Jobs at Seybold: OS X 10.1 by Saturday

by Derrick Story

MOSCONE CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO, CA. -- The first thing I noticed at the Seybold keynote on Tuesday morning was tighter security.

The press, and everyone else I presume, had to "coat check" our backpacks before entering the ballroom. I grabbed my Visor and digital camera and headed to the area near the front of the room where the media sits. On my way, I noticed that the camera crew ahead of me was stopped and searched even though they had been previously cleared.

In the ballroom, the mood was more somber than what I'm used to for a keynote. Even the pre-show tunes were subdued -- chamber music that I didn't recognize played against the quiet backdrop of audience conversation.

But then a delightful twist of fate. Because the Paris Expo had been canceled, Steve Jobs made a surprise appearance on stage pitching Mac OS X. The news was good, as was Jobs' brief appearance.

First, the 10.1 upgrade will be available this coming Saturday. And for one month, the upgrade disc can be picked-up for free from your local Mac dealer. (Apple had the upgrades at Seybold for show attendees.)

Second, Microsoft Office for Mac OS X will be available in November. Better yet, 10.1 users can download a trial version of Word now and begin using it. This "preview" edition has the printing function disabled, but otherwise is very functional.

Jobs then turned the stage over to Phil Schiller, VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, who drilled down into the new features of 10.1. Schiller also brought many Apple gurus on stage demoing the various features of the "new" Mac OS X, which were impressive.

Clearly, Apple is betting the farm on Mac OS X. From what I saw today, I think it's a good bet. Many aspects of the new OS have been improved, including companion apps iTunes and iDVD.

Now, if I could just get my backpack out of hock, I could go down to the Expo floor and get an up-close look at 10.1 for myself.

Any impressions of Seybold or the Apple keynote address?