Today, Apple announced a sneak peek of their upcoming operating system Tiger. Yes, it’s got better 64bit capabilities, amazing new video conferencing abilities, and a new ‘dashboard’. One of the things I think most will miss with all the glitz and shine, is how Apple is gunning for the Enterprise.
With Core Image Apple has created a GPU accelerated method of image manipulation for things like distortions, scaling, colour correction, and many more. With Automator anyone can set up a multi-step workflow and apply it to a dynamic set of files, through an easy graphical interface.
I have several friends who are professional photographers. They take more than 1,000 pictures at any particular event. In their setup, they have decided that they would shoot at ISO 100 for B&W, and ISO 200 for colour photographs. They also square-crop all of their photographs, but depending on the camera they use, the squaring process is different (some cameras use the 3:2 aspect ratio of film, whereas some cameras use 4:3 aspect ratio of traditional computer monitors). It was difficult for them to fully automate their workflow due to time and cost.
Now they can create an ‘Automation’ to do a Spotlight search to find all images on disk(s), rename them, and sort them based on camera model and ISO (from the searched EXIF data), and with Core Image, perform the square-cropping operation, de-saturation, stroking, copying, scaling and archiving using Automator. After the script is known to work correctly, call the Automator script via Applescript and attach it as a folder action.
Now we have “zero click” professional-level workflows that anyone can make. You’ll want to let that idea sink in for a bit.
Sync is now the front end of the OS-wide synchronisation facility. You can synchronise your files and preferences across your personal machines, or, with OS X Server, fully automate the synchronisation and backup process throughout your company.
iChat AV now supports the new H264 codec to allow up to three simultaneous video streams in a single video conference, and up to ten members for audio-only teleconferencing. Tiger Server allows you to host your own iChat server, allowing for secure connections between participants.
Tiger sports robust, pervasive meta-data support for file attributes. Popular proprietary file types are supported such as Word, Excel, and the Adobe suite. Luckily for me and other photographers, EXIF data is also supported. The front end to the meta data is Spotlight, allowing you to perform live searches, much like you do currently in iTunes. As the results come in, they are automatically categorised into logical groups. You can then fine-tune the results by showing or hiding groups, or refining your search criteria. Tiger also comes with a command-line version of Spotlight, allowing you to generate very specific search results to be fed into your shell scripts. The meta-data support allows other Apple utilities such as the Address Book, Mail, and the Finder to have “smart playlist”-like groups. Brilliant.
If the above doesn’t convince you that Apple is aiming for the enterprise, perhaps things like Xgrid, an NT migration tool, mobile Home directories, 64bit support, a new Software Update server, Access Control Lists, “stealth-mode” port knocking, and high availability failover will convince you.
Earlier: My New House (Part 1)