First impressions of Tiger…

06/28/2004

A few first impressions of Apple’s upcoming Operating System: Tiger:

  • Spotlight – basically an Apple native verstion of Launchbar with a few self-evidently nice features (searching Mail). After using Launchbar for a while I can state without question that it feels like part of the OS after a while, so if the Apple version has the similar ability to run it without using the mouse, then I’ll be pretty happy. I doubt Objective Development will be, of course…
  • iChat AV – the new version allows you to conference call ten people and video chat with loads of people too. That’s pretty cool. I’m pretty bloody impressed by that. It’s going to be pretty awesome and totally what I’ve been hoping they’d do. It fits in really well with some other thinking I’ve been doing…
  • Safari RSS – sites with RSS feeds are marked when you go to them, which is cool, and then you can subscribe to them directly through the interface. I’m not convinced by their interaction design here – I suspect I’ll keep using NetNewsWire for the time being – but it’s certainly a positive step that can’t help but make RSS penetration…
  • Dashboard – basically this one is a fucking rip off of Konfabulator and I’m pretty pissed off about it. I’m not a particular fan of the paradigm, but I don’t think that’s pertinent – unlike RSS feeds and the Launchbar knock-off there doesn’t seem to me to be really any reason for building this into the OS, it’s not particularly interesting or powerful and it really does seem just like nicking someone else’s ideas and lobbing them into your Operating System because you can. Harsh, Steve. Harsh…
  • Automator – as far as I can tell this is a GUI for AppleScript, allowing people like me who get scared by even the simplest of scripting languages to automate tasks quickly and easily without ending up dribbling into a cup. My personal jury is out on how useful it’ll actually be on a day-to-day basis but that doesn’t mean that I’m not impressed. AppleScript for the rest of us?
  • VoiceOver – a spoken interface for the Mac. I’m not really qualified to comment on the technology, but certainly the aspiration is good and important and I don’t doubt it’ll serve Apple well in cracking governmental markets. My only quibble – I’m not so impressed by the little white man they made in Illustrator to put in the logo. He looks a bit lame and … bendy …
  • .Mac sync – a revised version of iSync with a simpler UI and apparently some developer hooks. It still pisses me off that you have to have a .Mac account to do any syncing across the internet. I can’t quite believe that function is worth the $60 a year, nor do I think it’s even vaguely conceivable that you couldn’t explain to someone how to set up a server to handle that stuff themselves… Seems like a slightly shitty attempt to drill money out of you in an entirely random way…
  • Better Unix – neat! I think!
  • XCode 2.0 – wish I understood it!
  • System Wide Metadata Indexing – this is seriously cool and API’d up the wazoo so hopefully it will start to lay the foundations of the Finder technologies of the future…

All in all the big news for the operating system is the integration of search and metadata technologies into the heart of the Operating System. The Safari RSS and iChat AV stuff is pretty cool too and everything else looks like tweaks, gimmicks or outright rip-offs. I wonder when it’s out?