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Thursday, December 09, 2004, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Mac OS X 10.3.7 build 7S214 improves graphics performance

Apple offers developers a more recent seed of Mac OS X 10.3.7, along with a training video on Dashboard widget development.

Apple Computer on Thursday seeded its developers with Mac OS X 10.3.7 build 7S214, a pre-release copy of a forthcoming upgrade to its "Panther" operating system.

Currently weighing in at 25.4 MB, the maintenance update focuses on audio, printing, graphics, OpenGL intensive games, and FireWire storage and audio devices.

The Mac OS X 10.3.7 update is also highly rumored to include support for the initial release of Xsan, Apple's storage area network file system, as well as new products to be introduced in early 2005.

In a set of developer notes accompanying the software, the company said the latest build delivers "improved graphics performance affecting ATI and NVIDIA cards."

Last week Apple seeded Mac OS X 10.3.7 build 7S210, which bundled improved compatibility for FireWire drives that have previously failed to mount.

According to sources, Mac OS X 10.3.7 is slated to debut in the next three weeks.

Along with Thursday's seeding of Mac OS X 10.3.7, Apple posted a 55MB, 28 minute instructional QuickTime movie on developing Dashboard Widgets. The company also officially kicked-off its second Dashboard Widget Contest.

"Apple is pleased to announce a second Apple Dashboard Widget Contest," says a note on the company's developer site. "Now through January 5, developers have another chance to win a 40GB iPod and receive public recognition for their work. Enter the Apple Dashboard Widget Contest today to take advantage of this terrific opportunity to begin developing Widgets for Tiger. Entries will be judged on technical excellence, innovation, and ease of use."

Dashboard will officially debut alongside Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" in early 2005. Earlier this week Apple seeded the latest known build of Tiger, build 8A323.