September 16, 2002 7:21 PM PDT

Apple readies first Jaguar update

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Apple Computer this week plans to release the first update to recently released Mac OS X 10.2, also known as Jaguar, sources said.

The Mac OS X 10.2.1 update, which includes bug fixes and enhancements, would come less than a month after Apple launched the desktop and server versions of Jaguar.

Briefly on Monday, Apple posted technical support information about the update and the changes made to both versions of Mac OS X 10.2. But the company soon pulled the documents from its Web site.

The document for the desktop version of Jaguar identified 31 bug fixes or enhancements. One change improves compatibility with CDs burned on Windows machines, while another adds support for seven more third-party CD-Rewritable drives.

Other enhancements are supposed to improve iMovie compatibility with Apple's Final Cut Pro and third-party hardware and software. Two e-mail bug fixes are addressed: One saves e-mail that could be permanently lost should the connection fail during transfer; the other resolves issues related to importing e-mail to Apple Mail from Eudora.

Glitches also fixed, according to the document, are problems waking up an iBook attached to an external monitor, slow-loading graphics on some Web pages and fatal crashes involving the Mac OS X kernel--also known as "kernel panics."

Apple would not comment on the retracted support pages or imminent release of the 10.2.1 update. But sources familiar with the company's product strategy said the update would be available this week.

Mac OS X 10.2 users could either download a standalone installer from Apple's Web site or by using the operating system's built-in Software Update feature.

Apple isn't alone with new updates on tap. Microsoft last week released the first major update to Windows XP, Service Pack 1. The collection of bug fixes also added a new middleware control as required by Microsoft's pending antitrust settlement with the Justice Department and nine states.

Apple launched Jaguar with great fanfare late evening on Aug. 23, with many Apple retail stores reporting opening-day crowds. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company reported first weekend sales of 100,000 copies.

Last week, Apple put remaining Mac OS 9 developers--among them Quark--on notice by announcing that new Macs would boot up only into Mac OS X starting in January.

"Apple really needs to get these stragglers on board if they hope drive more sales of the OS and higher-end professional systems," said IDC analyst Roger Kay.

Kay noted that all computer manufacturers are besieged by weak sales, with worldwide PC shipments expected to grow a paltry 1.1 percent this year.

About 3 million Mac users have switched to OS X, according to Apple. But the company anticipates that the number will increase to 5 million, or about 20 percent of all Apple users, by the end of the year. Market researcher Gartner estimates there are nearly 20 million Mac users worldwide.

Apple is expected to release a beta, or testing, version of its final announced "i" application, iSync, later this month. The company earlier had indicated the final version would be available in September. Apple uses the "i" applications to build interest in Mac OS X for connecting to and using digital devices, such as cameras, music players and camcorders. Other "i" applications include iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes and iCal, which Apple released last week.

The company also is expected to raise the noise level on its switchers campaign, which seeks to woo Windows users to Mac. Apple started six new commercials, featuring real people that had switched to the Mac, last week.

In a countermove, Poway, Calif.-based Gateway is running an ad promoting its Profile 4 PC and mocking Apple's iMac. Both computers incorporate either 15-inch or 17-inch flat-panel monitors into the design.

Apple also hopes to gain a sales boost from a distribution deal with retailer Best Buy for the iPod digital music player. In late August, Apple started selling a Windows version of iPod. Needham analyst Charles Wolf estimated that with the availability of a Windows product and the added boost from the Best Buy deal, Apple could sell as many as half million iPods during the fourth quarter.

 

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