May 6th 2002
By Mike Flaminio
Apple today showed off Mac OS 10.2, AKA Jaguar. Apple said that we can expect to see Jaguar in "late summer." That date may mean different things to different people, depending on their climate. Last year for Mac OS 10.1, late summer in Cupertino came during the trailing days of September. We also know that we can expect to see Mac OS 10.1.5 between now and, well late summer.
Highlights of Jaguar's features includes a new Quartz Extreme technology, utilizing 3D hardware acceleration to increase performance of 2D, 3D and video performance. Quartz Extreme will require a Mac with 2x AGP and 32 MB of video memory. I suspect that this new hardware support will go a great ways to offload much of Aqua's graphics from the CPU to the GPU, giving a significant boost in Finder speed. It's not clear what happens if those specs are not met.
Jaguar will also include QuickTime 6. Headlining QuickTime 6 is MPEG-4 the much-hyped new cross-platform standard for Internet video and streaming. As far I last knew, the there were still issues with authoring royalties, so it may be interesting to see what transpires between now and the release.
Apple is pushing a new networking standard that it's calling Rendezvous. Rendezvous promises to offer "automatic discovery" of IP network devices, allowing devices to seamlessly communicate. This could open the door for access to entertainment devices, perhaps such as stereos and digital recorder devices.
iChat is Apple's new instant messaging client. iChat will link Mac users to AOL Instant Messaging users and also LAN users for instant chats. iChat will use Mac users' Mac.com accounts for easier access.
Greater Windows support will be offered in the way of SMB browsing and virtual private network security. MacCentral also reports that support will be included for Exchange servers.
Other miscellaneous changes include an updated address book featuring system-wide database, spring-loaded folders and also a number of UNIX updates, including FreeBSD 4.4 updates and other software updates.
A couple other tidbits from MacCentral's attending covering notes the addition of Inkwell handwriting support and an announcement of rack-mounted servers next Monday.
Pretty exciting stuff. To me the most compelling feature is the Quarts Extreme, giving the Finder a rendering boost it certainly needs to not only meet but hopefully exceed OS 9's Finder speed.
Some speculation may be in order with the Inkwell announcement. Writing with a mouse on a mouse pad isn't particularly practical. The addition of handwriting support may hint at some new hardware.
The only disappointment is that it looks like we're going to have to wait a while to see it.