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Monday, September 13, 2004, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

New Mac OS X Tiger builds reveal iChat Jabber support, parental controls

New developmental versions of Apple's Tiger operating system sport beefed up iChat security options and a refined system account management pane with parental controls.

As expected, Apple Computer this week began seeding a select group of developers with new builds of the company's next generation Mac OS X "Tiger" operating system, reliable sources told AppleInsider.

The new seeds, which include builds in the 8A2xx range, are the first developmental versions of Tiger to exit Apple's Cupertino campus since the company's World Wide Developers Conference in June. Revealed in the new builds are features such as Jabber support in iChat and family controls for account management.



In addition to supporting video conferencing with up to three people, the most recent builds of iChat 3.0 include support for Jabber's real-time communications software. The iChat implementation will let organizations host their own Jabber servers, allowing employees to use iChat privately and securely behind a local firewall. A new addition to the iChat setup assistant provides an interface for enabling Jabber support.



Sources also noted changes to Tiger's account management. In the latest builds of the software, Apple has consolidated its "Security" and "Limitations" account preferences into a set of "Family Controls." Using the new controls, administrative account holders can refine a user's access privileges by application. As standard, Apple lists separate configuration options for the Finder, iChat and Safari; allowing parents and educational institutes to sensor content and restrict access to minors and students.



Speaking of Safari, recent builds of the Apple-branded web browser have exposed a set of handy preferences for customizing its new RSS reader capabilities. From a series of drop-down menus, users can tell Safari 2.0 how often to check for RSS feed updates, how long to retain the saved feeds, and what color to label new article listings. Additionally, users can select a default RSS reader other than the Safari browser. Meanwhile, the browser's security preference pane includes a new option to support the aforementioned family preferences (Parental Controls).

The latest builds of Tiger included dozens of additional enhancements that are not present in the release of the system provided to developers in June. Additional reports covering these changes will follow.