Apple Computer is gearing up to release its Mac OS X operating system known as Tiger later this month, the company said.
Version 10.4.0 will be available in a desktop and server version on April 29, 2005. Pre-sales are currently available at the Apple Web site. Single licenses run for $129. A five-license package costs $199.
Tiger has more than 200 new features, most of which are designed to make the operating system more compatible with the rest of the PC world, as well as various consumer electronics devices like iPod and non-Apple hardware.
Apple said it is improving its Windows compatibility with the addition of new features, so Mac OS X users can access a Windows-based home directory and authenticate against Microsoft's Active Directory. Apple said it has also updated its kernel with improved SMP scalability, 64-bit virtual memory, Access Control Lists, and modernized network services.
On the server side, Apple's follow up to Mac OS X Panther improves its support for high-performance computing. The company is charging $499 for a 10-client edition and $999 for an unlimited-client edition.
Apple said it has improved its Xgrid application, Apple's distributed computing software, and its Weblog Server can now better integrate with Open Directory, LDAP (define) and access-control lists for authentication.
The Mac OS X Tiger Server Edition also has support for Access Control Lists and native file permissions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Active Directory environments.
The server software also supports adaptive junk-mail filtering software to detection and quarantine against viruses and unwanted junk e-mail.
Apple has also added a new Gateway Setup Assistant to make it easier for small business and home-office users to set up complex network services, including DHCP, NAT, DNS, port routing, firewall and VPN services. The company said it has also improved its Ethernet link aggregation and network interface failover to support the IEEE 802.3ad standard. The company said the additional features help improve potential I/O performance and eliminate single points of failure by allowing multiple network interfaces to appear as a single interface.
"With no client access fees and over 100 open source projects combined with Apple's legendary ease of use, Tiger Server is the clear choice for all Mac and PC workgroups and an ideal alternative to Windows and Linux servers," Philip Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement.
On the client side, Apple is capitalizing on the desktop search craze. The Macintosh-maker's Spotlight application digs into content through XML metadata to lets users pull up hard-to-find documents, e-mails and images.
Developers have had their development kits since October 2004. At its annual developers conference later this summer, Apple said it will allow developers to get closer to the new operating system than in previous versions.