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Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

Apple developers asked to test Mac OS X 10.4.10 broadly

A tenth and presumably final update to Apple's Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger operating system is reported to have hit the widespread testing phase, placing within its cross-hairs nearly all of the system's most vital components.

As revealed by both AppleInsider and MacRumors last week, the forthcoming update will be the first in recent history from the Cupertino-based Mac maker to reach the "dot ten" sub version, or Mac OS X 10.4.10.

Over the weekend, MacRumors reported on the release of the first pre-release builds of the software to developers. According to the rumor site, the two distinct software seeds carry build number 8R2205 (for the Intel version) and 8R205 (for the PowerPC version).

People who claim to be familiar with the test releases have noted on various web outlets that builds presently do not contain any outstanding issues. That should come as no surprise, as Apple is no longer adding feature enhancements to Tiger through its incremental maintenance updates.

Instead, the company is striving solely to stabilize and optimize the system ahead of Leopard, its next generation OS due out this October. As part of the effort, Mac OS X 10.4.10 in its early stages is said to target loose ends in over four dozen of Tiger's system components.

Those claiming to be familiar with Mac OS X 10.4.10 have singled out disc recording and mass storage operability as some of the focal points of the software. Meanwhile, others add that the Tiger update will also strengthen AirPort wireless software, graphics drivers, USB and FireWire.

Among the improvements reported to have been rolled into the initial builds are bug fixes for network directories and JavaScript.

The update is expected to arrive free-of-charge for owners of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger sometime later this year.