With the release of Mac OS X 10.3, "The change in Mac OS X is as dramatic as the difference between a jaguar and a panther – they are different beasts," writes the Independent newspaper.

"It's clear Apple's engineers have gone around every facet of the software and asked whether it could be made better, clearer, easier to use," the report states. It discusses Finder, Open/Save and other enhancements in OS X 10.3. "Open/Save is better than it ever was in the classic Mac OS", the report claims.

The Independent review confirms that the new OS is faster than before, with faster logins; and more efficient in use. Apple's Expose feature wins praise – it's "unparalleled", the Independent says. Apple's EMEA marketing director, Oren Ziv, last week described it as: "Something another software developer is trying to develop as part of its next OS update, due out in 2005, or 2006."

The report praises Panther's fast user-switching – essentially a seamless way Mac users can share the same Mac with their own defined user accounts, with no need to restart the machine. Such features as script support in different elements of the system, and the ability of TextEdit to open and save in Word format also win praise.

"I think Apple is hoping – very hard – that the Windows integration in Panther will finally make Macs more popular with companies," the Independent writes.

"It depends on whether it can get the message over that it's easier to work in OS X than XP (and having tried both, I know which I prefer). Certainly, the first part in winning that argument is having the product to prove it. Certainly, Panther is that," it concludes.