Spymac have posted some screenshots of Panther, the new version of Mac OS X to be released later in the year. Judging by this screenshot, Finder will have a Safari-like navigation system as well as have Apple's controversial Metal theme. While this change may be superficial, it could indicate the beginnings of a combined file and web browser; after all, the web is simply, as Ted Nelson puts it, “decorated directories”. If this does happen - and this is just wild speculation here - then it would see Apple go a similar route as Microsoft by tightly integrating the web browser into the operating system. While this maybe bad news for third-party browser developers, at least we can expect the future of Apple browsing to support web standards thanks to Apple's open-source Webcore. Unfortunately, the Web is at the mercy of Microsoft, and no-one really knows where they are going to take the browser with their next major version of Windows in 2005.
Update: Looks like the Panther images at Spymac have been taken offline. Ah well, Panther will be unveiled on Monday.
Another Update: The screenshots are mirrored here though.