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Panther - OS X 10.3 - will be released on 24 October 2003 at 8:00 PM local time.

The date is not haphazard. This is also the date for the release of Jaguar (OS X 10.2), Windows 95, and the first Macintosh.

'Panther sets the new gold standard for operating systems,' said Steve Jobs. 'With more than 150 new features, we're delivering innovations today that will not be seen in any other operating system for years to come.'

Among the features are a new 'textured window/brushed metal' look for Finder, a new application Exposé (which organises open windows on the desktop), and a faster rendering of PDF.

Apple also has made its Safari program the default Web browser in Panther. The move follows Microsoft's decision in June not to develop new versions of Internet Explorer for the Mac.

Panther is also set to include a final version of iChat AV, an Apple instant-messaging program designed to work with audio and video conferencing.

Apple's server-oriented version of the operating system, Panther Server, will ship on the same date.

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