Final WordsBear in mind that I'm still just as much of a Windows/PC user as I've ever been (potentially now with more open of a mind), but the argument that Apple charging $130 for Tiger is like Microsoft charging $130 for Service Pack 2 is quite possibly the worst argument that I've ever heard. On my best, most verbose day, I couldn't come up with enough stuff to write about a service pack as I've talked about today here with Tiger. Like it or not, there is a lot that has changed in Tiger, but obviously, the question is whether or not it is worth the $129 entry fee.
For me, the answer is simple - I'm too much of an early adopter to not want to jump on Tiger and install it any and everywhere that I possibly can. Features like Dashboard and Spotlight alone were enough to sell me on the OS, but I think that as I become more comfortable and accustomed to using Smart Folders and other smaller improvements, Tiger will be even more of a sell for someone like me.
But I have to find it difficult recommending a product that's clearly unfinished, and clearly not without bugs. None of the bugs that I encountered were show stoppers, but I'm not one to support pre-release products that are being shipped as final. So, if you're expecting a perfect user experience with Tiger, you'll be close, but not quite there. I'm hoping that the 10.4.1 update fixes all of my issues, but for now, don't expect a flawless $129 experience.
For students, given that the price of Tiger is only $69, I'd say there's no reason not to make the move. Engineers will definitely appreciate the inclusion of a programmer's calculator as well as Grapher, and if you're in college, chances are that you can use Spotlight's forgiveness when it comes to poor organization.
Of course, then there's the obvious comparison to Longhorn. I don't believe that Tiger today will be what Longhorn is when it is eventually released, but all indications seem to point to Apple evolving Tiger quite a bit over the coming years. Enabling Quartz 2D Extreme and applications taking more advantage of Dashboard, Spotlight and Tiger's Core technologies will improve things tremendously down the road. Although there has not been much said about what's going to happen now that Tiger is done, I can't help but feel like Tiger is very much a work in progress and what we've been show thus far is the first part of a very interesting evolution of technology. Then again, maybe I'm completely off base, and maybe it's just that I expected Tiger to be so much more than it ended up being. Maybe it's wishful thinking being born out of a case of software buyer's remorse. Only time will tell.
What's important to me is that the features and usage that originally intrigued me about the Mac platform have not changed, and if anything, the entire package is made more tempting by Tiger. I am very curious to see if Microsoft can truly duplicate or surpass the overall package that I've been so impressed with when it comes time for Longhorn - they sure seem to be talking like that's the case.
Looking at today, it's an important day for Apple, a day to celebrate a very impressive OS launch - but I get the feeling that no one at Apple is celebrating quite yet. It seems like there's still quite a bit of work left to be done.