Apple Computer has released an upgrade to its Tiger operating system. The update includes several bug fixes and some entirely new features.
Considered a minor upgrade, Mac OS X 10.4.3 now gives Mac customers the ability to encrypt instant-messaging sessions over the company's iChat application.
Also notable in this release is the update to Apple's Safari Web browser, the new version of which has passed the Acid2 Web standard compatibility test. Acid2 was written to help browser vendors ensure that their products correctly support features preferred by Web designers.
According to Apple, the new version of OS X improves several Tiger features. These include better responsiveness during Spotlight searches in the Finder, improved compatibility of Safari with many Web cams, and more flexibility in mail functions.
Also refreshed in this release are functions in the calculator, disk utilities, and Keychain Access searches.
The update also eliminates several bugs in areas such as the Traditional Chinese input method, keyboard shortcuts for Palm Desktop, and mouse button configurations with Microsoft IntelliPoint.
In releasing the new system, Apple is indicating a clear focus on dealing with system vulnerabilities, security experts have noted. The Tiger upgrade bundles earlier standalone security updates and includes several new security fixes.
The new version of the update addresses flaws in both the client and server versions of the system. Most notably, bugs have been eliminated in Software Update, the Finder, and group-permissions functions.
One update focused on the system's Keychain, which had a tendency to display certain passwords after the lock timeout, while three others addressed problems in the kernel that were related to display of memory information to local users.
"Apple has done much better at dealing with issues in the past couple years than it did before," said Secunia security researcher Thomas Kristensen.
"Their policies have been improved, so that makes their releases stronger," he added. "But anything that strengthens security, whether it's from Apple or not, is always welcome."