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Apple Preps iCal 1.5, iSync 1.2, Preview App 2.1 Updates

Apple Computer has quietly been prepping updates to a number its iApps and other Mac OS X based utilities, AppleInsider has learned. Sources recently provided information on significant updates to the company's iCal, iSync and Preview applications expected to make their initial debut with the release of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther later this Fall.

iCal 1.5
iCal 1.5 will sport a much sleeker and simplified interface, sources said. The floating inspector window has been replaced with a slide-out drawer feature present in a number of other Apple applications such as Mail and Preview viewer. The iCal drawer inspector —now simply titled 'Info' —consolidates all of the old iCal inspector tabs into one tab-key-navigational panel for both 'events' and 'to-do' items.

iCal 1.5

Apple's iCal 1.5 Application

The new version also boasts built-in Time Zone support via a pop-up menu in the upper right-hand corner of the Calendar window. Frequent business travelers need only to select their active time zone for the iCal application to instantly reflect altered calendar event times for the specified location. Similarly, if a user has their system time preference set to use a Network Time Server, iCal will automatically detect the change and prompt the user to approve the calendar time zone update. The application is now based on a 24 hour daily calendar, including a preference to display event times in the monthly view, sources said.

To compliment it's streamlined interface, the iCal team has instated several quick-key-commands to improve process workflow. Command-Shift-T displays a 'Go To Date' dialogue where user's can specify a specific calendar date to jump to, and commands 1 through 3 will quickly switch the a user between Day, Week and Monthly views,
respectively. Meanwhile, Command-Right-Arrow and Command-Left-Arrow provide easy navigation throughout all 3 Calendar views. A key command to show and hide iCal's 'To-Do' list has also been added.

Lastly, iCal 1.5 adds a support for URLs, duplicating events and to-do items, and automated file-launching as a notification option for event alarms.

iSync 1.2

Apple's iSync 1.2 About Box

iSync 1.2
Another significant Apple iApplication update currently undergoing development is iSync 1.2. Unlike iCal 1.5, iSync 1.2 sports little to no interface or feature enhancements, sources said. Instead, the development team has been busy adding support for a new array of Bluetooth enabled cell-phones and synchronization support for upcoming .Mac and iPod application features. The personal synchronization software will also include many tweaks and performance enhancements, sources said.

Preview 2.1
At one point in time Apple claimed to have to the 'fastest PDF viewer on the planet,' though many begged to differ. With the emergence of Apple Preview app 2.1 the results will be undisputed. According to sources, the forthcoming version has caught up to, and possibly surpasses, Adobe's popular Acrobat Reader in terms of performance and features.

For starters, Apple has finally implemented a full array of search functionality into the PDF viewer component. Options for Find, Find Next, Find Previous, Use Selection for Find, and Jump to selection are all accessible to users via command keys. Additionally, a search field is now built into the application's side-drawer. Under version 2.1 the drawer also incorporates toggling between graphical thumbnails and threaded text based content listings.

Preview 2.1

Apple's Preview 2.1 Application

Perhaps the most significant additions to Preview 2.1 are its tool-set for working with PDF and image files. A PDF 'Text Tool' will permit the selection of text portions for use with the clipboard and Find features, while the new 'Select Tool' allows users to select portions of image or PDF files for further manipulation. Apple has even gone as far as adding 'Crop' functionality for images, possibly evolving the application into one of the fastest image-editors available.

These aforementioned features reside as new additions to the application's tool-bar and 'Tools' application menu. All of Preview's new tools are accessible via command keys, sources said. Meanwhile, an added 'Go' menu provides command keys for 'Next' and 'Previous' PDF pages as well as 'Back' and 'Forward' commands for 'snap back' functionality.

Due to its expanded feature set, Previews preference panel includes three separate panes for General, Images, and PDF settings. User's can turn default scaling on and off for both images and PDF files. Additionally, PDFs can be set to open at a specified scale ratio. Further preference options include Anti-alias text and line art in PDF files and general window background color settings effective throughout all components of the application.

An updated toolbar with a hide-and-show command key, 'First' and 'Last' page PDF options, and a Full Screen presentation mode are among other features scheduled for Preview 2.1.

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