Tech Guide: What's inside Apple's Mac OS X Tiger

How does Apple's latest version of Mac OS X, Tiger, look and feel on the desktop?
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor on
How does Apple's latest version of Mac OS X, Tiger, look and feel on the desktop?
Apple has released its latest iteration of the Mac OS X series, 10.4, also known as 'Tiger'. The biggest and perhaps most publicised enhancement is its native ability to search your hard drive from the desktop -- something Windows still can't do. For quick searches, you simply click the Spotlight icon in the upper right of the Mac OS X menu bar and enter any keyword. Check out our review of Mac OS X Tiger for more details.
Search for just about anything
Spotlight, Tiger's advanced search feature, can be expanded from its menu bar position to a full window. Note that you can select additional ordering criteria on the right side of the window.

Automatically update saved searches
Here we've saved a Spotlight search for the word 'tiger' as a Smart Folder. Anytime a new email message, document, PDF or other item that contains a reference to Tiger is added to the system, a link to that item will automatically appear in the folder.

Widgets fly all over your desktop
Dashboard appears over a dimmed desktop at the touch of a hot key. You can launch other widgets from the menu at the bottom of the screen, which uses a whole new interface standard. Doesn't look like a Mac, does it?

Stop spam with new Mail
Tiger also sports a new version of Mail, Apple's email client application. It can use Smart Folders, just like the Smart Folders in the Finder, but it makes hash out of user interface guidelines.

Home theatre on your desktop
Using the advanced H.264 codec, QuickTime 7.0 can display high-resolution video.

Not so quickly, however
Unfortunately, if you don't purchase a new QuickTime Pro licence from Apple, the QuickTime application taunts you with dimmed Pro features in its menus.

Safari leaps ahead of Internet Explorer
Safari RSS features an easy-to-use and powerful RSS reader. When you visit a Web site that offers RSS, you can click the RSS button in the address bar and create a feed of the site's content. Also, note the search and article length features in the upper right of the browser window.

Automate boring tasks
Automator, a new Tiger-only application, is a visual scripting editor. You can drag actions and string them together to create complex Workflows that automate most common tasks.

Share your automated scripts with other Tiger users
You can save Automator Workflows as separate applications, which you can share with other Tiger users. Just drag and drop files onto the application icon to run the Workflow.

A programmer's calculator
In addition to the regular and scientific versions of the built-in calculator, Tiger sports a programmer's calculator.

Beneath it all, Tiger runs on Unix
Underneath Tiger lies the heart of Unix, allowing you to code Unix-based applications. Check out our review of Apple's Mac OS X Tiger.

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