IT'S A MAC, MAC, MAC WORLD

At MacWorld, Apple Computer's twice-annual gathering, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company unveiled the finer points of Mac OS X, its next-generation operating system. Now scheduled to go on sale this summer, OS X (pronounced "OS 10") is built on a new foundation that's supposed to make the Mac system-bomb alert a thing of the past while allowing faster, more efficient multitasking. The news at MacWorld, however, wasn't its insides but its surface, with Apple CEO Steve Jobs giving a first look at its desktop interface. The new face of the Mac features translucent and animated menus, larger and sharper icons, fewer windows to steer around the screen, a more colorful Finder, and a "dock" to organize frequently accessed items.

To go with the new operating system, Microsoft announced it would ship OS X versions of its Internet Explorer browser, Outlook Express e-mail client and--most important--its Microsoft Office suite, including Word and Excel. (Later this winter, Microsoft will also release Internet Explorer 5.0, which the company says displays Web pages faster and cleaner than the current version, 4.5, while adding new multimedia, scrapbook and customization capabilities.) Other big-name developers, such as Adobe, Id Software, Macromedia and Palm Computing, chimed in with their own announcements of OS X support.

Apple also redecorated its Web site (http://www.apple.com) and added an "iTools" section. The latter, available only to users of Mac OS 9, is a set of free Internet applications: a Mac.com e-mail service; an iDisk file-storage system; a Web-page creation and hosting service; and KidSafe, a Web-screening option that limits access to a list of preapproved sites.

-- Rob Pegoraro

Top Entertainment Sites (for the week ending Jan. 1, with percentage of total Web audience)

1. Real.com: 6.59%

2. MTV.com: 3.72%

3. CNN.com: 3.61%

4. Disney.com: 3.22%

5. Shockwave.com: 3.10%

6. Broadcast.com: 2.06%

7. MP3.com: 2.05%

8. WWF.com: 1.97%

9. ColumbiaHouse.com: 1.81%

10. EOnline.com: 1.62%

Source: PC Data

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