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Thursday, December 21, 2006, 09:00 pm PT (12:00 am ET)

Mac OS X 10.4.9 to offer Bluetooth, synching improvements

Published thursday evening as part of the friday morning edition

For the first time in over three months, Apple Computer is asking its developer community to begin testing and providing feedback on a forthcoming update to its Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger operating system.

People familiar with the matter say the Cupertino, Calif.-based company on thursday evening began distributing the first external software compile of Mac OS X 10.4.9 to members of its Apple Developer Connection.

Those people say the maintenance and security release was made available in two distinct distributions — a bare-bones "Delta" updater and a more inclusive "Combo" version.

Apple reportedly asked developers to focus their testing efforts on system components such as .Mac connectivity, Bluetooth, Bonjour, FireWire, Graphics and USB.

Other areas of testing singled out by the Mac maker included Adobe Flash, Automator, Dashboard Widgets, Fonts, iChat video conferencing and iSync.

Already, the build distributed to developers includes over a dozen fixes to problems that have turned up in previous versions of the Tiger operating system, people familiar with the software say.

Some of the bugs Tiger users can expect solutions for in the upcoming release pertained to Rosetta, USB Modem and caller ID, the Universal Access preferences pane, Bluetooth and device pairing, QC Engine, and CoreGraphics and HID Manager.

Mac OS X 10.4.9 is also said to focus heavily on enhancements to various synching technologies, bundling fixes for Mac and syncing, Sync Services Engine, Sync Services and .Mac Sync, and rsync and extended attributes.

Apple last updated Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger in late September when it released Mac OS X 10.4.8.