The changes that have been made to 10.4 are certainly sufficient to warrant an upgrade. The speed improvements offered by the new graphics rendering engine can give a new lease of life to some older Macs, and if nothing else, Tiger offers better system performance for a one-off fee.
The technology behind Spotlight is incredible. While the Windows team at Microsoft has spent the last few years talking up the desktop search facility of Longhorn, Apple has had its head down actually implementing its own version. It’s better, faster, more efficient and indexes more types of content than Google Desktop Search, and the added benefit of Smart Folders means that it can potentially alter the way you work drastically.
Dashboard is just the latest in a number of UI improvements that make OSX so much easier and more efficient to use than Windows XP. For many Mac users, going back to XP is something of a joke at best – or at worst, a thoroughly frustrating user experience that one only endures in order to play some decent games.
Because for all the improvements that Apple has made to OSX, it loses out to Windows in two areas. The first is that the hardware simply isn’t as fast or as cheap as it should be. While the Mac Mini has made a decent dent in the budget computer sector, the PowerBooks and PowerMacs still offer less for your money than an equivalently specified PC. Secondly, an average consumer wants to play games – and while support for Apple has been getting better over recent years, it is still nowhere near as good as Windows. For most people, solely using an Apple wouldn’t be an option without a secondary machine – be it a console or a PC – for gaming on.
With that said, there’s little that’s bad to say about Tiger. Some may balk at the idea of £90 for a few upgrades and a new search feature, but there are so many intangibles – security improvements and the like – that will never been seen or understood by most consumers, that all-in-all, the new features add up to make Tiger a must-have for any Mac user.