Review: Tiger, First Look Part 2 - Applications

Fast, easy to navigate, and nice features (June 7th, 2005)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Apple Computer

Price: MSRP: $129 US

The Good

  • Improved search and improved Safari with RSS capabilities. Improved functionality and use with Dashboard widgets plus, seems faster overall.

The Bad

  • Some incompatibilities with some software. Price versus new features offered.

You may want to read over Mac OS X 10.4 - Tiger, A First Look - Pt. I before reading this article. - The Editor

Tiger brings your user experience to a whole new level with the three-featured new applications bundled with the OS. Spotlight, Dashboard, and Automator are tightly integrated into the OS. Spotlight allows you to find things quickly and easily by first indexing your drive. Although similar to Sherlock in the previous OS, Spotlight goes deeper, even indexing Metadata of Photos and text inside of PDFs. Similar to iTunes and iPhoto, it allows users to create Smart Searches and organizes items by search criteria.

Dashboard

Dashboard adds a level of convenience to similar to the old control panels. Dashboard lets you open mini applications, called widgets, without launching full-scale applications. With the click of a mouse, you can quickly look up a phone number, find a dictionary definition, or get a contact from your address book, among many other things. The functionality of this feature is really unleashed as third party developers write new widgets for their applications.

Automator

Automator is a very powerful and useful application, but may be somewhat overwhelming if you're an average user. Advanced users may remember AppleScript, which allowed you to automate tasks by writing scripts in an English-oriented language. Automator offers that functionality plus more, and does it with simple single tasks called Actions. . Some common tasks are included as starter points, mainly Actions that work with the iLife suite and other parts of the OS. In the future, I foresee software companies using Actions to add more functionality and downloadable Automator Actions to make our lives easier.

Other Features

Other new and impressive components of Tiger include Safari's new RSS feature and iChat. I find myself using Safari more since it's built-in features allow me to find the latest news and changes on sites that I frequent more easily. Safari also seems to be a faster and more responsive. iChat finally includes the ability to set-up multiple accounts and Rendezvous has been renamed Bonjour and also allows Jabber messaging now. The new multi -user Audio and Video chat seems promising but due to the hefty system requirements, I have not tried it yet.

Worth the Price?

Overall, Tiger offers a few improvements but at $129, the price of admission is steep for what you get. When Apple released Jaguar, it had many new features, improvements, and stability that made it a must have upgrade for the same price. If you are running 10.2 Jaguar, I'd say definitely make the jump for the speed increase, stability, and new features, but if you are running 10.3, Panther, you may want to keep your eyes on the web for other incompatibilities, problems and fixes before making the leap to Tiger.

Editor's Note: After running Mac OS X 10.4 for a couple of weeks on an aging G4 with a FastMac accelerator card upgrade, I have to say that I highly recommend the Tiger upgrade. My machine runs much faster, most of my applications updated for Panther work fine, and I enjoy OS X, finally! There's also a neat little new application buried in the Utilities folder, called Grapher. You can graph your Calculator results and make movies files of your 2D or 3D graphs.

One of my major frustrations has even been fixed! Now, when you choose Get Info on multiple items, you see multiple windows, instead of one useless window. This Editor thinks Tiger is a winner!

by Art Payne



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