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Wednesday, July 01, 2009, 03:20 pm PT (06:20 pm ET)

Apple covering all the bases with Mac OS X 10.5.8 betas

With each successive beta release of Mac OS X 10.5.8, it's becoming increasingly apparent that Apple is determined to give nearly every facet of its Leopard operating system a diligent once-over before turning its focus to Snow Leopard.

For example, a new seed of the Leopard update — reportedly release as build 9L22 on Wednesday — follows closely on the heels of build 9L20 this past Friday, yet sports an entirely distinct set of test areas that emphasize in/out technologies and other low-level frameworks.

By comparison, Friday's build leaned towards evaluation of imaging-relating technologies, while the builds before it arrived with similarly distinct focus areas, according to people familiar with the situation.

AppleInsider believes the disparities from build-to-build may provide yet another clue to suggest that Mac OS X 10.5.8 may be the final update to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, and that the Mac maker is giving the operating system a final pass-through before shifting its energies toward the further advancement of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, due for release in September.

Other people familiar with build 9L22 say the beta includes just one known issue related to saving emails to hard drives. It also bundles only four new fixes, bringing the total number of code corrections expected as part of Mac OS X 10.5.8 to just shy of four dozen.

Some of the latest fixes correct USB audio distortion, power management with FireWire, and an issue with Bluetooth printers.