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Software for Mac OS X at the core of Macworld

With Apple Computer putting the finishing touches on Mac OS X, the focus is squarely on software at this year's Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

    With Apple Computer putting the finishing touches on Mac OS X, the focus is squarely on software at this year's Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

    Hardware dominated previous shows, with IEEE 1394, or FireWire, peripherals taking center stage during the summer's show in New York and universal serial bus (USB) devices emphasized at last January's San Francisco event.

    For Apple, showing that its development partners back Mac OS X--the much touted but long-delayed successor to the current Mac operating system--is essential to bolstering more developer interest in the product, analysts say.

    "It's important that Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrates that developers are rallying to Mac OS X," said Technology Business Research analyst Tim Deal. "Developers have not been quick to embrace the new operating system, and it is important for Apple to show the richness of applications will be there."

    Jobs said Tuesday that Mac OS X would go on sale March 24 for around $129 and ship standard on new Macs starting in July.

    Following is a list of the Mac OS X software and hardware announcements:

    • Mac ulitity maker Power On Software introduced Now-Up-to-Date & Contact 4 for Mac OS X. The $100 contact and time manager is the first shipping product of its kind for Apple's new operating system.

    When Power On acquired Now-Up-to-Date from Qualcomm, the utility maker initially focused on fixing problems with the current version. "We (then) turned our attention towards creating a new version that supports Apple's next-generation operating system, Mac OS X, and offers an array of features that no other product in this category can touch," Roberts Leeds, Power On's vice president of development, said in a statement.

    • Database maker FileMaker is backing Apple's new operating system in a big way, previewing a Mac OS X version of the software.

    • Corel on Tuesday introduced Mac OS X beta versions of its KnockOut 1.5.1 masking software and Bryce 4.1 3D graphics application.

    "We're showing our commitment to the Macintosh creative platform by offering users a chance to try the products before release with the beta versions of Mac OS X," Ian LeGrow, Corel's executive vice president of creative products, said in a statement. "We're confident that our users will appreciate having our award-winning applications to work with on Mac OS X."

    Besides the betas, Corel also unveiled Painter 6.1 for Mac OS 8x and 9x. A free update is available for Painter 6 from Corel's Web site.

    • AliasWavefront on Tuesday said the Mac OS X version of Maya--its 3D animation and effects software--will ship in the second quarter. The company promised that a Mac version of Maya 3 will begin beta testing within 30 days.

    • While Intuit has backed away from offering Mac accounting software, rival MYOB is showing off a Mac OS X version of AccountEdge. MYOB plans to offer a free software update to current customers after Mac OS X's release as well as special pricing on the new version available at the show only.

    • Qbeo debuted PhotoGenetics 2 and VideoGenetics digital image enhancement software for Mac OS X.

    • Roxio on Tuesday unveiled Toast Titanium, a new version of its CD authoring software, which adds support for DVD recording. The Mac OS X-compatible program also sports a new look stylized to match Mac OS X's Aqua user interface.

    • Mac storage maker ATTO Technology emphasized the importance of Mac OS X in launching new software and host bus adapters on Tuesday. The new adapters are shipping with full Mac OS X driver support.

    "ATTO's support of Mac OS X further demonstrates our commitment to designing and manufacturing data storage connectivity solutions for the Macintosh community," Don Brauch, the company's director of marketing, said in a statement.

    Related software announcements:

    • Electric Image on Tuesday unveiled a new vector-based 3D graphics program, Amorphium Pro. The $379 software application also produces QuickTime animations and supports Adobe Photoshop file formats.


    New products at Macworld Expo
    Companies are taking advantage of the trade show to introduce new Mac-compatible products. 
    • Mac ulitity maker Power On Software introduces Now-Up-to-Date & Contact 4 for Mac OS X. The $100 contact and time manager is the first shipping product of its kind for Apple's new operating system. 
    • Database maker FileMaker is previewing a Mac OS X version of the software. 
    • Corel introduces Mac OS X beta versions of its KnockOut 1.5.1 masking software and Byrce 4.1 3-D graphics application. 
    • Corel unveils Painter 6.1 for Mac OS 8x and 9x. 
    • AliasWavefront says the Mac OS X version of Maya--its 3D animation and effects software--will ship in the second quarter. 
    • MYOB is showing off a Mac OS X version of its accounting software AccountEdge. 
    • Stomp on Tuesday introduced a Mac version of Click'N Burn, its $80 package for recording CDs.

    • Adobe on Monday announced it has started shipping Premiere 6, the newest version of its video-editing software. Adobe announced the product, which sells for $549, in December.

    • Zapwerk is demonstrating Siteyard, its Web site authoring tool that supports XML. The program acts as a staging server, allowing Web authors to update an active site from multiple locations. Zapwerk unveiled Siteyard last week.

    Additional hardware announcements:

    • ATI on Tuesday introduced the Xclaim USB TV tuner for the Mac. The $99 peripheral lets Mac enthusiasts watch TV and capture video and still images.

    • SmartDisk on Tuesday launched its smallest CD rewritable drive, measuring a scant 5.6 inches by 7 inches by 1 inch. The $430 VST FireWire CD-RW drive supports both Macs and Windows.

    • LaCie on Monday unveiled the PocketDrive, a 6-by-6-inch CD rewritable drive. The $399 PocketDrive, which also can be used with PCs, has a 4X write, 4X rewrite and 24X read speed and sports USB and IEEE 1394 connectors.

    • But LaCie had more. On Tuesday, the French Mac maker introduced its first LCD display, the 18blue. The 18-inch flat-panel monitor delivers resolution of up to 1280-by-1024 and a 160-degree viewing angle. The $2,299 monitor comes with standard VGA and digital video interface (DVI) cables, but requires an adapter to connect to newer Macs using Apple's custom digital video port.

    • NEC-Mitsubishi on Tuesday introduced three new flat-faced CRT monitors at Macworld, available in 19-inch and 22-inch sizes. Features include analog and DVI connectors. The 19-inch MultiSync FP955 sells for $529, and the other two models, the FP1355 and FP 1375X, sell for $999 and $1,999, respectively.

    • Iomega is showcasing the Peerless drive system, which it announced last week. The external storage system, available in 5GB, 10GB and 20GB capacities, transfers data from a PC at up to 15 megabytes per second. An interface model for holding the storage is expected to sell for $249 with the 5GB, 10GB and 20GB disks going, respectively, for $129, $159 and $199. USB and FireWire models will initially be available, with USB 2.0 and SCSI versions coming later.