Apple has now begun pre-installing its next-generation operating system Mac OS X alongside Mac OS 9.1 on all new Macs - two months ahead of schedule. Apple had previously promised OS X as the new “default’ system from all new Macs “this summer”.

“The reception of Mac OS X has been so positive that we’ve decided to pre-install it alongside Mac OS 9 on all Macs beginning today,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “This will give all our customers access to the world’s most advanced operating system and ensure a ready and lucrative market for Mac OS X applications.”

“In addition to Mac OS 9 shipping on every system, we’re going to ship X,” Jobs said. “We’re going to leave the default on 9, but it’s so easy to flip, we think many will.

“This is a total commitment on Apple’s part, and we ask the same of you,” Jobs prompted the watching developers. “The train has left the station.”

Best of both Mac worlds Beginning today, all new Macs coming from Apple’s factories will include both OS X and OS 9.1 pre-installed. The systems are set to default boot into Mac OS 9.1, but using Apple’s Dual Boot technology users can easily change the default boot to OS X, and just as easily revert back to Mac OS 9.1 if they choose, according to Apple.

During the transition, customers buying new Macs that do not yet have OS X pre-installed will receive a free copy of Mac OS X, the company announced during its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California.

X updates Mac OS X began shipping on March 24, 2001, and has been updated three times already using Apple’s Internet-based Software Update technology. Mac OS X v10.0.3 now includes the ability to burn custom audio CD’s with iTunes, Apple’s digital-music “jukebox” application.

The Unix-based Mac OS X – with glossy new Aqua interface - features many improvements in stability and performance, including true memory protection, pre-emptive multi-tasking and symmetric multiprocessing when running on a dual processor Power Mac G4. A new Quartz 2D graphics engine based on the Portable Document Format (PDF) for improved graphics and broad font support; OpenGL for spectacular 3D graphics and gaming; and QuickTime 5 for streaming audio and video.

Mac OS X will be available on all iMac, iBook, Power Mac G4, Power Mac G4 Cube and PowerBook G4 configurations purchased on May 21, 2001 or later from the online Apple Store, at Apple’s retail stores and through Apple Authorized Resellers.

Mac OS X is also available as a software upgrade product for a suggested retail price of £84.26 (ex. VAT) for Macs purchased before May 21, 2001.

X languages Apple has also introduced Mac OS X in eight additional languages: Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Brazilian-Portuguese, Korean, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. This release of Mac OS X also supports English, Japanese, German and French.