Apple shows off G5 and Panther

Apple yesterday demonstrated its G5 personal computer, along with desktop and server versions of Panther at the Macworld Creative...

Apple yesterday demonstrated its G5 personal computer, along with desktop and server versions of Panther - the fourth major release of Mac OS 10 - at the Macworld Creative Pro show in New York. 

"This is the fastest personal computer today," said Greg Joswiak, vice president of hardware product marketing at Apple. "We'll be at 2GHz in August, and shipping 3GHz within 12 months."

Joswiak described the G5's specs as follows: 2GHz processor, 1GHz bus, 400MHz DDR 128-bit memory, 1.5Gbps Serial ATA, high-performance I/O, and optical digital audio input and output, priced at $2,999 for the high-end system. He claimed that price is almost $1,000 less than a computer from Dell with similar attributes.

Apple also improved the cooling system with a total of nine fans, which makes the G5 twice as quiet as the G4.

Joswiak also demonstrated forthcoming versions of the Panther desktop and server versions. He said there are more than 100 new features in Panther, but he concentrated on the areas most relevant to creative professionals, including a font book which, Apple claims, is the first font management tool built into an operating system; enhanced PDF functionality; and printing improvements.

Apple bolstered the use of PDFs to give users more control, including colour space conversion, compression, and a new PDF reader called Preview. Joswiak showed a demo in which Preview was three times faster than Adobe's Acrobat Reader running on Windows.

Among the improved printing capabilities with Panther is SMB printing, which enables printing from any shared Windows printer on a network. The company also added drag-and-drop printing, PDF workflow plug-ins, and virtual PostScript printing.

AppleScript was also enhanced as well, with a new script editor that includes built-in shortcuts with commonly used scripts. The image events capability enables users to scale, rotate, flip, and crop images.

Joswiak also spoke of improvements to Expose, which now features easier navigation. Users can sift through multiple images, either via open windows or applications.

The last feature he showed off was Pixlet, a studio-grade codec based on Wavelet and inspired by Pixar, hence the name.

On the server side, Panther includes Kerberos support for single sign-on and Samba 3 native support for Windows users. Both versions will be available by the end of the year; the desktop will cost $129 and the server will carry a $999 ticket for an unlimited number of users.

Apple has also broken out Soundtrack as a standalone product. The software enables users to add music to their video, DVD, or web projects, Joswiak said.

Tom Sullivan writes for InfoWorld

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