Automator didn’t let the side down either. It works in its own dedicated split screen window and a user builds up commands in one window like resize, watermark, encrypt and rename (to mention just a few) and then drags any number of files onto it and watches as they all undergo the processes you just specified. Any series of commands can then be saved as a plug-in which becomes part of the interface allowing it to be performed at any time.
Moving away from innovation and onto improvements, we come to iChat AV which now supports H.264 (the next gen Mpeg codec used by both HDDVD and Blu-ray). Since H.264 is scaleable it is ideal not only for high def video (of which the trailer Croll showed us for Fantasic Four was just mind blowing), but also video conferencing. After some trouble with the Hotel’s temperamental network, Croll successfully showed us full screen four way video conferencing (below) that made the whole room gasp. A cute feature of the revised iChat AV is also seen when you are in an audio only conference and a volume bar appears under each name so you can always tell who is speaking.
Catching up with Firefox is Safari, which now carries support for RSS and takes the technology one step further than we have seen before in a browser by allowing multiple RSS streams to be combined into a single feed. This can then be sorted by date, site, document length and so on and so on. Mail has made strides too. Its visuals have been refreshed and handy tools added such as built in image rescaling (useful when sending pictures by mail) and a slideshow button (handy when receiving mail with multiple images).
After all this, software basics like compatibility with 64bit computing and backward compatibility with 32bit were just expected rather than marvelled at. In all - despite being a cynical English journalist - I was deeply impressed by Tiger. There is much more to it than the step from 10.3 (Panther) to 10.4 (Tiger) suggests. I am still anxious for some hands on testing but, that one reservation aside, I can see no reason why any self respecting Mac owner would not be keen to upgrade this Friday. Croll even received a round of applause at the end, something commonplace in American briefings, but very rare in the UK.
If you do decide to take the plunge, pricing is as follows: a single user licence will set you back £89, a “Family Pack” (single residence, five user licence) goes for £139, the server version begins at £349 for a 10 client edition and all the way up to £699 for an unlimited client edition. All prices include VAT.
Note: Fashion Police Alert
I can’t finish this article without drawing your attention to what a lot of sharp eyed readers have probably already spotted in the periphery: our seats. Yup, this “Pimp My Conference Room” approach was certainly brave with its alternating red and cartoon cow hide-esque black and white finishes, but was it wise? Depends if you happen to be Snoop Dog I guess?
Despite being slightly blinded by them on exit, you'll be happy to know I managed to leave the hotel without assaulting any more celebrities. No mean feat as you stumble out of Soho...