Mac OS X
was released on September 29, 2001
, with a free upgrade
for existing OS X users. The improvements over the previous versions are
immense, especially in terms of speed.
These speed improvements and feature additions,
as well as a large number of application
s launching with its release, mean that
it would be fair to say that this is the first true consumer
's new OS
. Users of the first release were largely early adopter
who were willing to forgo
important features such as DVD
playback and initially
in order to use the OS.
Changes in Mac OS X 10.1 include:
This is the most noticable improvement. The speed of earlier versions was often very poor,
particularly in the Finder. Menus were slow to open, applications were
sluggish launching, and switching windows was often painfully slow.
Thankfully this has been vastly improved. Applications launch in around one quarter the time
that they took before. The Finder is snappier and more responsive and windows can be
switched and minimized very quickly. OpenGL is also a lot faster: 20% faster, Apple claim.
- Finder and Aqua
Several useful new features have been added to the Finder, such as independently -
resizable columns, a more customisable toolbar and a moveable and less buggy Dock.
- True plug and play
Take a digital camera and plug it into the USB port on a Mac running 10.1, and
the OS recognizes the camera with no drivers required!
It will mount as a volume and the new Image Capture app will open, or if you have it, iPhoto.
The same goes for printers - most USB printers are recognized
automatically with no drivers to install, and PPDs are included for most Postscript
printers too. Nice.
- Improved CD/DVD support
When OS X was first launched, it couldn't play DVDs or write CDs. CD burning was later added,
but only within iTunes. 10.1 now supports drag and drop CD and DVD burning
within the Finder. Insert a blank CD-R or (if you're SuperDrive-equipped) DVD-R,
and it will mount as a blank volume. You can then move files to that disk, and
when you eject or press the burn button on your toolbar, it will
be burnt. This is very slick, and refreshingly quick and easy compared to using Toast
or similar. DVD playback is now supported at last, too and there is a new version of Apple's consumer DVD authoring tool iDVD
- Networking improvements
SAMBA is now included with OS X, enabling users to connect to Windows fileservers.
XML-RPC and SOAP support has been added to AppleScript, meaning scripts
and applications can send AppleEvents to remote computers, or use internet services
that support these protocols.
PHP 4.0.6 now comes installed with Apache, unlike in previous versions where it was
installed but strangely non-functional.
iDisk, Apple's fileserver service, is built into the OS, but now uses WebDAV
as its protocol, rather than AppleShare AFP. This makes for much more stable usage as
persistant connections aren't needed.
An important consideration for anyone developing software on Mac OS X, is that you MUST
upgrade the developer tools too. They can be downloaded for free. The upgrade
breaks the old compiler
, but the upgraded dev tools include versions of
that support the new two level symbol namespace
introduced in this version.
In conclusion: if you've been waiting to try OS X, now is the time to dive in. The
bug fixes and new features in this release show the fact that this is really what
Apple needed to release in the first place. Version 10.0 was essentially another beta,
though I used it for 4 months as my primary OS with only minor problems other than performance issues. This version, however, is so much better. Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) is due to be released in August 2002, and it offers over more improvements than 10.1 did, though for a price.