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Tuesday, August 30, 2005, 02:00 pm PT (05:00 pm ET)

Apple preps .Mac updates, hundreds of fixes planned for 10.4.3

.Mac updates imminent

It appears Apple will soon update its .Mac Internet services to include a handful of new features.

The company this month recalled all unsold retail copies of .Mac from its distribution channels, sources said. Refreshed .Mac retail boxes are expected to begin shipping to retail outlets shortly. The new version is expected to add the long-rumored Backup 3.0 application and a slew of Dashboard Widgets made exclusively for .Mac subscribers.

Sources previously reported that Backup 3.0 will introduce multiple backup plans, which are designed to simplify backups and secure critical data, such as home folders, personal data files, and iLife content. It will ship with preset backup plans for iLife content such as iPhotos, iMovies, and iTunes music.

The software will also allow users to schedule backups to any destination, and back up more than one computer to the same iDisk.

Both Backup 3.0 and the exclusive Dashboard widgets have been in development for the better part of the year. Although Apple had originally intended to release both pieces of software during the first half of the year, they were delayed to ensure better compatibility and reliability with the latest version of Mac OS X Tiger.

Over 400 minor fixes expected in 10.4.3

In the meantime, Apple continues to develop the next maintenance release to Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, which will pack an abnormal number of bug fixes.

Rumor has it the company just finished work on Mac OS X 10.4.3 build 8F20, which should make its way to developers momentarily.

This latest pre-release build is said to rectify over 400 bugs and incompatibilities in the Tiger operating system. Among them are fixes to Javascript, Dashboard, iPhoto, WebKit, Image Capture, Safari, .Mac, Printing, Sync Services, Graphics, Video, iChat, FireWire, and many others.

Special media event invite

Several readers have asked to see a copy of Apple's invitation to the Sept 7th special music event. A copy follows:

"iTunes


Apple offers 30-day Mac mini test drive

Apple today quietly launched a new money-back-guarantee "test drive" on its Mac mini, according to a report by MacNN. The program, exclusively available online, offers a "free test drive" of the Mac mini on all new purchases from the Apple Store.

"We’re so confident you’ll love your new Mac mini, we’ll let you test drive it for 30 days with no risk. If you decide you don’t want it, we’ll take it back."

The promotion ends on October 31st and allows users to purchase a new Apple keyboard/mouse or the new Mighty Mouse. All items are eligible for return (not including shipping), if the user doesn't "love it."