Apple Unveils Tiger, Displays

During his keynote address Monday at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced Tiger, the next version of Mac OS X, as well as a new lineup of displays. He previewed a handful of the new features in Tiger, including the Spotlight search technology and updates to iChat. The displays were updated with a new enclosure and a 30-inch model.

The new Cinema Displays range in size from 20 to 30 inches and feature an aluminum enclosure with a thin bezel, dual USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 ports on the display, and use a DVI connection instead of the previous ADC connection. The 20 and 23-inch models may be used on both Mac and Windows systems, while the 30-inch model requires a new graphics card that supports DVI Dual Link and its 2560-by-1600 resolution. All three models have a 16:10 widescreen aspect ratio.

The 20 and 23-inch Cinema Displays will be available in July for US $1,299 for the 20-inch and US $1,999 for the 23-inch model. The 30-inch model will be available in August for $3,299. The NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL graphics card will also be available for the Macintosh in August for $599.

Mac OS X Tiger, labeled as version 10.4, includes features designed to make it easier to find and access information, automate actions, enhance streaming video quality, and video and audio conference with multiple people.

One major new feature of Tiger is Spotlight, which allows quick system-wide searches and automatically organizes the results. Spotlight uses an index of meta-data and contents for each file, and can be integrated with installed applications. Spotlight is also used to provide Smart Folders in the Finder and Mail, which are similar to the Smart Playlists in iTunes.

The Safari web browser is being enhanced with support for RSS and Atom feeds. Sites which have RSS feeds can be automatically discovered and the aggregated headlines can be searched using Spotlight.

Dashboard is a new addition to Expose that allows access to applets called "Widgets." Dashboard allows instant access to these widgets, such as a calculator or the address book, by a single keystroke. Developers will be able to create their own widgets using JavaScript.

Automator allows users to automate repetitive tasks by linking actions together in a graphical environment. An action is a single task, such as finding a certain file. The workflows, as the series of actions are called, can be saved and reused.

Tiger's version of QuickTime includes support for the next-generation MPEG-4 codec H.264. Recently approved for use in HD-DVD, H.264 allows higher quality video in the same file size.

iChat AV has been upgraded to take advantage of H.264, allowing better video quality without any increase in bandwidth requirements. iChat AV will also support video conferencing between four people, and audio conferencing between up to 10 people.

More information on Tiger can be found on Apple's site. Mac OS X Tiger will be available in the first half of 2005 for US $129. Developers attending WWDC will receive an early preview copy, which includes SDKs for Automator, Dashboard, and Spotlight.

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