April 29, 2005 10:00 AM PDT

This week in Tiger

Apple Computer released this week its new operating system, Mac OS X 10.4, or more simply--Tiger.

The highly anticipated launch attracted crowds to Apple stores worldwide. Apple used the release to launch the new Apple store in Birmingham, England--only the second in Europe. While the store didn't attract opening crowds of the size seen at its brethren store to the south in London last November, Birmingham's Bullring shopping center saw its share of Mac fans camping out for the grand opening of Apple's retail outlet there on Friday.

An hour before the scheduled release, more than 400 people had lined up outside the store. Most of those waiting said they were looking forward to features such as Spotlight and Dashboard. Some of the laptops in the line, in fact, were already running development versions of Tiger.

Promising more than 200 new features, Tiger has been one of the most anticipated software events of the year.

Typically, new operating systems from Apple don't generate this much buzz because the company comes out with one just about every year. But new features such as Spotlight, a desktop-search technology, and Dashboard, a new way to access information, got people talking as the release date neared. Spotlight is considered the most important of the new features because it promises to let people search their hard drive for files just as they would search for a Web page using Google.

However, corporate customers that use Cisco Systems' virtual private network technology to connect to their company's network while on the road will have to a wait to use Tiger. Cisco confirmed that Tiger won't come with support for Cisco's VPN client. Cisco is advising users of its VPN client to delay upgrading to the new operating system until support is ready--sometime in May.

Apple also introduced upgraded models of its Power Mac G5 desktop that come up with to 8GB of 400MHz DDR SDRAM and a graphics card with up to 256MB of video memory.

The top model in the series has two 2.7GHz processors, each with an independent 1.35GHz front-side bus for bandwidth of up to 21.6 gigabytes per second, the company said. The computer, which supports Apple's 30-inch cinema high-definition display, comes with a 250GB hard drive and starts at $2,999.

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