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Panther 7B85 and Prior Builds Appear as Final Candidates

Apple has not seeded its Apple Developer Connection members with a seed of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther in almost two weeks. Internally, progress on the next-generation Macintosh operating system has pressed on, with new builds being distributed for testing on a daily basis.

One of the latest builds, 7B85, contains only two noticeable tweaks since build 7B80, sources said. The system installer contains some text placement adjustments, and the large "X" setup assistant splash screen no longer reads "Mac OS X Panther Getting Started." Instead, the solitary aluminum "X", overlaying a black canvas, devours the screen for several seconds as a musical theme begins to play.

Like build 7B80, seed 7B85 bears no "Pre-Release" identifier on system dialogs. Additionally, the system's Boot ROM files appear to be the only components still exhibiting pre-release status; with most displaying final candidate version numbers. For example, the 500MHz iBook Boot ROM readers '4.2.0f4.'

Internal sources believe these latest batch of Panther seeds are —for all intents and purposes —Final Candidate builds. Recent seedings to AppleSeed developers reflect no changes to the Panther seeding documentation, while internal builds are only listing a couple of minor issues. Sources anticipate that the next Apple Developer Connection seed will be labeled as a final candidate.

With this said, it's likely that Panther will remain on target for a late October release in the United States. AppleInsider sources recently provided a target date of Saturday, October 25th. Meanwhile, Apple Europe sources say they've were originally told to expect the release between the 1st and 15th of November.