Feedback: Apple updates Mac operating system

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Following the launch of its Power Mac systems, which will allow its new generation of machines to run PC programs, Apple continues its efforts to chip away the PC's dominance of the market with a new version of its System 7 operating system which makes it even easier to exchange data with PCs on its standard range of machines.

System 7.5 includes many improvements on its predecessor, which many Mac users found to be less user-friendly than earlier versions.

PC Exchange and Easy Open make it even easier to open files created by PC and Windows programs like Word and Pagemaker and edit them in the Mac versions of the program.

There are also improved networking facilities integrated into the operating system. MacTCP provides a communications program for operating with Unix networks and linking to the Internet; and PowerTalk, which allows collaborative working between Macs, sharing files, sending E-mail messages and so on, is also integrated into the system.

The other major new feature is even more advanced help facilities, with Apple Guide providing interactive help to the user. This provides a step- by-step guide, using visual clues on the screen to take the user through from query to the completion of a task. The ability to 'drag and drop' sections of text or graphics from one location or application to another has also been improved.

Finally System 7.5 promises to allow easier use of graphics and printing by incorporating QuickDraw GX technologies, allowing users to print a graphics file by 'dragging' it and dropping on a printer icon, for instance . This is particularly aimed at the publishing world, Apple's main stronghold. Included in QuickDraw are advanced typographical features, including fonts for such languages as Kanji and Arabic.

System 7.5 is being previewed at Macworld Exposition in Boston (2-5 August) and will be available at the end of the summer.

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