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Monday, October 04, 2004, 02:00 pm PT (05:00 pm ET)

Latest Apple interface spotted in new Tiger builds

Brushed aluminum swept aside as Apple's Mail 2.0 will reportedly sport an updated theme.

For the past several years Apple Computer has adorned its Mac OS X applications with a mixture of its Aqua and brushed aluminum interface themes. But with the release of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" due in a matter of months, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is primed to add a third interface theme to the mix.

An apparent blending of two themes, the new look lifts interface elements from both of the company's existing themes and embeds them inside a sleek platinum gradient. According to sources, the first application to adhere to the new look will be the company's email client, Mail version 2.0.

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Removed from the days of old is the retractable Mailbox drawer. Instead, the reworked email client sports a single window interface with mailboxes and folders that are docked on the left. The titlebar now flows into the toolbar and message counts are encapsulated inside circular interface elements. Overall, the theme presents a soothing, yet futurist feel.

Interface changes aside, Mail 2.0 will sport several additional enhancements such as smart mailboxes, an e-mail certificate viewer, and iCal integration. The application will also interface with an upcoming set of parental controls, which will allow Mac OS X 10.4 administrative account holders to censor information provided to sub-users on an application specific basis.

Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" is currently undergoing extensive development inside Apple with recent builds falling in the 8A27x range. An official release of the operating system is tentatively scheduled for early next year.