Local version of MacOS 7.6 due by end of month

Buoyed by the unexpected demand for MacOS 7.6 in the US, Apple New Zealand hopes to have localised versions of the latest Macintosh system software for sale by the end of the month. Good press and strong retail sales for 7.6 represent some welcome good news for Apple.

Buoyed by the unexpected demand for MacOS 7.6 in the US, Apple New Zealand hopes to have localised versions of the latest Macintosh system software for sale by the end of the month.

Although MacOS 7.6 has been available in the US since the beginning of February, other territories have been waiting on Apple subsidiary Claris to manufacture country-specific versions at its Irish plant. These versions, available on both CD and floppy disk, include the ability to automatically sign with several local ISPs.

Apple spokesman John Holley says the strong consumer response to 7.6 has been a welcome piece of good news for Apple.

"I understand one superstore says it's their third best-selling product, behind Office 97 and TurboTax. Most of the major retailers have re-ordered stock within a month, after selling through their three-month supplies."

Holley has worked with Auckland university on installing 7.6 at its 2000-strong Macintosh site "and the experience has been really impressive - problems with stability have almost disappeared. It's fast too - we've found it makes PowerBook 1400 run up to 75% faster.

"There have been one or two issues - notably with SpeedDoubler, and these will be covered in 7.6.1, which was always planned as a bugfix to correct any problems with the release."

Holly admits the demand for 7.6 is surprising, given that Apple has Tempo, a sweeping system upgrade which includes a fully-native multi-threaded Finder, due in July.

"I think it shows that people are still interested in what Apple has to offer. And some people were saying that Apple couldn't apply hardware standards to software engineering - a major release every six months. We had to, and we did."

Holley recommends purchasing the CD version of the upgrade, which has many "extras", rather than the 34-disk floppy version. Both versions should be in the hands of distributor Dataflow by late this month and, judging by US prices, will retail at less than $200.

Apple CTO Ellen Hancock recently noted that Next Software, which Apple has now acquired, brought with it " real good localisation technology", which was likely to speed up future international software releases.

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