Eric Steil

iBook Brought Up to Speed with G4

Apple has finally put to rest the sluggish PowerPC G3 processor, introducing new iBooks featuring the same G4 brain found in the PowerBook. The iBook line was also anointed with USB 2.0, and support for Airport Extreme and Bluetooth.

The iBook with G4 processor is pegged as a low-cost portable for the consumer market, offering advanced functionality at a price point 30 percent less than its PowerBook relatives.

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Apple Seeds New 'Panther' Beta

Apple on Saturday released a new beta of Panther, the next version of the company's Mac OS X operating system. The build, labeled 7B21, shows the progress made since the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and is the first release available to developers who did not attend.

Build 7B21 includes extensive bug fixes along with new features and updated versions of bundled applications. The Address Book now allows contacts to be synced with Microsoft Exchange, and Finder now allows the creation of ZIP archives from files and folders.

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Red Hat Releases 'Severn' Beta

On Monday, Red Hat released the first beta of the next version of its Red Hat Linux distribution. Codenamed "Severn," it represents not just a new version but also a major change in the way the distribution is developed.

The beta release includes changes to the installation procedure, as well as enhanced security and notebook support. The kernel includes Exec-shield, which helps limit the severity of buffer overflow exploits, and the ability to prevent loading kernel modules. Along with ACPI support, Severn includes a laptop mode, which allows the hard drive to become idle, increasing battery life.

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Linux 2.6 Kernel Test Version Released

Two weeks after taking leave from chipmaker Transmeta, Linus Torvalds has announced version 2.6.0-test1, a preliminary test of the 2.6 kernel for the Linux operating system.

The test series of kernels allows more widespread testing of the new version. In his release announcement, Torvalds wrote that "the point of the test versions is to make more people realize that they need testing and get some straggling developers realizing that it's too late to worry about the next big feature."

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Sony Announces 'PSP' Entertainment Platform

As E3 gets underway in Los Angeles, Sony has unveiled a new platform for portable gaming and beyond. The device, dubbed "PSP," represents Sony's first foray into a market currently dominated by Nintendo. But Sony's continued lead in the console gaming space and vast reach within home electronics could give the company a distinct advantage over its competitors.

PSP will feature a 480x272 pixel TFT LCD display and utilize a Sony-developed storage format called Universal Media Disc. UMD is comprised of a 60mm optical disc that can hold 1.8GB of data. Akin to Sony's MiniDisc platform, each optical disc will be contained within a cartridge. Sony also plans to support the latest copyright protection to ensure publishers a secure environment for their content.

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Apple Boosts Xserve Speed, Unveils RAID Storage

Apple announced Monday a new Xserve RAID storage system, and increased the speed of its Xserve rack-mount servers to 1.33Ghz.

Xserve RAID features up to 14 hot-swappable ATA/100 drives totaling 2.5 terabytes of storage. Each drive is placed on its own ATA controller to eliminate bottlenecks. The hardware RAID controller supports RAID levels 0, 1, 0+1, 3, and 5. The unit can be connected to an Xserve or Power Mac G4 with the 2GB Apple Fibre Channel PCI Card.

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Apple Introduces New Systems, Displays

Apple quietly updated its Power Mac G4 line of desktop computers Tuesday and introduced a new 20-inch Apple Cinema Display. Prices on existing displays, including Apple's 23-inch behemoth, were also cut.

The upgraded Power Mac G4 systems increase CPU speed and include additional built-in functionality. The high-end model includes dual G4 processors running at 1.42GHz with 512MB of DDR RAM and 2MB of DDR L3 Cache per processor. The mid-range model has dual G4 processors running at 1.25GHz, and the entry level model has a single 1GHz G4 processor. Both of the lower-end models include 1MB of L3 cache and 256MB of DDR RAM.

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Apple Supersizes, Shrinks PowerBooks

Tuesday during his keynote speech at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced 17-inch and 12-inch models of the company's stylish PowerBook notebook.

The new PowerBooks sport an aluminum alloy casing -- instead of the titanium found in previous models -- that is scratch and stain resistant, and are bundled with QuickBooks for Mac New User Edition.

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Happy Holidays 2002

As this turbulent year winds down, we at BetaNews would like to express our deepest gratitude for all of the support we have received from our software authors, downloaders and avid readers. 2002 ushered in many changes and despite the ups and downs, BetaNews has continued to grow and evolve thanks to you.

Many great things are planned for 2003, with the new BetaNews expected to finally make an appearance in the coming months.

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Apple Ships Updated 'Jaguar' Beta to Developers

Apple on Tuesday released to members of its Apple Developer Connection program Mac OS X v10.2 build 6C106, a near-complete beta of the company's forthcoming operating system update code-named Jaguar. 6C106 is the first build available outside Apple since last week's Macworld, and includes further improvements and updates over previous releases shipped to testers and developers.

iTunes 3 makes its first appearance in the new beta, showcasing smart playlists and support for audio books. iCal and iSync are not likely to be bundled with Mac OS X v10.2 however, instead slated to debut in September.

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Jobs Unveils New OS X, iPods at Macworld

During his keynote address at Macworld New York, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced several new and updated products. Along with Mac OS X 10.2, updated iPods and new iApps, Jobs revealed changes to the company's iTools online service and the anticipated 17-inch widescreen iMac.

Jobs demonstrated numerous features in the upcoming Mac OS X 10.2, previously code-named Jaguar. New in Jaguar is Rendezvous, a technology allowing computers and other devices on the same network to automatically find each other without configuration. Network printing without configuration was demoed, along with support for sharing music and playlists between computers running iTunes.

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Apple to Debut LCD iMac Monday

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to announce a new iMac in his two-hour Macworld keynote on Monday. Details of the machine were inadvertently revealed early by Time Canada.

While specifications of the new iMac are slim, it includes a 15-inch LCD display attached to a half-sphere base via movable arm. Also included is the higher-speed G4 processor that is used in Apple's professional machines, along with a DVD burner. Prices will range from $1,299 USD for the entry-level model to $1,799 USD for the high-end model.

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Mac OS X 10.1, Word v.X Beta Released

Tuesday at the Seybold Seminars Apple Computer announced plans for the release of Mac OS X 10.1, the long awaited upgrade to the company's new operating system. This upgrade is designed to improve performance and add features missing from the original release.

As expected, the update will be available free for current Mac OS X owners starting Saturday. Apple's retail stores and other Apple dealers will offer the free upgrade until October 31. Also, the upgrade is available direct from Apple for $19.99 USD. A full boxed version will also be available Saturday for $129 USD. The Mac OS X Server 10.1 upgrade will be available as well.

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Opera Releases Beta Browser for Mac OS X

Opera Software has released the first beta of their Opera 5 for Mac OS X Carbon Web browser (Screenshot). This release brings Mac OS X users the ability to use the keychain -- used by the operating system when securing information -- for storing Web passwords, along with URL auto-complete, a feature introduced in July with the release of Opera for Mac Beta 2. An extra button set is also offered, which is meant to blend in with OS X.

"The development toward a final version for all systems for Mac users is important to us," said Opera Chief Technology Officer, Hakon W. Lie in a statement. "We are very happy to announce that we now can offer the same stability to all our Mac users."

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Mac OS X 10.1 Betas Leaked

Recent development builds of Mac OS X 10.1, code-named Puma, have begun leaking onto the Internet. Thus far, three different builds, 5D15, 5F7 and 5F24, have appeared on IRC and various locations on the Web. Rumors about a fourth beta build are surfacing, just days after the latest leak.

Many of the new features announced during Steve Jobs' Macworld keynote are available in the recent betas. The most visible change is a speed increase throughout the entire OS, including application launch time and menu responses.

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