Now in its third major release (version 10.3), Mac OS X has been called many things, from revolutionary to evolutionary to being so innovative that it threatens the very existence of the Mac as we have come to know and love it. And all of those descriptions are appropriate.
The first release of Mac OS X (version 10.1) was a giant leap forward for the Mac platform. Its innovations in basic architecture, the way it works, and even its user interface made Mac OS X the most significant event for Mac users since the first Mac was introduced back in the Jurassic period, circa 1984. Mac OS X version 10.1 was more stable, more powerful, and even more beautiful than any previous version. However, version 10.1 had some rough spots, not surprising at all because it was the first release of a brand-new OS (despite the version number implying it was the successor to Mac OS 9).
About a year later, version 10.2 was released. This release smoothed many of the rough edges left over from version 10.1 and added many new features. Due to some fundamental improvements in the core operating system, version 10.2 caused some ripples in the Mac universe because many applications had to be updated to run under that version.
And now, we have version 10.3 under which Mac OS X is showing the maturity of its more than two years of life. Version 10.3 continues the process of refining the OS along with adding some excellent new features, such as a totally redesigned Finder, Expose, improved applications, and so on. It also continues to improve the stability and performance of the OS. Much of the foundation work for the OS was accomplished by the previous two releases; version 10.3 is less disruptive than the previous releases while continuing to make major improvements in functionality, reliability, and performance.
Mac OS X is a very powerful and feature-rich OS. Although many of the features of the OS are intuitive, some might not be obvious to you. And because of the amazing number of powerful applications that are part of the standard Mac OS X installation, such as iMovie, iTunes, and many others, using Mac OS X effectively is much more than just manipulating the Finder and using the Dock. That is where this book comes in.