacOS X Client based on Adobe's PDF technology. The first developer preview of MacOS X Client has been made available at the conference.

Developers who wondered if the "Yellow Box" development environment (which came with Apple's purchase of the NextStep OS on which MacOS X is based) had been forgotten by Apple's management were no doubt reassured when Jobs announced that Yellow Box had been renamed Cocoa and would be used by Apple itself to develop new applications, including a nmail client for MacOS X. Cocoa also includes a full set of Java programming interfaces.

Given that Cocoa is also the name of a child-oriented learning and programming tool also originally developed at Apple, the name might have been better chosen.

Job also, as widely predicted, debuted a new line of G3 PowerBooks, featuring a slimline profile and 333MHz and 400MHz processors. The long-awaited "P1" consumer portable would be available "a little later this year", he said – probably referring to Macworld Expo in New York in July.

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