Apple have released Mac OS X 10.4. The new OS hits the shops at 6pm today, and promises to offer many new features - Spotlight, Automator and an updated version of Safari being some of them.

"We think that people using Mac OS X Tiger will be in the Spotlight menu all the time. You can go there to find documents, pictures, applications or anything else you want. All roads lead to Spotlight." - Brian Croll, Apple's senior director of Software Product Marketing.

Spotlight provides a service that can go through the entire contents of the computer quickly to find files, in a manner that is similar to Google's desktop search tool. Yet another application, called Dashboard, lets users build a page of 'widgets', small updatable functions like a clock, weather forecast or travel information.

Long awaited, Tiger has apparently already been received well. An article I found on The Inquirer calls Tiger "the best version of Mac OSX yet". Arstechnica also has a review of the new OS, spread out over a full 21 pages. Don't forget, Tiger adds 64-bit support for the Apple platform as well.

With Tiger, Mac users will get a 64-bit system for the first time. In plain English, this does not mean it will run twice as fast as the current 32-bit system. Memory-hungry applications like databases should benefit. But 64-bit lays down a solid foundation for the next generation of computing.

Meanwhile, the "Tiger" name might turn out to be a bad choice for Apple to have made. The computing giant has been hit with a lawsuit by Tiger Direct, who all allege that the Tiger name encroaches on the name of the firm. A subsidiary of Systemax, Tiger Direct filed the suit yesterday.

In its lawsuit, Tiger Direct alleges Apple's infringement on its trademark has had far-reaching implications.

"Apple Computer's use of the term 'Tiger' has also affected search results in Internet search engines. Internet search for the term 'tiger' would result in Tiger Direct being the sole provider of computers, computer software and computer related products. Tiger Direct would also almost always appear in the first three responses to such a search," the lawsuit states.