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Last Updated: Friday, 29 April, 2005, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Apple sets Tiger free on public
Apple users buying Tiger upgrade, AFP
Japanese Apple users were the first to get hold of Tiger
Apple is releasing the Tiger update to its core operating system today.

The package is the fourth upgrade for Apple's OS X software since it was launched in 2001. OS X is the base operating system for Mac machines.

Fans were queuing up at Apple stores around the world to be among the first to get their hands on the update.

Among the 200 new features in Tiger are a powerful desktop search system called Spotlight and a set of reference tools called Dashboard.

Tool chest

The Spotlight tool creates an index of all the files on an Apple computer and peers inside documents and other files to get information about their contents.

The tools lets people create smart folders that keep track of all the items included in them even if files are moved or have their names changed.

Spotlight searches can also be saved and turned into folders that run when they are clicked on.

Another anticipated feature is Dashboard which brings together lots of tools, given the name widgets, that perform lots of reference tasks.

Dashboard widgets include a dictionary, stock information, weather reports, phone book, translator and flight checker. Users will also be able to create their own widgets.

Also included is the iChat system that lets people set up video conferencing with up to 3 other people.

The server version of Tiger also has basic blogging tools built in that could be used by companies to let employees write their own web journals.

The last update for OSX, known as Panther, was released in December 2003.

Many of the features found in Tiger are expected to be in Microsoft's next version of Windows known as Longhorn. However, Longhorn is not expected to be available until late 2006.

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