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Apple broadens Leopard distribution, iTunes update soon

Apple Computer this week made pre-release versions of its next-generation operating system available to a broader developer audience. Meanwhile, the company is aware of ongoing issues with its latest iTunes release and is working on a solution. And, yes: Apple's AirPort Extreme is becoming increasingly hard to find.

Leopard offered to ADC members

According to several developers, Apple on Monday evening extended copies of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Preview to its Apple Developer Connection —the largest of its registered developer demographic.

The 4.3GB download is reported to be the same build distributed to developers who attended the company's World Wide Developers Conference in early August.

The Universal installer includes support for PowerPC-based (G4 and G5) and Intel Macs. PowerPC G3 support is reportedly omitted from the distribution.

iTunes update in the works

The consensus amongst some early iTunes 7.0 adopters is that the software release —dubbed by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs as the most significant update to iTunes yet —is not the company's best work.

Users around the Web and on Apple's support forums are reporting an assortment of quality issues since updating to the new version —released last week —such as frequent crashes, poor audio quality and interface graphics anomalies. New gapless playback technology is being blamed for the majority of the bugs.

People with ties to Apple say the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is well aware of the matter and that it's toiling feverishly to rectify the issues. It hopes to release an update to both the Mac and PC versions of the jukebox software —presumably iTunes 7.0.1 —as soon as possible, those people say.

Meanwhile, PC users of iTunes 7 are not too thrilled by Apple's decision to make the iTunes installer force application aliases onto the Windows XP Start Menu and Desktop, calling it a "Microsoft move."

"Being pedantically tidy, I have my own 'Utilities' folder in my Start Menu, which I launch apps such as iTunes from," one user told AppleInsider. "Now, when I delete the automatically created iTunes folder from the Start Menu (where I don’t want extraneous [stuff]) the iTunes installer runs next time I launch the programme, and not only replaces that, but also put an iTunes application launcher on my squeaky clean desktop!"

(Lack of) AirPort inventory suspicious

As mentioned in our "One more thing" report, Apple resellers are having an incredibly difficult time locating AirPort Express wireless base stations for their customers. The company's primary distributer in the United States has been slack of inventory for weeks and now the Apple online store is also listing no availability of the Extreme base station until mid-November.

Admittedly, we're not quite sure what's going on here. Though anything is possible, it's incredibly unlikely that Apple would update its wirless devices to the still unratified 802.11n wireless standard. According to the IEEE 802.11 Working Group Project Timelines, 802.11n is not due for final approval until July 2007.