According to Jobs, the Mac OS X (X as in the Roman Numeral for 10) features state-of-the-art technology throughout, including advanced Internet and graphics capabilities; Aqua, a new user interface; and Darwin, an open-source Unix-based foundation.
"Mac OS X is the future of the Macintosh and the most technically advanced personal computer operating system ever," said Jobs. "We are excited to have our users test drive this public beta version and provide us with valuable feedback."
According to Apple, the new product offers true memory protection, preemptive multi-tasking and symmetric multiprocessing when running on Power Mac G4, which is the company's new dual processor.
The product additionally is said to have a 2-D graphics engine that provides "stunning" graphics and broad font support, Open GL for "spectacular" 3-D graphics and gaming, and QuickTime for streaming audio and video.
The product -- available in English, French and German -- is immediately available through the Apple Web site at a price of $29.95.
According to an industry report, the entire installation process will take less than 10 minutes on a typical Mac that meets the installation requirements: any Power Mac G34 or G4; any PowerBook G3 other than the first model; and all iMacs and iBooks, provided they have at least 128 MB of RAM and 1.5GB of free disk space.
To complement the OS X introduction, Apple has released several new products:
- A new iBook line in all new colors featuring FireWire ports and IMovie 2 digital video editing software.
- An iBook special edition that includes DVD-ROM for watching DVD movies.
- A Radeon graphics accelerator card as a built-to-order option for a Power Mac G4 or Power Mac G4 Cube system for 3-D processing.
- A new set of displays.