OS X Receives New AOL with Gecko

A freshly retooled AOL client has arrived exclusively for Mac OS X users in a release AOL bills as its "best version for Apple Macintosh computers yet."

America Online announced Tuesday a completely overhauled application that melds into the aesthetics of the Mac - bringing the look and feel of a true Mac program to AOL subscribers.

The new AOL for OS X boasts many visual improvements including colorful new icons, glowing buttons, and translucent menus. Much of this window dressing has made its way into the recent release of AOL 8 - a beta test version for Windows.

However, the Mac client will be the first to debut these enhancements as well as many other bells and whistles including personalized email, away messages and support for mobile devices. In addition, the Welcome Screen will provide easy access to local news and weather alerts.

According to AOL's Jeff Kimball, "America Online is the only major Internet service provider that offers a look-and-feel exclusively designed for Macs. AOL and Apple are a natural fit since both companies focus on the consumer, and are about making technology easy, accessible and most of all fun."

The new release for Mac also includes the Gecko browser engine in lieu of Internet Explorer, which is utilized in the Windows client.

In the past several months AOL and Apple have moved into closer quarters. Apple's QuickTime media player is now natively supported by AOL, along with the Apple's iChat instant messaging application. AOL also has opened up its network of AIM users to Apple by cooperating on iChat.

The new AOL update for Mac OS X is available to existing customers free of charge.

Nate Mook contributed to this report.

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