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From what little I’ve seen of Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger”, I can’t say I’m terribly, horribly, awfully impressed. Then again, I haven’t watched the keynote and I haven’t been privy to all the buzz floating around the web since the preview… so I might be missing out on something. Damn this tropical island paradise and its disconnectivity. By–the–minute internet cafés really aren’t as useful as they seem.

Dashboard is, of course, the big bad Konfabulator killer… but not being a Konfabulator user, I can only really say “meh”. John is, as always, on top with the facts; so I suggest you read his take. But it’s funny; Dashboard gadgets are just little floating WebKit views… you don’t hear Steven Frank bitching that Apple “stole” WebDesktop from him.

The new Safari parses RSS/Atom! Huzzah! Unfortunate that it refers to it all as RSS (“feeds” would be nice), but that’s something for another time. I imagine that the more paranoid amongst us might see this as some kind of threat to desktop feed aggregators as a whole; but more realistically, Safari’s feature set is far too limited to pose a threat and can only help to bring syndication to a whole new crowd of non–geek Mac users. People like Brent and Erik could only see this as an opportunity to increase sales; their products are the logical “next step” to anybody who likes the concept of feeds, but finds Safari too limiting. On the same topic, the introduction of system–level Sync APIs will save a lot of developers a lot of time… particularly those who are in the middle of home–growing their synchronization tools.

Spotlight… hmmm. It’s hard to say “LaunchBar killer” with a straight face, considering how clumsy Spotlight looks by comparison. LaunchBar has become such an integral part of my daily workflow that I can’t imagine life without it… and I can’t imagine Spotlight taking its place too easily. Objective Development is already way ahead of the curve so, as with Safari RSS, newbies will stick with the bundled stuff; people who need something more with pay for something more. It’s the circle of life. Or, uh, software. Automator looks to be something interesting, that much is certain, but it looks to me like a natural extension of (or, perhaps, a restoration of) the old–school AppleScript recordability function. Record a task performed in the GUI and then play it back? Without having to actually write AppleScript or rely on the potentially shitty AppleScript support of a hojillion different applications? Inconceivable. About time, too.

All said, Tiger just isn’t as impressive at first blush as Panther was this time last year… the big–ticket items aren’t there; the new Finder, the Exposé, the FileVault. That isn’t to say we all won’t upgrade as soon as humanly possible, but it would appear the dot–upgrades just don’t wow like they used to. Now we wait ‘til playtime.