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Apple preps first builds of Mac OS X 10.4.10 for testing

Exclusive: With the release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard pushed back to October, Apple has bought itself more time to tie loose ends in the current Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger operating system and will put forth those fixes via its first "dot ten" software update in quite some time, AppleInsider has learned.

According to those people familiar with the matter, the first pre-release builds of Mac OS X 10.4.10 began making the rounds in Cupertino earlier this month.

The Mac maker hopes to stabilize the software to the point where it can begin seeding copies of the software update externally to its thousands of Apple Developer Connection members as early as next week, those same people say.

At this time, specific fixes and feature enhancements are unknown. However, in speaking to editors recently, company representatives vowed to provide a fix for at least one Mac audio-related issue in a "forthcoming update."

Apple may also tap the impending Tiger update to lend software support to an upcoming series of Mac hardware updates that will include refreshed MacBook Pro notebooks and redesigned 20- and 24-inch iMac all-in-one desktop systems.

Although the company had originally intended to disperse its next-generation Leopard operating system around the same time as those hardware product launches, urgency in meeting its self-imposed June launch date for iPhone directly translated into a multi-month delay of Leopard.

Apple last updated Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger in March, when it released Mac OS X 10.4.9 with improved camera RAW support, improved DVD playback, enhanced Bluetooth support and more.