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Wednesday, June 02, 2004, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger to sport updated Finder, .Mac integration

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger will include tighter integration with Apple's internet services and sport a refreshed Finder interface, according to reports that cannot be positively confirmed, but are believed to reflect accurate information on the latest builds of the OS.

Redesigned and improved .Mac integration

Reportedly, Tiger will feature a completely redesigned .Mac online services environment with added features. Aside from an overhaul to the look and feel of the .Mac website later this year, the computer company is also said to be working to revolutionize the way .Mac and its services are integrated into the Tiger operating system.

Faster iDisk performance

As part of the redesign to .Mac, Apple will be upgrading its numerous servers which power the service, sources said. This move, coupled with numerous other performance enhancements planned for Tiger, is said to greatly increase the speed at which users can access and mount their .Mac iDisks in the Mac OS X Finder.

Updated Finder and Mac OS X interface

Of course, no major Apple OS upgrade would be complete without several user experience and interface changes. The latest internal builds of Tiger reportedly sport a much improved Finder window sidebar, which sources have described as looking more like a 'web page' sidebar, than the current and icon-name scheme presented in Mac OS X 10.3 Panther.

Along with these appearance changes, sources said that Apple will be broadening the functionality of the sidebar, specifically adding interaction with the internet. And while sources provided no specific details of functionality, industry analysts speculate that users of Tiger will be able to drag and drop internet bookmarks into the sidebar, for immediate Finder access to choice web pages and services.

Sources also said that Apple plans to add several new 3D effects to Tiger, but provided no specific details.

Deployment and cost

Apple will perform the first public presentation of Mac OS X 10.4 Panther during its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in late June. According to sources, Apple will issue the first developer release of the OS to conference attendees, with an official market retail release planned for October.

There are also mumblings that the company may plan to charge more for the Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger update than it did for last year's Mac OS X 10.3 Panther refresh, though AppleInsider could not immediately confirm these rumors.

Apple last year provided developers with the first developer release of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther during its WWDC 2003 conference in late June, and followed with the retail release in late October.