Tiger

As many of you are aware, OS X 10.4 (Tiger) was released on Friday. This was done to much fanfare for the regular Mac fanatics. My copy arrived in the mail on Saturday and I’ve had the chance to play around with it, however only a little bit. But, even from the limited amount of time I can say a little bit about it.

Spotlight

Well, it’s cool. I’ll give it that. Upon install, it began to index my entire hard drive. This took about 10 minutes on my PowerBook. After that, I began to play with it. Now, it is a little different than Quicksilver, but not by much. It does a better job finding documents and the like, but it won’t replace QS for me. I love QS too much to let it go. But, the possibilities of spotlight are pretty promising. It is pretty much what desktop search is to the PC, but a little more refined and with better use of metadata. But, this is a nice addition. I only wish I had this a year ago when I was using my Mac every day.

Dashboard

If you have used Konfabulator, then you’ve used Dashboard. They are very similar. They both use widgets and they both reside on your desktop. Now, the Apple version is a little, only a little, bit more polished in its presentation, but I don’t think that Konfabulator will be hurt too much by this. They have the PC market now too to focus on. But, the one thing that will come over time are the widgets that people will create. I am thinking of creating one, but I don’t know of what yet. More of the fact that I can create one (not that I couldn’t with Konfabulator). It’s a nice feature, but I still don’t know how much of it I will use. I have other applications that do some of the work for me already. So, only time will tell if this is useful or not.

Automator

This program looks like it can have a lot of potential. I mean, it’s what batch jobs are to Photoshop, but over the entire OS. I haven’t been able to use it very much so far, but I can imagine that this could be useful for some serious batch jobs or repeated actions.

Smart Folders

One thing that I liked in iPhoto was the ability to use Smart folders to show the most recent photos, or in iTunes to see all the songs by a particular artist. Now, you can use the same technology in Finder. It could be useful for finding documents spread across your hard drive, but if you keep everything in a well defined folder structure this might not be that useful for you. However, it’s a nice addition.

Safari Updates

Being an avid Firefox user, these updates are kind of wasted on me. So, I won’t even comment on them since I really don’t plan to ever use them.

The Rest

There are many more little tweaks and things that have been done to the OS since 10.3, but I don’t know them all or they just didn’t stick out to me. Overall, the new interface is on par with that of 10.3, but some of the interface design looks kind of disgusting in places (Mail.app). I don’t know if they designed it to be ugly, but it is. I guess it’s the behind the scenes stuff that I just don’t know enough to talk about.

To buy, or not to buy?

Well, that is the question if you have 10.3. Honestly, unless you are going to be using the Mac every day and if you feel that you cannot live without some of the features in 10.4 you can probably hold off on this update. Now, I don’t think that the price will come down anytime soon, or at all. But, to me, there are no showstoppers that make this OS upgrade a must. I know that many reviews online have been saying that this is the one upgrade that you must get. Well, if you were running anything before 10.3, I’d agree. But, if you are satisified with your 10.3 install and you are just the casual Mac user, you can hold off. I am still deciding on if my purchase was worth it or not, but I knew that I would get it eventually, so why not now? Gotta love my logic, right?

But, I guess that I like it. I’m not head over heals “wow!” about it, but it is a decent upgrade. I think that over time it will grow on me and I will make the most (or at least more) out of it. But, as of right now, it is hard to tell what kind of value it is really providing me. All I know is that it is not as much as I thought it would be when I got my copy in the mail.

8 thoughts on “Tiger”

  1. I think you can justify the educational price of $70 for the upgrade if you need to. In my case I just bought a new PowerBook which allowed me to get the upgrade for the more than justifiable $10 (I’ve been running Tiger for a few days, but the Up-To-Date kit won’t show for another week… shhh!).

    I like Spotlight a lot, although I agree it won’t be a replacement for QuickSilver. I think I’ll use QS as mostly an application launcher (it’s fast), and Spotlight to find files.

    Dashboard is nice to have around some days, but it’ll take a little while to get into my system. It could also use a little makeover in the ability to easily add and remove widgets.

    I’m a fan of the nice shiny new Mail client, not really any new features, but the look is much better. Safari works great for me, I think Firefox just feels out of place (to un-mac like).

    There was a significant overhaul to iChat, something that is much appreciated. The Buddy List now has support for Groups that doesn’t suck as bad as it did before. I haven’t tried out the multi-user video chat yet (let me know if you are interested: BradleyFroehle on AIM). iChat also lets you set your “Available” message to be the current song you are playing in iTunes, and includes a link to buy it off the iTunes Music Store as well.

    iCal has built in support for a calendar with people’s birthdays, a nice touch.

  2. Nice, an honest review of Tiger. I feel like all the Mac fanatics have been drooling all over it just because it’s new. Dashboard seems cool, as does Automator. From what I hear Safari’s RSS support is pretty weak.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Tiger is an improvement over its predecessor. I just feel like the whole thing is a bit over hyped.

  3. I think a lot of the time people expect dramatic visual changes for them to judge the value of the product. Perhaps Apple should have made everything dark blue and green. By far, the heart of the changes within Tiger are invisible to the average user. Apple throws in things like dashboard and spotlight (the user interface) as marketing grabs to make it look as if they are justifying the cost somehow to those who do not see the underlying changes.

    Take a look at Windows XP for example. Now I admit I do not regularly use XP, but seriously, what is the difference between it and 2000 besides a firewall, a few more advanced network features, and a nifty new interface (Luna)? I haven’t seen the need to replace my 2000 machine with XP.

    Many people complain about the price of the upgrade ($129 retail). They may see it as a point release rather than a new OS. It is true that Apple has OS releases more often than Microsoft (about every 18 months or so) and leaves many wondering why they are upgrading so soon. Apple has a different strategy than Microsoft, they have one user-level OS instead of Microsoft’s Professional and Home editions. OS X is equivalent, if not more generous then XP Pro when it comes to advanced server-like features, and Microsoft charges more than double the cost of OS X. $300 for an operating system!? OS X 10.0 cost $129 to go from OS 9. And comparing 10.0 to 10.4 is a world of difference. If anyone here ever used it, you know what I am talking about.

    In Summary:
    10.0 – Frankly did not work well. Best keep the dual boot.
    10.1 – Free upgrade because Apple knew 10.0 was useless.
    10.2 – Finally getting usable on a permanent basis. QuartzExtreme, Rendezvous. What? $129 for a lousy upgrade!!?
    10.3 РThings are heating up. New Finder, Expos̩, Fast User Switching. The first release of OS X that is definitely worth the $129.
    10.4 – Steve’s vision is coming alive. Unified APIs, Advanced system engines, CoreImage rendering, system-wide meta attribute functions…. oh and uh… dashboard….

    The bottom line is that 10.4 sets you up for the future. Core Image significantly improves realtime graphics performance on top of QuartzExtreme. Also, Spotlight, while a nifty feature, really just harnesses the power of an entirely new metadata system which only Longhorn hopes to come close to, and I am sure Microsoft will delay their shipping of it longer while they discover how Apple does it. 10.4 is a developer’s platform. What it has become will be more inviting to those who make our lives easier by writing software.

    As for the new Safari, I like it. I’ve got my RSS feeds in folders on my bookmarks bar. When it discovers new changes it shows how many entries are new next to the folder it is in, as well as the RSS feed itself. I know Firefox is more customizable, but there are things that really annoy me about it.

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