Bits & Bytes
SYSTEM 7 FINALLY ARRIVES--AND MANY MAC USERS ARE SMITTEN
For more than two years, Apple Computer Inc. has been telling customers and software developers that a new version of its operating system was on the way. After numerous delays, System 7 is finally ready--six months behind schedule. Now that it's here, it may inspire a great debate among Macintosh devotees: What is its coolest feature? Novices are likely to vote for "balloon help." With it, a cartoon-like blurb containing concise instructions will instantly flash on the screen whenever the mouse points to a command or an icon. That can be scads easier than switching back and forth between specific help screens.
For hardcore Mac buffs with crowded disk drives, the most welcome change in System 7 may be the improved "finder" command, which will quickly locate files by name, size, type, or date. Apple itself is heavily promoting the way System 7 shares files over networks, even with IBM PCs and clones. Meanwhile, software developers are excited by the operating system's ability to link information from different applications such as spreadsheets and word processing programs. That way, programs can automatically update each other.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG