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Friday, October 22, 2004, 04:00 pm PT (07:00 pm ET)

New Tiger builds reveal smart font collections, security additions, more

Sources uncover new eye candy, smart font collections, a security certificate assistant, and more in some of the latest development builds of Apple next-generation operating system.

Smart Font Collections

Along with Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" will come the first major update to Apple's font management application, labeled Font Book 2.0. In addition to more flexible validation features, recent builds of the application feature smart font collections.

Much like the smart mailboxes technology coming to Mail 2.0, smart font collections will allow users to automatically generate groups of fonts based on their attributes. Some of the attributes available for use are font name, family, style, kind, languages, and Postscript name. Similarly, Font Book searches can also be based off the same set of attributes in the new version.



Additional Font Book improvements are said include a font validation manager, and the ability to create separate font libraries and export font selections, sources said.

Added Security Options

Continuing to focus on one of the strengths of Mac OS X—security—Apple has developed a "Certificate Assistant" that will likely find its way into the shipping version of Tiger.

"This assistant will help you create a 'digital certificate,' which keeps your information secure by verifying your identity when you transfer over a network or the internet," reads one of the application's info panels.



Identities will be stored in a user's keychain. The assistant can also be used to evaluate existing certificates, request a certificate from the Certificate Authority (CA), or issue certificates to other users.

More Default Screen Savers

Screen savers remain a popular and handy feature of Mac OS X, and Tiger will reportedly include at least two new offerings in this area. One of the new screen savers, Apple News, extracts Apple's Hot News content from an XML document and displays it amongst an array of colors and trademark Apple images. As second addition, called iTunes artwork, will gather a user's iTunes album art collection and and display it as animated tiles that alternate with the help of flip-motion effects.



All the Rest

With each new seed of Tiger, Apple has continued to add and refine features. Some other notable changes to the system include a Startup Disk control panel that can set volumes to boot in target disk mode, a microphone calibration assistant, and an ever evolving Keychain application interface.

Apple has said that Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger will ship within the first half of 2005. And while several rumors have hinted at a release as early as January, it's extremely unlikely that Apple could wrap up the development of the new system within the next two months, considering a large majority of its features are still seeing modifications.

Earlier this week, AppleInsider reported on QuickTime and Family Control enhancements in Tiger.