Apple sets Panther release date

Apple has set the release date for its latest Mac OS X – code-named Panther. It will hit the market on October 24, along with a Panther Server product.

Apple’s Australian website is already taking orders for Panther, which will retail for $229. The new OS had been expected to launch four months ago at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

While the new server product has yet to appear on Apple Australia’s website, its American website is offering the OS X Server v10.3 (10 client license) for $US499.

The new server, designed for small workgroups and Internet hosting services, boasts new features including a centralised directory and authentication for Mac and Windows clients.

It is available in 10-client and Unlimited-client editions. Client restrictions apply only to simultaneous file sharing services for Mac and PC clients.

New features in Panther OS X include a revamped Finder interface that allows users to place their favorite folders, hard drive, network servers, iDisk and removable media into a single location. It will also come with a new version of Apple’s instant messaging client, iChat AV.

Apple has added several security measures to Panther, including FileVault, which secures home directory content with 128-AES encryption.

Another new feature is Exposé, a graphical interface innovation that allows users to view and organise open windows.

Other new features of the OS include faster searching, coloured labels and better integration with Windows networks.

Panther supports ActiveDirectory and SMB-based home directories on Windows servers and enhanced Windows integration that allows for printing to shared printers.

Panther is the fourth major OS release from Apple in three years.

The company claims to have 8.5 million users of Mac OS X.

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