First announced last May, Tiger, according to company officials, is a "must-have release" because of its extensive new features in both the desktop and server versions.
"Were shipping Tiger earlier than promised, which were really excited about," said Brian Croll, Apples director of product marketing, in an interview with Ziff Davis Internet. "You dont see that happen too often these days with major software releases."
Crolls comment was, perhaps, a subtle dig at Microsoft Corp.s upcoming version of Windows, code-named Longhorn; Microsoft has repeatedly pushed back its release date and has trimmed expected features. Apple has repeatedly compared Tiger favorably to Longhorn since Apple CEO Steve Jobs first publicly demonstrated his companys new OS at last summers Apple Worldwide Developer Conference; the company raised banners at the conference reading, "Redmond, Start Your Photocopiers."
Spotlight, a new search feature at the center of Tiger, is perhaps the most far-reaching of the new features of the operating system. It provides instant searching of content by keywords in metadata, completing queries as they are typed.
"[Spotlight] is going to change the way people use their computers," said Croll. "Because its built into the file system, as files change, the changes [to search results] are put in immediately."
Also included in Tiger are Automator, a new tool that allows users to visually build automated tasks and workflows that integrate with multiple applications and data sources; a new iChat A/V client that allows for up to four-way videoconferencing; a new set of graphics technology that greatly enhances image handling and manipulation on the Mac; the new QuickTime 7 video format, based on the high-definition H.264 video codec; and a new Safari Web browser with a built-in RSS feed reader.
Mac OS X Tiger Server also includes a number of new features and applications, including conferencing, software updates and Weblog server software, among others. Tiger Server also provides increased Windows network compatibility, including support for Active Directory ACLs (access control lists).
The new Software Update server allows administrators to use and manage Mac OS Xs automatic client software update feature for patches and new-version rollouts, providing an interface for scheduling updates.
The client version of Tiger will be priced at $129 retail. OS X Tiger Server will be priced at $499 for a 10-client version, and $999 for an unlimited-client version.