With Apple's sharp OS turnaround last week, there's been a lot of confusion over the fate of Apple's Intel plans. In the original plans for Rhapsody, Apple's next generation server operating system, Apple was going to create a version of the OS that ran on Intel PCs, though it would not include the ability to run Mac OS-based applications. Last week at its yearly developer event, Apple revealed that Rhapsody features would be integrated into the Mac OS, rather than the other way around. That makes sense for Mac customers, but opens some questions up about the future of Rhapsody, and the previously planned Intel version of Rhapsody.

Jordan J. Dea-Mattson, the senior partnership and technology solutions manager for Apple Developer Relations explained Apple's OS plans to an Apple developer mailing list this week. He said that the next major version of the Mac OS--Mac OS X (as in "ten")--would be similar to Apple's original plans for Rhapsody. Like Rhapsody, Mac OS X will be based on the Mach kernel, and will include subsystems for Mac OS compatibility, Rhapsody compatibility, as well as a new set of APIs dubbed "Carbon" that will carry the line in the future. Mac OS X will also include a "killer" Java subsystem that the company says Microsoft will use as well.

With all this Rhapsody technology being folded into the Mac OS, you might think that Rhapsody itself--the server OS based on NeXT technology--was being cancelled. But Apple maintains that PowerPC and Intel-based versions of Rhapsody will be released late this year. Apple's plans are similar to Microsoft's Windows 9x/Windows NT line-up: Windows 95 and 98 are compatible with more of the older software, but include some of the advanced technology from NT. Windows NT is still positioned as a server and high-end workstation solution, much like Rhapsody. Apple says that it still has no plans to offer Mac OS compatibility on Intel, however, and its likely that Apple's Intel offerings will lag behind its PowerPC versions for the foreseeable future