A group of Apple product managers met in London yesterday to discuss Apple's WWDC announcements: the Power Mac G5, Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, and iChat AV. These included: Tom Boger, Director of Power Mac Worldwide Product Marketing; Chris Bourdon, Senior Product Line Manager, Worldwide Product Marketing; Souad Laoussadi, Desktop Marketing Manager, EMEA; and Stephen Kelly, Pro Software Marketing Manager, EMEA.
Panther power Bourdon ran through several of Panther's new features, paying particular attention to the new user interface enhancements, security features, PDF capabilities, and its Pixlet video codec.
He defended the addition of a brushed-metal interface to the Finder by saying that Apple believes it "just looks so much better" and pointed out that many third-party developers have started adding it to their OS X applications as well.
Bourdon believes that Panther's FireVault feature, which secures the contents of a home directory with 128-bit AES encryption, is "virtually unbreakable". He also praised the update's FontBook feature as "the complete system-level font management system" for OS X, with its double-click font preview, one-click installation and an intuitive iTunes-like interface for managing font collections – searching, activating and deactivating appeared effortless.
OS X's Preview has also been significantly improved with "super-fast" text searching that builds an index of search results in a PDF, text selection and more sophisticated copying, as well as support for the PDF 1.4 format. Preview leverages powerful improvements to Quartz filtering technologies such as colourspace conversion, image sampling and compression for advanced workflows.
Mac OS X 10.3 Panther will be available by the end of this year, and will cost £99 (including VAT). Bourdon could not comment on possible upgrade scenarios.