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Mac OS X 10.3 Coming Oct. 24

Panther adds more than 150 new features By Dave Nagel
Apple today announced that it will release Mac OS X 10.3 Oct. 24. The new version of the Mac operating system, code-named Panther, adds more than 150 new features, including improved performance and workflow enhancements.

New features in Panther include a brand new Finder with a new look, faster searching and support for labels. It also includes a new feature called Expose, which offers enhanced window management, with the ability to show all windows for a given application with the click of a button and the ability to hide all windows with the click of button in order to reveal the entire desktop.

Other new features include:

  • Faster user switching;
  • File Vault, a feature that encrypts and decrypts files going into and out of the home directory;
  • Faster PDF rendering in Preview with conversion from PostScript to PDF on the fly;
  • Built-in fax capabilities;
  • Improved Mail application with enhanced viewing and organization;
  • Font Book font management;
  • The full release of iChat AV, an audio and video chat program for use with FireWire-based cameras, which has been available in beta form since June;
  • Various enhancements to UNIX-based technologies, including X11 for Mac OS X, performance improvements to NFS, a ports manager for accessing open source projects, expanded Kerberos support, an integrated IPv6 networking stack and the ability to access Quartz graphics from Python programs.

Apple has also announced the Panther version of Mac OS X Server, which will also ship Oct. 24. It includes a new Server Admin tool, Open Directory 2 for hosting scalable LDAP and Kerberos services, Samba 3 and the JBoss application server for running J2EE applications.

In separate news, Apple has also updated iCal and iSync. iCal, a calendar application, gets bumped to 1.5.1, with a new, simplified Info Drawer, time zone support and the ability to run AppleScripts triggered by iCal events. iSync is synchronization software. The new 1.2.1 release adds full calendar synchronization support for Symbian-based phones. Both updates are available as free downloads from Apple's site.

Panther requires 128 MB RAM and supports USB Mac models including the iMac; iBook; Power Mac G3, G4, G4 Cube and G5; and the PowerBook G3 and G4. Mac OS X 10.3 will be available Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. for $129 for a single-user license, $199 for a five-user license. Preorders are available now. Mac OS X Server 10.3 sells for $499 for the 10-client edition and $999 for unlimited clients. For more information, visit

Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Mac OS, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at

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