Tiger User Interface

April 16, 2005

Last week Apple finally announced the next major update of Mac OS, codename Tiger. Beside some great new features Tiger will also ship with a slightly redesigned user interface.

No doubt — once again Apple will delight use with dozens of great enhancements to Mac OS such as the new search technology Spotlight, the Konfabulator clone Dashboard, Safari 2.0 aka “Safari RSS” as well as the promising update of Apple Mail. And those of you who have already taken a look at the Mac OS section on Apple’s website may have noticed the subtle changes concerning the user interface.


The separator between the title bar and the toolbar has been removed and pinestripe background has been replaced by some sort of gradient, which makes the interface look much cleaner. And as far as I can tell from several screenshots this is not the only aspect that has been somewhat polished by Apple — just take a look at the current screens of Apple Mail 2.0.

The new User interface of Apple Mail 2.0

The mailboxes have been moved from the drawer to some kind of sidebar, which also makes the application look much cleaner and easier to use, especially for people that have recently switched from a PC. The only downside of this new approach is that it no longer seems possible to display the mailboxes either on the right or left side of the mail listing. Personally I prefer the mailboxes on the right side. Well, but maybe also this will be possible. We will see.

Toolbar buttons

Another revised user interface element are the new toolbar buttons that are no longer grouped by conventionell separators but via some sort of button or shared background color. Hm, personally I’m not a big fan of this new style mainly because it’s yet another way of displaying buttons. We already have a great lack of consistency in Aqua as well as brushed metal applications…

However the overall impression of Mac OS Tiger is really positive and I’m looking forward to updating my Mac as soon as possible. Actually I’ve just ordered Tiger in the Apple Store :) So what do you think? Will you update to Tiger instantly or will you wait for the first one or two updates?


I would update if I had a mac. But although I got no mac, I can say, I didn’t like stuff like the “old” drawer — this sidebar (e.g. in mail) looks a lot cleaner and better. I really like it — I should finally buy a mac!


Ich hols mir wenn ich mir (gegen herbst) ein neues PB kauf… Hätte es aber doch ganz gern schon jetzt *schmacht*


Agreed! I love everything about the new interface styles — except those Mail buttons. They seem like a real backward step to me. First thing I’m going to when I get Tiger is get cutomising!

Jon Hicks

Totally in agreement, Those buttons are downright nasty, and were the first thing when I first saw mail 2.0 to jump out at me (and subsequently punch me in the retinas) Can’t wait to see what great replacements/solutions you guys come up with :D


oh ya, and to answer your question wolfgang , I’ll probably upgrade to Tiger when they bundle get it free with a new powerbook :)


I won’t upgrade. I will also wait until Tiger is bundled with all Macs and then I’ll probably buy a Powerbook …


For me I think, “Tiger” is the definite argument to change completely from Windows to Apple. Since today I’m using both systems but now I’m eating only apples. :)


Its great to see Apple publicising and explain everything about Mac OS X on Apple.com Pervious to Tiger they highlighted features that were on avaliable in the current update but now they go into so much detail — explaining things from Aqua down the smaller apps like Address Book, even Websharing is mentioned is great detail. Hopefully this will lure switchers to what I believe is the pinacle of computing today. Tiger rules :D

Chris McElligott

A few days to go… and I’ll switch from Windows to Apple. I’ll buy a PowerMac bundled with “Tiger”. The waiting was soo long.


Another great feature of Tiger is the enhanced sync functionality providing you with a way to sync nearly everything, such as mail accounts, rules or keychains. Excellent. However even though I own a .Mac account I would appreciate if it also worked with a simple WebDAV server.


Speaking of Mail: is there a way to improve the Thread-View? Mail just displays all e-Mails in a Thread “flat”, Thunderbird does not, it displays them in a sort of tree wich is way better as you can see who answered to whom (in Mailing-Lists mainly)…


As far a I can tell from several screenshots there are no modifications to the thread view — the respective mails are just grouped, but not organized hierarchically by means of a treeview.


You can view threads in a tree view in the existing Mail (View -> Organize by Thread) but I see what you mean a proper forum-type tree view would be cool. Have to agree with Jon Hicks, those new Mail buttons are but ugly!! although the rest of the interface looks nice. Nice site by the way!

Jamie Hill

Cannot wait for the hack to move the mailboxes pane back to the right where I always had them — having them on the left is a real pain and a definte backwards step — just like the buttons. Pre Tiger interface for Mail was far better.

Chris Chew

Download and run CageFighter if you want Mail 2.0 to look a little less ugly. Link Personally I wish Apple had just gone all the way and given Mail 2.0 a brushed metal interface instead of this weird half-aqua, half-metal one. There’s too much bland gray in it. It’s a step backward appearance-wise. Long stretches of gray are soooooo Windows 95. I’m seriously considering switching to Entourage because Mail 2.0 is so ugly.

Crawling Mushroom Syndicate

Frankly, I think even Panther was ugly. The UI has gone downhill since Jaguar. The mail switch to having things on the left is also a poor change. I hope you can at least choose to keep smaller icons…. -----

Daniel Child

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