Tiger Notes from NAB

by Derrick Story

I was able to catch the Tiger demo today at the NAB show in Las Vegas. Before I report on some of the specifics, I should mention that the Apple theater was packed again, and I suspect that many of the viewers are potential switchers.

My first impression was that Tiger is looking very good... ready for release in fact. The Spotlight portion of the demo was strong, especially combined with Smart folders. It's funny, thanks to Gmail, I've loosened up on some of my filing habits and now rely more on Google's "mail search" to navigate my inbox. After watching the Spotlight demo today, I'm thinking I'm in a better frame of mind to fully embrace this feature right out of the gate.

Again with switchers in mind, Spotlight in System Preferences is intriguing. Apple has loaded tons of relative keywords into the OS. So if you enter "wallpaper" into the Spotlight field, the "Desktop" System Preference is highlighted. Geez, I wonder why they did that?

A digression during the talk disclosed the new RSS screensaver. This thing is gorgeous. Headlines from your subscriptions move gracefully across the screen in full 3D animation. If you see something you like, click on it, and Tiger opens Safari RSS and takes you to the story. Very, very nifty.

Dashboard and QuickTime 7 are also looking quite refined. I can't wait to write more about QT7. And as you may have guessed, we'll have Dashboard articles for you on Mac DevCenter after April 29.

One of my favorite Tiger features, Automator, is looking downright awesome. I've developed a gag reflex to the term workflow, and NAB has only worsened my condition. Kodak even used the term in their presentation title. Ack! No way I was going to stop for that.

All of those companies should come watch the Automator demo. It's so easy to use and powerful. I'm going to be eliminating lots of repetitive tasks from my working life. But get this, you can save an Automator script as a Finder "plug-in," which is Apple's terminology for a CM (contextual menu) item, accessible via a right-click of the mouse.

What this means is that you'll be able to write your own CMs with Automator in just a matter of minutes. This is going to be fun...


2005-04-20 17:23:59
I'm glad I'm not the only one that's jazzed about Tiger. I'm so excited I can't stand myself. My sister can't stand me either.

Everyone keeps saying that these new "features" aren't anything really mind blowing but they all seem to forget that these features will filter into the next great apps for the Mac from 3rd parties.

And on top of that, new OSs are just friggin fun.

2005-04-20 17:36:14
Put that in your pipe and smoke it Mr. Thurott...
(after-all, it IS 4/20)

So much for WinXP's superiority over OS X when it comes to 'Inductive User Interfaces' (okay, it's not a direct parallel, but a different, more customizable solution that I'll be making a lot of use of)

2005-04-20 18:26:22
RE: Agreed
Here's the thing... if you're any kind of power user, coder, hacker, or just a guy who likes to customize his work environment, Tiger just seems like the version of Mac OS X we've been waiting for. Maybe for the casual user these features aren't very meaningful. But for many in our audience, Tiger will be exciting.
2005-04-20 21:13:48
RE: Agreed
I think that many of the features in Tiger are great developer features but they will also benefit the endusers as the developers start to target them. Imagine what the developers will be producing and the end-users will be comfortable with by the time Longhorn ships.
2005-04-20 22:05:25
Put that in your pipe and smoke it Mr. Thurott...
And how much of that will be realized now that the WinFS (which was very much still in the plans of being included in Longhorn by the time your linked article was written in 2003) is being erased from the oh, so beatiful and oh, so late picture of that longhorned piece of cattle?
2005-04-20 23:33:34
Excited About Tiger
When Panther came out, I was not in any hurry to grab the box off the shelf. I had considered waiting a couple of months. I finally broke down a day or two after it was released and bought a copy.

With Tiger, I've considered pre-ordering it simply for the Spotlight feature and smart lists. Sherlock, in Mac OS 8.5, had the ability to save queries. It was a cool idea, but not robust enough to really be a killer feature. It looks to me that Spotlight and its related smart lists is the realization of cool idea in an incredibly powerful and pervasive manner.

It's hard to tell whether Automater will take off or whether it will languish as a misunderstood and underused tool. My experience of the demo at MacWorld made me think that PowerUsers could take advantage of it, but that most users simply won't get it.

2005-04-21 04:30:27
Tiger apps ideas
I'd like to see a place - maybe a blog entry with comments - featuring various ideas for new apps, based on Tiger technology (it could have happened before, but maybe now it is a lot easier).

For example, what I want to see (help develop?), is a tool to download, save SMS messages with your phone. A Mail.app for SMS. There are things like this out there, but maybe not as simple, clean as I'd like to see.

Secondly, I'd like a Spotlight driven timeline app that shows 'everything' in sequential order. So I can see iChat/MSN chats marked in time next to emails, SMSs, documents, etc. I could then filter it, so i could just see things associated with particular jobs/clients/etc. (I think Nokia have something similar on the PC).

Any other ideas?

2005-04-21 09:04:30
Tiger apps ideas
Secondly, I'd like a Spotlight driven timeline app that shows 'everything' in sequential order.

That is brilliant. I hope we see that.

This is not the first time I've heard that suggestion. I think I read a Microsoft exectutive suggest that it was be a possible navigation interface in the future. But the important thing you're telling us is that Tiger may have the technology to pull it off, oh, about a week and a half from now.

2005-04-21 23:50:16
Excited About Tiger
"Most users" won't have to get it. Write the scripts yourself, then share them with friends. I'll be creating one that grabs the latest and greatest images from our family's .Mac page, imports them into iPhoto and starts a slideshow. All Grandma has to do is double-click, kick back with a cup of coffee and enjoy the show... this release is going to be awesome!
2005-04-22 08:27:22
RE: Excited About Tiger
I think we can help spread the word about how easy some of these features are to use. Like Brian's example. I could see that spreading through Mac users in his family. Next thing you know, Dad is taking a whack at it...