Since I've been reading up on Tiger (the revolutionary new OS for Macs from Apple—years ahead of Windows 'Longhorn,' which won't be released for at least a year-and-a-half) for a little time now, I thought it would be best to share my thoughts on some aspects of Tiger. By no means is what I write here exhaustive. For very advanced reading, read Ars Technica's in-depth review of all things Tiger.
Many companies, such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, have released or plan on releasing 'desktop search' tools that will let you search almost any file on your computer as if you were doing a Google search. Apple has them beat, and then runs over them like a lawn mower, with Spotlight. Spotlight will change the way I, and anyone else who uses it, works with files. Instead of navigating through ten folders to find a file you need to open, press two buttons, then type in the first couple letters of the document, image, movie, picture, PDF, etc., and you'll find it there. Spotlight also searches through your address book, mail messages, and any other third party app information, as long as there's a plugin for it.
There are comparable products to Dashboard, but none are quite the same or nearly as elegant. Dashboard allows you to have many 'mini-applications' open on your computer at all times, but hidden—accessible with the press of a button or the move of a mouse. These mini-apps (Apple calls them widgets) allow you to have a bunch of useful information (i.e. Weather, Stocks, Dictionary, Caclulator, Translator, Mini-Games, etc.) available at all times.
Most people may never use Automator, a task-automation application that is expandable and easily-usable, but I think it will be invaluable for me. Many times, I find myself exporting photos in iPhoto, renaming them, putting them in another app, processing them there, then saving them in another place, and finally treating them for posting on the web. What once took me 10 minutes to do manually could take me 10 seconds to start, then let the computer take over from there! I could do this now with AppleScript, but I'd have to spend a bit of time working on my knowledge of AppleScript to do that.
There are many, many more cool little improvements as well—many that I don't even know about yet—such as Mail 2.0, Safari RSS (2.0), and more integration with the iLife applications (like iPhoto) that will help me to not spend so much time organizing/sorting, and more time working. I am off to the Apple Store West County in a few minutes, for the first annual SEM-MUG (Seminary Mac Users Group) meeting at the Apple Store.
ConclusionHaven't ever considered buying a Mac? Well, now's a great time! You could get a Mac mini for only $499, or a fully-featured iMac G5 with an LCD display for $1,299 (the educational discount prices are even lower!) and get not only all the cool features in Tiger, but also a great suite of 'digital lifestyle' apps, iLife, and discover a whole new way of computing.