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Tiger, Tiger

A quick roundup of everything Apple announced at the 2004 Worldwide Developers Conference.

There was a time when I was a rabid Mac fanatic. Microsoft was the Empire and Apple was the Rebel Alliance, fighting hard to give free thinkers and creative types better hardware and software… or something like that. Of course, Microsoft is still an evil empire of sorts, but my fanaticism has toned down a bit over the years and I’ve become a bit more pragmatic. However, I won’t deny that I still get a rush everytime Apple unveils something new and exciting. Chances are it’ll be unlike anything else the industry has seen to date, and I can’t help picturing rival companies going nuts everytime because they didn’t think of it first… then proceeding to rip off Apple yet again.

Earlier today, Steve Jobs gave the keynote at Apple’s 2004 Worldwide Developers Conference, and if you followed any of the Mac rumor sites (which I know you have), you saw all sorts of scuttlebutt going around about what would be unveiled. Stuff like G5 laptops, new monitors, operating system updates, some new killer media device à la the iPod, iPod updates, etc. As always, what Jobs did unveil was less than what people were hoping for (personally, I was hoping for G5 laptops), and yet still pretty darned exciting nonetheless.

The big news, of course, was the first public preview of OS X 10.4, codename ​“Tiger.” I’ve worked with many of the versions of OS X that have come out so far (I’ve currently got 10.2 at work and 10.3 at home), and I can honestly say that everytime Apple has added another 0.1, it’s like they’re releasing a completely new operating system. And Tiger is no different.

Heck, it’d probably be worth upgrading just for Spotlight (which looks very similar to Quicksilver, one of the best programs released for OS X), but they’ve also thrown in a new, RSS-capable version of Safari, a cool desktop accessory called Dashboard, and Automator (which allows you to automate — duh — all sorts of tasks quickly and easily)… to name but a few.

I’ve currently been pricing a new computer for home, and for awhile I was leaning towards a new Powerbook. Then Apple had to go and upgrade all of their G5s, and today they announced their new cinema displays, including a 30″ HD display. That’s right… 30 inches! That’s bigger than my TV. Of course, it costs a pretty penny, but still… Wow!

I’m not too hot on the new, aluminum-ized case design (I love the old translucent design), but I didn’t like the new Power Mac cases when those first came out either, and I quickly warmed up to them. Besides, I’ll stare at a brick if it’ll give me a 2560×1600 resolution. And the thought of hooking up two of those beasties to a G5 makes me a little weak in the knees (though I’d have to sell a couple of organs to afford that little set-up).

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