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Apple to pinpoint new testing criteria alongside new Leopard build

With a self-imposed October release deadline quickly approaching, Apple Inc. this weekend will provide its developer community with yet another pre-release build of its next-generation Leopard operating system, AppleInsider has learned.

Along with the new build — expected to be labeled Mac OS X Leopard build 9A527 — the Cupertino-based company will ask that developers extensively test and report back on approximately fifteen of the software's key component areas, people familiar with the matter have said.

Among these target testing areas are Parental Controls, Time Machine, DVD Installations, Network Connectivity, Printing, FileVault, Mail, iChat, iCal, .Mac Synching, and Spotlight. For each of these areas, and others, Apple will reportedly provide specific testing criteria for developers to follow.

For example, Apple will reportedly recommend that developers set custom Time Machine preferences and then back up their system to either an internal partition or external drive. They'll then be asked to test that those backups as if in a real-world scenario — opening specific applications, such as AddressBook, and attempting to recover specific contacts.

Those people familiar with the matter say Apple will also request extensive testing of Time Machine's encrypted backup functionality, Mail's 'notes' and 'To Do' items, and iChat's file transfer function.

For its part, Apple also has several known issues with Leopard left to tackle before it can begin seeding final candidate builds. Among these are issues with sluggish font validation, problems AddressBook synching, and installation issues with systems that utilize a SCSI PCI host adapter card.

Apple, which recently provided developers with Leopard build 9A500n, has said that it hopes to ship a final version of the software in October.