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Friday, December 09, 2005, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Briefly: Intel Macs may sing a different tune, Mac OS X 10.4.4

When Apple Computer introduces its first Macs with Intel processors next year, onlookers could be surprised to hear an unfamiliar sound as the systems boot up and load a native copy of Apple's Mac OS X "Tiger" operating system, sources say.

The sound heard as a Mac powers up — often referred to as a "boot chime" — has remained a constant on Apple's computer's for nearly a decade, with the last modification coming around the time the company introduced its PowerPC-based Power Macs.

Sources say prototypes of the first Intel Macs currently sport an unfamiliar boot chime, suggesting that Apple is at least toying with the idea making the change — possibly to symbolize the Mac's evolution from PowerPC to Intel processors.

Without describing the new boot chime, sources quipped that it "doesn't sound anything like the 'Intel Inside' chime heard in most of the chip maker's media advertisements."

It also remains to be seen whether Apple will implement the boot chime modification in shipping Intel Macs, or if the change is meant only to help distinguish pre-production systems.

Mac OS X 10.4.4 progress

In related Apple news, sources and reports already present on the Internet say Apple this week released to developers build 8G17 of Mac OS X 10.4.4 Update — a forthcoming maintenance release to the company's Tiger operating system.

Previous reports indicate that a later milestone of Mac OS X 10.4.4 may be the first version of Tiger to ship on Intel-based Mac systems. The release is also rumored to deliver fixes for AirPort and Bluetooth wireless access, Spotlight indexing and searching, and RAW camera support.