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Thursday, December 09, 2004, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Inside Mac OS X Tiger build 8A323

Earlier this week, Apple Computer provided its developers with Mac OS X Tiger build 8A323, the third widely distributed pre-release version of its next-generation operating system.

In a five-page seed note accompanying the build, Apple lists over two dozen known issues with the system, in addition to some fixes and improvements over previous builds.

Some fixes delivered in the latest build cover iSight recognition by iChat, font activation, archive installs, SMB filesharing, Finder item locking, Classic, Workgroup Manager, and Login Window.

To compliment the notes, developer sources have provided a pictorial of other known, but undocumented changes to the Tiger OS since build 8A294 was seeded last month:

  • Spotlight now deactivates itself while indexing is in progress. The Spotlight menu displays a notice to the user, along with a time estimate and progress bar.

  • A tutorial on Automator, Apple's new automated workflow assistant, confirms reports of an upcoming Automator website from Apple. The document also notes that Automator scripts can be activated through iCal alarms.

  • QuickTime 6.6 now automatically determines a user's connection speed. With the new version, Apple has also returned fine-tune audio and video settings to the free version of QuickTime player. These controls were previously reserved for paid "Pro" license holders. Meanwhile, Pro users now have access to record audio and video through the QuickTime player.

  • The fast user switch menu is now operational, sporting shortcuts to the Mac OS X Login Window and Account Preferences.

  • TextEdit now supports tables and organized lists in addition to page breaks, line breaks, improved text selection, and a beefier 'Find' function.

  • Apple has added a 'Fax and Print' menu that lets the user toggle fax receiving on or off.

  • The Mac OS X 'Grab' functions are now accessible from within the Preview application.

  • The upcoming Apple Hot News screen saver has seen modifications in recent builds. This saver now sports a liquid blue motif.

  • Address Book has gained support for importing contact information from tab-delimited and comma separated values (CSV) files. The update application will also be capable of printing envelopes and 'mini' pocket-sized versions of a user's address book.
  • An updated Universal Access preference pane contains controls to increase the size of the mouse cursor.

  • The Mac OS X Calculator application sports dozens of currency rate updates.

According to sources close to Apple, the operating system is now in the late stages of development. Its expected that within the next 30 days Apple will announce favorable update on Tiger's expected release.

The company continues this month to distribute Tiger solely on DVD, further suggesting the shipping product may also require a DVD drive for installation.