Apple is taking Tiger to 11.
The company released a major update to Mac OS X 10.4 on Wednesday that delivers several improvements, fixes some bugs, and patches several security holes identified in recent months. Mac OS X 10.4.11 is immediately available through Software Update, or it can be downloaded from Apple's Web site.
Listing every feature contained in the new update would probably set a record for wordiness in this blog, so I'm not going to do that, and instead will point you here to an informational document on Apple's site. A couple of highlights that I will call out are RAW image support for some Panasonic, Olympus, Leica, and Canon cameras as well as reliability improvements for Intel-based Macs running VMware's Fusion virtualization software. Other Mac users might be interested to know that 10.4.11 improves the reliability of mounting external hard drives and a Mac's compatibility with third-party wireless networking equipment, which has been a perennial issue for me and my Linksys router.
Dozens of security updates were delivered along with the 10.4.11 release, some of which could theoretically lead to remote code execution. All of those patches are included as part of the update--you won't need to download them separately--and Ryan Naraine at ZDNet has more details on what has been fixed. A separate batch of security patches is also available for Panther users (Mac OS X 10.3) that corrects the issues contained in the Tiger security updates that are also relevant to Panther users.
Another point worth noting is that Safari 3 is now officially out of beta for Mac users, and it's included along with the rest of the update. Those using Safari 3 on Windows, however, are still still in beta, and they need to download a security update released on Wednesday along with the rest of the downloads.
To top it all off, Apple released updates for several applications like iPhoto and some professional tools like Final Cut Pro. The entire list of downloads made available Wednesday can be found here, but Software Update should prompt you to download the ones that are relevant to your system.
There are two choices for the update: you can download just the 10.4.11 update if you've kept current with the other incremental releases, or you can download a combo update if you're still running 10.4.9 or earlier versions of Tiger. The standalone update for Intel Macs is 128MBs, while the combo update is 321.5MBs. The PowerPC versions are about half that size.
I asked an Apple representative why they just didn't make Mac OS X 10.4.10 more complete, and he said, "But this one goes to 11." (Just kidding.) The first update to Leopard, Mac OS X 10.5.1, should be out fairly soon if Apple follows the same plan it did after it released Tiger in April 2005.