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Apple Computer is offering to help manage corporate Macs.

The computer maker on April 11 rolled out Remote Desktop Control 3, which includes provisions for installing several types of software, tracking hardware assets and health and even providing remote assistance to end users for IT departments who aim to streamline the administration of Mac fleets.

Apple worked to integrate Remote Desktop Control 3, which it says has over 50 new features, more tightly with some of the main components of its Mac OS X 10.4, such as Dashboard, which contains miniature applications called Widgets, and Automator for automating tasks.

Click here to read more about the latest Mac OS X update.

Using the software, a manager can address “everything from software distribution, asset management, remote administration, remote assistance…distributing software to machines, real-time online help for users and also automation of management tasks without having to leave your desk,” said Eric Zelenka, senior product line manager for Mac OS X product marketing at Apple, in Cupertino, Calif.

Given that it’s designed to work with Mac OS X 10.4—technically it can address anything beginning with Mac OS X 10.3.9, but 10.4 is required for everything to work—Remote Desktop Control 3 can do things like remotely observe and multiple machines within a Remote Desktop dashboard Widget.

Its automation features can take advantage of OS X 10.4’s Automator for putting tasks such as changing settings or system preferences on each machine on a network on autopilot.

An Autoinstall software feature can be made to update operating system software—the equivalent of a Mac OS X 10.4.x update, versus a full-on update such as Mac OS X 10.5—third-party applications and in-house applications for machines on a network, staging the downloads until remote or portable machines come onto the network the next time, Zelenka said.

Click here to read more about Apple’s Boot Camp and other efforts to allow Macs to run Windows and Linux as well as Mac OS X.

Several additional features include fast file copy, file search and remote file drag and drop, he said.

Remote Desktop Control 3, which works with both Intel processor and PowerPC processor Macs, is available immediately, and licenses are available for $299 for up to 10 systems and $499 for an unlimited number of systems.

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