Rhapsody in blue (or yellow)

The new Mac operating system will give software developers a colourful choice.

Apple Computer has had some rough times recently, but there's just a chance that there may be light at the end of the tunnel. At its recent worldwide developers conference, Apple gave the first public demonstrations of Rhapsody, the new operating system that it hopes to release next year.

Rhapsody is crucial to Apple's future. The company spent several years developing a new operating system called Copland, which was intended to replace the Mac OS, the operating system used in its current Macintosh computers. But Copland fell apart last year and since then Apple has suffered huge losses, falling sales and two major management restructures.

The first public viewing of Rhapsody was therefore an important occasion, giving software developers the opportunity to decide whether or not they are going to write new software for it. And the verdict, for the most part, was favourable. Rhapsody is still far from complete, but the software developers attending the conference seem to think that Apple is heading in the right direction.

One of the key features of Rhapsody is that it contains two components called the Blue and Yellow Boxes. The Blue Box will allow users to run programs that were written for the current Mac OS, while the Yellow Box will run new programs written especially for Rhapsody. It takes a lot of time and money for software developers to produce new versions of their programs, but Rhapsody's Blue Box should reassure them that they can continue to sell their existing software while they work on producing new versions for the Yellow Box part of Rhapsody.

And, in a further attempt to appeal to software developers, Apple also announced that it would be producing versions of Rhapsody and the Yellow Box that would run on IBM-compatible PCs. There will be a complete version of the Rhapsody OS that will run on PCs as an alternative to Windows. However, Apple will also separate out the Yellow Box component and release it as a kind of add-on program that can be used in conjunction with Windows. Any program written for the Yellow Box will, in theory, be able to run on both Macs and PCs. At the moment, software companies have to spend a lot of time developing separate Mac and PC versions of their programs. But, if the Yellow Box works, they will now be able to write a single version of a program for the Yellow Box and that program will then be able to run on both Macs and PCs without any alteration.

That will save software companies time and money and will be a powerful incentive for them to develop software for Rhapsody. The question, of course, is whether or not the Yellow Box will actually work. Sources inside Apple say that work on Rhapsody is going well and is actually running ahead of schedule. However, it will still be several months before Apple is ready to release it to developers, and it will probably be a year before the final version goes on sale to the public.

In the meantime, the next episode in the Apple soap opera will be in July, when it releases a new version of the current Mac OS that uses some of the features originally developed for Copland. Apple's hope is that this will boost sales and buy it some breathing space until it is ready to hand Rhapsody over to developers in three or four months' time.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales / Account Manager

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales / Account Manager is re...

    Ashdown Group: Application Developer - C#.Net, ASP.Net - Cambridgeshire

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Software Application Developer (C# & ASP.Net, SQL S...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll Officer - Part Time

    £12047 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Part Time Payroll Officer required for t...

    Recruitment Genius: Event Management and Marketing Admin Support

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot