Mac OS X Tiger preview

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 29th, 2004 • 4:15 am

As far as I am concerned, there are lots of really exciting new features or improvements announced for the forthcoming major Mac OS X upgrade 10.4 called “Tiger”.

Of particular interest to me are the many improvements to search capabilities in various aspects of Mac OS X, including the Finder itself, with — finally — the introduction of some kind of metadata-based file management. It’s too early to tell how effective it will be, but it’s is very promising indeed.

Smart groups in Address Book and smart mailboxes in Mail are just natural extensions of the “smart” concept already in use in an application such as iTunes. It just seems a bit strange to me that Apple would provide advanced message searching capabilities in Mail (at long last) through dynamic self-updating mailboxes rather than a simpler (more traditional) advanced search dialog box. My natural instinct is to only create mailboxes for permanent storage (although I occasionally create temporary mailboxes for current projects for easier access to messages that I will file more permanently elsewhere later on). But I guess I can probably get used to it… I am a bit more concerned about performance issues. Mail in its current incarnation is not exactly super-fast. How much are these self-updating smart mailboxes going to affect the application’s performance? I don’t really want to have a Mail program that performs even worse than it does today… But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Other “innovations” announced by Apple look strangely familiar (Spotlight borrows more than a page or two from LaunchBar, and Dashboard from Konfabulator), but I am not going to get into the debate of who has been stealing from whom…

And of course, just as I finally decided to indulge and purchase the A Better Finder Series, Apple comes up with Automator. I guess all good things come to those who wait… although many of them come somewhat sooner to those who’re willing to spend a bit of extra dough!

On the hardware side, the much-anticipated revised displays line-up is positively drool-worthy, but I guess I’m going to stick to my existing set-up for the near future, which is not too shabby (23″ + 17″). Interesting how Apple has gone all metallic on us in the past couple of years. I guess the only thing left is an aluminum iMac — although Apple might keep the white plastic for consumer-level offerings (iBook, iMac, iPod) and the metal for pro-level devices (displays, G5, PowerBooks, etc.).

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