Apple Computer Inc. on Friday announced the first showing of the next version of Mac OS X, codenamed Panther. Attendees of the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be among the first to see Panther in action when the conference opens.

Originally scheduled for May 19-23, 2003 in San Jose, the conference has been moved to the Moscone Center in San Francisco from June 23-27, in order to provide developers with a more complete preview release.

"Our annual Worldwide Developers Conference provides our developers an in-depth look at the future of the Mac platform, and giving everyone a preview release of Panther is the best way to do that," said Ron Okamoto, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. "Moving to June ensures that every developer will leave the event with a copy of Panther in their hands."

The Early Bird registration discount scheduled to end on April 18, 2003 has been extended to May 23, 2003.

The debut of Panther will come just over a year since the current Mac OS X release, Jaguar, made its introduction at the same event. Demoed by Apple CEO Steve Jobs during his keynote address, Apple lauded Jaguar features like iChat, Rendezvous and Inkwell to attendees.

While Apple didn't give an official date for the release of Panther, it was just about four months from the date Jaguar made its debut at WWDC until the time it was released. Jaguar sold 100,000 copies during its first weekend, setting a new record for Mac OS sales for a single weekend.

Conference tracks for WWDC 2003 include Enterprise IT; Apple Developer Tools; Application Frameworks; Core OS; Hardware; and Graphics and Imaging. This year will also see QuickTime Live, normally held as a separate show in Beverly Hills, CA, become part of WWDC.