Apple has confirmed its next-generation operating system, codenamed Rhapsody, will run on Intel-based PCs as well as Macs.
Company chairman Gil Amelio told developers at a conference in San Jose last week that Rhapsody will allow them to write for both the Mac and Intel PCs simultaneously without the need to port their applications.
The move is designed to persuade commercial developers to continue supporting the MacOS.
The dual development capability is the result of Apple's use of the Yellow Box application programming interfaces (APIs) inherited from the company's acquisition of NeXT last December.
By using these APIs, software developers will be able to build applications that can run on a wide range of operating systems including Rhapsody for MacOS, Rhapsody for Intel, Windows 95 and Windows NT.
By making the Yellow Box programming environment a cross-platform one, Apple believes it can attract new software developers to the MacOS fold.
At the conference, Apple demonstrated Rhapsody for the first time. The product is scheduled for release in July. Rhapsody is expected to include both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.
Despite the announcements, Apple said its return to profitability may be further away than it had originally planned. The company, which has lost around $1.5 billion (#900 million) over the past six consecutive quarters, was aiming for a net profit by the end of its fourth financial quarter, (ending 30 September, 1997).
In a recent report Apple stated that it may have to fund a net loss from cash reserves for "at least" the next quarter. The company has already stated it expects to post a loss for the third quarter ending 30 June.
Apple reported a much larger than expected second quarter loss of $186 million (#116 million) in March as sales plummeted 27%.
Amelio told a US newspaper last week: "It's a little too early to shoot off fireworks and throw a party. But we are at the cusp of turning the corner."
Many analysts believe the next release of the MacOS will be make or break time for Apple. If Apple is going to survive and do well then it has to win back the support of the developer community. Failure to do this will spell disaster for the company. Without any new applications to work with the OS, customers will have no reason to buy Mac.
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