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Steve Jobs, Apple chief executive officer, opened the company's developer conference giving users a sneak preview of the next OS X release, code-named "Jaguar", and the new software that will ship with the OS.
Jaguar should be the operating system developers focus on from now on as Apple has stopped development of OS 9 internally, Jobs said.
Jaguar was built on top of one of the latest versions of the FreeBSD Unix operating system and will give rise to a host of new software tools.
To complement Jaguar, Jobs also unveiled new e-mail software, an instant messaging application, technology for identifying different computing devices on a network and a handwriting recognition application, called "Inkwell".
The Inkwell software prompts a virtual notepad to appear on the screen and turns text entered with a pen into a font recognised by the computer. The Inkwell technology works across applications, allowing a user, for example, to change the text in a headline of an Adobe PhotoShop document or to write several paragraphs in Microsoft's Word application.
He also said the company will announce a rack-mount server next week, but declined to give any technical specifications.