Apple has announced that Mac OS X version 10.4, also known as Tiger, will go on sale on Friday, April 29.

Mac OS 10 Tiger box

The eagerly awaited operating system update will go on sale from 6pm, with a series of special events being held at Apple's retail stores and at Apple Authorized Resellers.

The product will retail at £89 including VAT in the UK. This is ten pounds less than previous versions of the operating system. A five user family pack is available for £139.

Anyone who buys an Apple Mac after April 12 will qualify for a free operating system update, although they will be required to pay a £12 handling fee.

It is possible to pre-order copies of Tiger at Apple's online store now.

New features

Mac OS X Tiger brings 64-bit computing power to the Mac, as well as new graphics and video technologies. It also includes 200 new features according to Apple, but the ones the company is making the biggest fuss about, and the ones most eagerly anticipated by Mac users are as follows:

Spotlight's search technology makes it possible to search files, emails, contacts, images, movies, calendars and applications at once. It is also possible to save results as Smart Folders that update automatically.

Dashboard's Widgets are mini-applications that make checking stocks and weather, looking up phone numbers, performing calculations, and finding dictionary definitions possible at the click of a button.

Automator is a personal assistant for automating time-consuming and repetitive manual tasks. Apple says it's simple to create custom Workflows just by dragging items, pointing and clicking.

Safari now comes with an RSS feed, pulling information and articles from thousands of web sites in one simple-to-read, searchable article.

iChat AV makes multi-way video and audio conferencing possible, with true-to-life picture and sound quality, according to Apple.

QuickTime 7 now comes with user-friendly controls and pristine video using the ultra-efficient H.264 video codec for crisp, clear video in much smaller files.

Better integration with .Mac; improved Mail management; parental controls; spoken-language support; are come with the new version.