Mac fans are getting keyed up for the imminent launch of Tiger, which, according to Apple, will launch in the first half of this year.

Macworld readers were asked: "What Tiger feature are you looking forward to the most?" in an online poll. With 1,532 votes cast it emerged that more than a quarter (29 per cent) were most excited about Dashboard.

Almost another quarter (24 per cent) is looking forward to searching with Spotlight.

"Crystal clear video in QuickTime 7" was the most popular choice of 15 per cent of readers. While the next popular new feature, Automator, was the choice of 7 per cent.

Less popular choices were iChat AV (5 per cent), "Up-to-the-minute RSS feeds in Safari" (3 per cent), .Mac Sync (2 per cent) and "VoiceOver's spoken English interface" (1 per cent).

Another 5 per cent chose the "something else option", explaining more in the forum, and 7 per cent stated: "None, Tiger just doesn't do it for me".

One reader commented that he was "surprised Dashboard is so popular, especially as it's been available for ages," referring to Konfabulator's long-available Widget engine. Another reader replied that "Konfabulator is more like Desk Accessories than Dashboard. They're not even near in terms of design and functionality."

"Spotlight is the thing that's most likely to make a big difference. It will revolutionise the way that we can find information without having to be careful where we store specific items," was the opinion of another reader.

Another reader believes Spotlight may do more than just make Mac users lives easier. "Mac 'Find' is already good compared to the complete 'dog' that comes with Windows. But if Spotlight does for Mac what Google Desktop Search does for the PC, then it will change the way one uses a computer forever," he predicts.

But not all Mac users feel the need for Spotlight. "I'm a pretty organised guy so I'm not that excited about Spotlight," said one.

QuickTime 7 is the most "anticipated release" for another reader. He explained: "I can see that the TV/movie consumer possibilities could simply multiply by summer. Having a massive increase in codec efficiency will bring major benefits for mobile/small bandwidth devices – maybe streaming DVD over AirTunes?"

It is thanks to QuickTime 7 that iChat video conferencing will have so much to offer. One reader expects to get a lot of use out of this feature. He explained: "My sister and I are in the process of 'converting' Mum and Dad to iMacs. I've sorted out broadband for them, and soon, we will video chat. As the 5-hour round trip is getting much harder to make this will prove an excellent way for them to chat to us and the grandchildren fantastically easily."

Other reasons for eagerly anticipating Tiger are: "Greater stability and hopefully a 'snappier/faster' user interface," according to one reader, and "compatibility with upgraded G3s", in the opinion of another.