Apple Computer this week announced the ship date for its next generation operating system, Mac OS X Tiger. The operating system, which the company says includes hundreds of enhancements, will be available to customers globally from 6pm on April 29, 2005.
"This is a must have upgrade — it really can transform your Mac," says Ken Bereskin, Apple's senior director of Mac OS X Product Marketing. "Ultimately Tiger will change the way you use your computer."
In addition to the single license available in New Zealand for $208.89 excluding GST, Apple is also offering a Mac OS X Tiger Family Pack, a single-residence, five-user license that will be available for $315.56 excluding GST.
Tiger requires a minimum of 256MB of memory and is designed to run on any Macintosh computer with a PowerPC G5, G4 or G3 processor and built-in FireWire.
The most talked about new feature of Mac OS X Tiger is Apple's desktop search technology, Spotlight. The new search allows the user to search files, emails, contacts, images, calendars and applications and any other file on the hard drive. Search results are displayed as users type and change dynamically as new documents are added to the hard drive.
Spotlight doesn't just search the filenames, it also searches metadata including the kind of content, the author, edit history, format, size and other details. Most documents, images and emails already contain rich metadata. Spotlight also indexes the content of a document, displaying results based on what appears inside a file or document, not just its title.
Using a separate Spotlight window, it is possible to sort results by by date or category. Searching for a particular person in Spotlight will not only bring up their contact information, but also authored or edited documents, images they have emailed, messages they wrote and messages sent to them.
Billed as "Exposé for widgets," Dashboard contains mini-applications that provide dedicated features and functions. Widgets also take advantage of OpenGL-based graphics and effects, giving smooth transitions when adding a widget or changing options.
For example, widgets that have been demonstrated by Apple CEO Steve Jobs include currency conversion, yellow pages, eBay auction tracking and weather reports. Other widgets include flight information, tile game, stickies, a world clock, a translation tool, calculator, address book, iTunes controller, dictionary, stock tracker and iCal.
Safari RSS, private browsing, parental controls and PDF
Apple is making it easy for users of its homegrown Safari web browser to track websites through RSS feeds. When you navigate to site that contains an RSS feed, Safari will show a button in the address bar, that when clicked will show a summary of new items on that websites. The RSS feed can be bookmarked and configured to automatically check for updates at a specified interval.
Compatible with RSS 0.9, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 and Atom, Safari RSS allows you to sort feed results by Date, Title or Source. A built-in search box also allows a user to enter search keywords.
Sharing too much personal information on a public or home computer is becoming more of a concern everyday, but with Safari's new private browsing feature internet surfers have a new way to cover their tracks from prying eyes. Using the private browsing feature no information about where you visit on the web, personal information you enter or pages you visit are saved or cached.
Safari's built-in parental controls allow parents to specify exactly which web sites children access by bookmarking only those sites on the Safari Bookmarks Bar. With Safari controls enabled, kids can browse only the sites in the Bookmarks Bar. New web addresses typed into the address field or non-approved sites linked from approved sites will not load on Safari.
Using the PDF engine built into Mac OS X Tiger, Safari can now display PDF documents inside a browser window. So, clicking on a linked PDF on the web will no longer download it to your desktop, instead displaying it in a Safari window.
Apple's included Mail application features many enhancements including the use of Spotlight's search technology to make Smart Mailboxes. These mailboxes dynamically fill themselves with email based on the criteria.
Mail also includes a new twist on viewing images within emails. While Mail has been able to display inline images, Apple has added a slideshow capability, so inline images are shown in full-screen mode, complete with effects.
iSync and Mail now work closely together as settings can now be synced to your .Mac account. New accounts, changing or new rules and accounts will all be synced and made available to other Macs listed in your account.
.Mac and sync
Synchronising information from your computers to .Mac has become much more centralised in Tiger. Sync and .Mac information is now built-in to the Mac OS System preferences, making the sync process integrated with many of Apple's applications.
Apple applications that will sync include Safari, iCal, Address Book, Keychain and Mail — including multiple Mail accounts, Mail rules, signatures and Smart Mailboxes. Developers can also incorporate syncing into their applications as Apple makes sync-services available systemwide.