SAN FRANCISCO (08/29/2000) - The public beta for Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac OS X will be rolled out on Sept. 13 at the Apple Expo in Paris, company Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs said in a keynote speech here Tuesday in which he addressed the OS delay with humor.
Apple had said that OS X would be out during the summer, so Jobs in his keynote address here at the Seybold publishing conference posed the question "What's summer?" He then looked it up in Webster's dictionary, announcing that summer -- in the Northern Hemisphere anyway -- officially begins with the June solstice and ends with the September equinox due to fall on Sept. 23. By that measure, the OS X beta will be out in Apple's pledged time frame (though the company had promised a "shrink wrapped" version would be out by the middle of this year).
"We're very, very strong on this," Jobs said about the public beta, spending part of his keynote address showing off some of the new operating systems' features. He described OS X in layers, with Darwin forming the core operating system kernel, which Jobs said is fully open source. On top of Darwin are three pieces -- Quartz 2-D graphics capabilities, OpenGL for 3-D graphics and Apple's QuickTime for multimedia.
Above those components are a trio of APIs (application programming interfaces) -- Classic, which allows users to run existing Mac applications "as is;" Carbon, which enables the use of all the new OS X features; and Cocoa, which is derived from the object-oriented OpenStep operating system. Apple acquired OpenStep when it purchased Next Software Inc. in late 1996 -- Jobs founded Next after leaving Apple.
Jobs said that developers "from Adobe (Systems Inc.) to Microsoft (Corp.) are working to "carbonize their applications."
Features in the public beta will include full support for Java2 and full SMP (symmetric multiprocessing), Jobs said. Another feature OS X offers is more rapid wake-up times for Apple PowerBook notebooks. Currently, waking up a PowerBook from sleep mode running OS 9 can take anything from 8 to 22 seconds, with OS X only taking 1 second, Jobs claimed. However, the demonstration of such a capability, which he tried twice, failed both times.
Mac OS X will also include an MP3 player that users can run on their desktop if they like.
Ease of use is the new operating system's main raison d'etre, Jobs said. "With OS X, we're cleaning up the system in terms of simplicity," Jobs said.
Microsoft is working on a "carbonized version" of its Web browser, Internet Explorer 5.5, which will ship with OS X, Jobs said. The browser will include Macromedia Inc.'s Shockwave and Flash software already built into it, he added.
Jobs also highlighted the "Dock" feature of OS X, describing it as "a wonderful unified place for all the applications you have running and miniaturized windows." Users can also save their URLs in the dock, he added.
Macromedia executives came on stage to show the company's DreamWeaver Web site creation sites running on OS X. The executives used the Web site http://www.ipocracy.com/, where anyone can set up headlines and content to set themselves up as a U.S. presidential candidate. They put Jobs down as a candidate, to much applause and laughter from the audience.
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, can be reached at +1-408-996-1010 or at http://www.apple.com/.