Apple Announces Future Macintosh Operating System (OS) Strategy and Road Map

Strategy Delivers Compatibility with Currently Shipping Mac Systems and Applications, Accelerates Delivery of Next-Generation Software, and Provides Smooth Migration to Next-Generation OS

Mac OS Upgrades to Continue; First 'Rhapsody' Release Scheduled to Ship Within 12 Months

Macworld/Expo, San Francisco--Jan. 7, 1997--Apple Computer, Inc. today announced its strategy for the future evolution of the Macintosh operating system software, for Macintosh and Mac OS compatible personal computers. Apple plans to implement a strategy in which the Company will continue to deliver significant and regularly scheduled upgrades to the current Mac OS while accelerating development of a new and advanced operating system. The new operating system is code-named 'Rhapsody' and will be based on the merging of technologies from Apple and NeXT Software, Inc. (Apple announced its intent to acquire NeXT Software on Dec. 20, 1996--see press release, Apple Agrees to Acquire NeXT Software Inc.) As well as providing pioneering next generation technology, Rhapsody aims to provide strong backward compatibility for Mac OS software offering current customers a smooth migration path to the new OS.

Through this approach, the Company expects to provide customers and developers with a platform for exceptional and cutting-edge applications, while enhancing their current investment in the Mac OS. Apple also believes that the advanced technical underpinnings and rapid development environment of Rhapsody will allow developers to create new applications that leapfrog those of other 'modern' operating systems, such as Windows NT. Additionally, the Company anticipates that the scheduled enhancements to the Mac OS will retain its industry leadership in ease of use and multimedia, while greatly strengthening the software's Internet capabilities.

The first release of Rhapsody is expected to be launched to developers in mid to late 1997 and to customers within 12 months. Rhapsody is planned to incorporate features such as preemptive multitasking and protected memory, as well as a modern kernel. It is expected to also include a new Application Programming Interface (API) based on NeXT Software's OPENSTEP environment. In parallel Mac OS continues to evolve--with a significant upgrade, Mac OS 7.6, announced today. (See separate release).

"Apple has laid out an OS strategy that provides customers and software developers with a safe, clear upgrade path to breakthrough next generation computing. With this approach customers can migrate at their own speed to 21st century computing" said Dr. Gilbert F. Amelio, Chairman and CEO, Apple Computer Inc. "Today we also deliver on a commitment made at Macworld Boston in August, by announcing Mac OS 7.6, a robust and valuable update to our current operating system. Together, Mac OS and our next generation OS, Rhapsody, will allow customers and software developers to leverage existing Macintosh applications and provide a platform for a new era of software innovation from Apple and its industry allies".

OS Strategy Provides Clear Advantages For Customers and Developers

Apple believes that its OS Strategy provides clear differentiation from its system software competitors in four areas.

Smooth Transition

Firstly, Apple's OS strategy allows both Mac OS and Rhapsody to share a similar look and feel and provide compatibility with existing Mac OS applications and hardware--giving customers and software developers a smooth upgrade path to next generation technology. Existing Mac OS software is expected to work within Rhapsody at PowerPC speeds. Additionally it is planned that Rhapsody will support today's currently shipping Mac OS personal computers, as well as future Mac OS hardware.

Advanced Operating System

Secondly, Rhapsody is expected to provide customers and software developers with a robust, easy to use OS that delivers features such as preemptive multitasking, symmetric multiprocessing, and protected memory, based on a modern kernel. The integration of NeXT Software's OPENSTEP development environment in Rhapsody will provide software developers, in-house development teams, and new media specialists with a market-leading component software environment. This will allow new classes of software to be developed quickly and easily.

Multimedia Leadership

Thirdly, Apple's OS Strategy will allow the Company to continue to lead the market in multimedia innovation. Apple intends to optimize its QuickTime Media Layer (QTML) for both Mac OS and Rhapsody moving forward, providing all Apple customers with multimedia leadership through the millennium. Apple also intends to further develop its value added hardware to improve the multimedia capabilities of Macintosh systems, with high performance PowerPC microprocessors and new classes of hardware acceleration technology.

Superior Internet Integration

Apple plans to carry forward key technologies such as OpenDoc, Meta Content Format (MCF), and easy to use TCP/IP connectivity to maintain the Macintosh as a leading system for Internet access and the delivery of Internet content. The integration of Java-- Sun Microsystems' platform-independent application environment for the Internet and corporate networks --will allow the Company to provide market leading Internet capabilities in both Mac OS and Rhapsody. As an integral part of its OS strategy, Apple aims to incorporate Java in both Mac OS and Rhapsody, and today announced Mac OS Run Time for Java. ( See separate release). Apple is committed to make both Mac OS and Rhapsody preeminent development and deployment platforms for Java technology. In addition, Apple expects that technology such as NeXT Software's Web Objects will further reinforce the Mac platform's Internet capabilities.

Road Map Shows Complementary Approach

Apple's OS strategy offers two complementary product lines moving forward--Mac OS and Rhapsody. Customers in each of Apple's markets can migrate to Apple's next generation OS, Rhapsody, at their own speed. Apple also believes that Apple's new OS strategy will reinvigorate the Company's presence in key market segments, particularly the enterprise market. Apple anticipates many customers will remain on Mac OS for a number of years and intends to continue to upgrade this track of the OS in regular semiannual upgrades. (See figure 1).

Figure 1 - Apple's two complementary operating systems--Mac OS and Rhapsody--allow the efficient development and delivery of innovative computing technologies. This development strategy is designed to provide a smooth transition to next- generation computing, while preserving customer investments in Mac OS-compatible hardware and software. (Updated March 20, 1997)

Mac OS Road Map

Mac OS 7.6, announced today, is the first step in a strategy designed to deliver state-of-the-art operating system functionality on a regular, semiannual basis for both 68k and PowerPC customers. This release integrates a host of new Apple technologies to offer customers best-of-class Internet access, state-of-the-art multimedia, built-in OpenDoc support, enhanced compatibility with DOS and Windows files, and improved productivity and reliability. (See separate release).

Three future releases of Mac OS are already slated--code named Tempo, Allegro, and Sonata.

Tempo, targeted for mid 1997, will continue to improve the overall ease of use of the Mac and offer leading Internet integration. Tempo is planned to include a new PowerPC-native multi-threaded Finder. This will allow customers to execute multiple tasks, such as launching applications and copying files, at the same time. Tempo includes a new 3D appearance and other user interface enhancements. In the Internet area, Tempo integrates Cyberdog 2.0, Mac OS Runtime for Java, and personal web sharing, permitting every Mac or Mac compatible to be an Internet web server.

Apple will provide details on its Allegro and Sonata releases at a later date.

Rhapsody Road Map

The road map for Apple's next generation OS, Rhapsody, is as follows:

Developer Release
Apple plans a developer release of Rhapsody in mid to late 1997 to provide software developers with a robust platform for the creation of next generation applications, incorporating NeXT Software's market-leading OPENSTEP development environment. This release is expected to include key next generation operating system technologies such as preemptive multitasking, protected memory and a modern kernel. The integration of NeXT Software's object-oriented OPENSTEP API and industry-leading component software development tools, will allow software developers to quickly and easily create applications for Rhapsody's first customer release.

Premier Release
The first customer release is planned for delivery within 12 months. The premier release is intended for early adopters of new technology in multiple market segments. Plans include an evolution of the Mac OS appearance, combining the best of Apple and NeXT technology to provide an industry-leading user experience that will be familiar to today's Macintosh customers and exciting to new users. This release is intended to enable new software applications to run in a fully preemptive and protected environment and will have limited compatibility with Mac OS applications.

Unified Release
Intended as a general software release for Apple's customer base, this release of Rhapsody is expected to offer next generation capabilities introduced in the developer and premier releases, as well as compatibility with existing and future Mac OS applications. Rhapsody is expected to support today's software through a Mac OS compatibility environment which will be a complete native implementation of the Mac OS. This is not a software "emulation" layer, instead Mac OS will be ported to the advanced Rhapsody base. The unified release of Rhapsody is scheduled for shipment in mid 1998.

The road map for Rhapsody is shown in Figure 1. A diagram of the Rhapsody architecture is shown below.

PowerPC and Mac OS
Both Mac OS and Rhapsody will be optimized for PowerPC hardware. Rhapsody is expected to support all currently shipping PowerPC based systems sold by Apple and Apple licensees today. Rhapsody is also expected to support all upcoming products including the PowerPC Platform (also known as CHRP). Apple also intends to continue to develop, sell and support NeXT software products for other platforms such as Pentium, Sparc, and Windows NT.

Statements in this press release regarding future versions of the Mac OS and regarding Rhapsody are forward looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including successful and timely development of future versions of the Mac OS and of Rhapsody. The success of new products is dependent on a number of factors, including technological feasibility, the ability of the company to develop and make the product at an acceptable cost, market acceptance, and the company's ability to manage the risks associated with product transitions. More information on potential factors that could affect the success of the products described in this press release and the Company's financial results are included in the respective SEC filings of Apple, including Apple's Form 10-K for the 1996 fiscal year, and in Apple's Form 10-Q for the first fiscal quarter, to be filed with the SEC.

Apple Computer, Inc., a recognized innovator in the information industry and leader in multimedia technologies, creates powerful solutions based on easy-to-use personal computers, servers, peripherals, software, personal digital assistants and Internet content. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple develops, manufactures, licenses and markets solutions, products, technologies and services for business, education, consumer, entertainment, scientific and engineering and government customers in more than 140 countries.

Mac OS Rhapsody Architectural Diagram

Apple's next generation OS, Rhapsody, aims to provide Apple with industry leading Internet and multimedia capabilities and give Macintosh customers a smooth upgrade path to next generation computing. Main features include:

Advanced Mac Look and Feel

Rhapsody expects to include an evolution of the Mac OS appearance, combining the best of Apple and NeXT user interface technology to provide an industry-leading user experience that will be familiar to today's Macintosh customers and exciting to new users.

OPENSTEP based Application Programming Interface (API)

Rhapsody aims to deliver preemptive multitasking, protected memory and symmetric multiprocessing - giving customers and developers a robust, next generation platform. Rhapsody should also offer software developers a rich set of new Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) from which to develop new classes of software products that highlight the differentiation of the Mac platform. These API's are based on NeXT Software Inc.'s market-leading OPENSTEP development environment. This area of the OS is refered to in some materials as "The Yellow Box" in the Rhapsody Architecture diagram.

Java VM

It is planned to fully integrate Java into Rhapsody - with Java Libraries and a Java Virtual Machine (VM), giving Apple market-leading Java capabilities. It is Apple's intention to make both Mac OS and Rhapsody preeminent development and delivery platforms for Java applications.

Mac OS Compatibility

Rhapsody aims to support today's software through a Mac OS compatibility environment. This environment is planned to be a complete native implementation of the Mac OS hosted on the next generation OS infrastructure provided by Rhapsody. This is not a software "emulation" layer. Instead Mac OS will be ported to the advanced Rhapsody base. This area of the OS is refered to in some materials as "The Blue Box" in the Rhapsody Architecture diagram.

Core OS

A modern kernel provides a next-generation high performance Input/Output (IO) architecture, file system, messaging and scheduling between applications, and networking.

PowerPC Platform Hardware

Apple's OS plans are underpinned by a hardware strategy that continues to take advantage of PowerPC performance. It is planned that Rhapsody will be optimized for PowerPC hardware.

Press Information Contact:

Russell Brady
Apple Computer, Inc.
(408) 974 6877

Nicole Overson
NeXT Software Inc.
(415) 780-3731

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