Despite missing the cut as Apple's preferred ISP, America Online is previewing the beta version of its AOL 5.0 for Macintosh software at the Macworld conference, which opened today in San Francisco.

Beta testing for the software started late last month. AOL 5.0 for Macintosh is expected to be available later this year.

The software features a new welcome screen that provides ready access to the AOL Channel Guide, email, top news headlines, sports and weather. Other new features include:

- A "You've Got Pictures" icon that appears when a subscriber has been sent a photograph via email. An audio message will tell subscribers that they have received photos when they log on.

- An interactive calendar.

- "My Places," which allows members to personalize the welcome screen to include a list of sites they most often visit.

- A new search engine that lets users search the Internet and AOL proprietary content without leaving the AOL service.

- Email features, including the ability to retrieve deleted email for up to 24 hours, a "locate" function enabling users to locate and open downloaded e-mail files, and a signature file so that users can "sign" email.