Apple to Release Tiger April 29

Both the client and server versions of Mac OS X 10.4, the highly anticipated next version of Apple's Unix-based operating system, will be set loose on the world through retail channels.

Apple Computer Inc. announced Tuesday that it will release both the client and server versions of Mac OS X 10.4, code-named Tiger, on April 29. The operating system will go on sale through Apples own retail stores and Apple authorized resellers starting at 6 p.m. as part of a "special retail event."

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."

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about Apples Spotlight technology.

Dashboard, another new feature in Tiger, is a platform for pop-up information "widgets"—applets built with HTML, CSS and JavaScript that can be displayed on the Mac OS X desktop with a keystroke, and then hidden again. Tiger will ship with 14 prebuilt widgets, providing access to information such as airline flight arrivals and weather, and a toolkit for developing additional applets.

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).

/zimages/1/82445.jpg Apples iChat server, based on the open-source Jabber messaging server technology, provides organizations with a way to set up private instant messaging and videoconferencing servers behind the firewall. Apples Weblog server, based on the Blosxom blogging technology, integrates with Mac OS Xs Apache Web server.

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.

/zimages/1/28571.gifFor insights on the Mac in the enterprise, check out Executive Editor Matthew Rothenbergs Weblog.

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.

/zimages/1/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.