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The first external pre-release beta of the software, labeled Mac OS X 10.6.1 build 10B503, began making its way to Apple's broad Apple Developer Connection community Thursday evening in the form of a 74.1MB delta image.
Although the update does not provide any new features or sweeping changes, it does address some problem areas with fixes that will likely be welcomed by users. Among the core focus areas for the first round of tests are Bluetooth, the Dock, Mail, printing services, Software Update, and System Preferences.
Once released, Mac OS X 10.6.1 should allow users to delete manually-entered DNS values for DHCP configurations via the system's Network Diagnostics, people familiar with the software say. Meanwhile, a couple of SMTP-related tweaks to Mail.app will tackle issues with blank server responses and upgrades on email accounts that require authentication.
Also planned are a number of printer-related enhancements. For example, local Bluetooth printers should properly connect to Snow Leopard-based Macs on startup. Additionally, printer drivers for both Bonjour and USB printers will be delivered over Software Update, while generic drivers should become visible from printer driver list.
Following this week's news that the retail version of Mac OS X 10.6 bundled an older, less secure version of Adobe Flash, those familiar with with the first builds of 10.6.1 say the update will bump the plug-in to version 10.0.32.18.
Other focal areas of Mac OS X 10.6.1 include graphics drivers, wireless WAN cards and the DVD player. In all, 11 specific issues with Mac OS X 10.6 have been addressed thus far by 10.6.1. Only one know issue, related to log entries, was reportedly noted in documentation accompanying the beta software.