Mac OSX Leopard – Another Look at What We Know

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I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at what we already know about Leopard as we await the final version. Technology in any form comes at us way too fast and I find that really using it comes through the process of re-discovery. Let’s take a look…

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It’s been a fairly amazing road map for Apple in recent years with the switch to Unix, Intel was a huge jump, new hardware and creating ground breaking software all at the same time.

In 2006 Steve Jobs gave us the “sneak peak” of Mac OSX Leopard at the annual World Wide Developers Conference and in that keynote he mentioned that there were some “secret features” that would be announced later. Hmmm… much speculation has been tossed around about what those features are but who knows really.

What we do know is this feature list; [features in detail apple.com]

* Time Machine
* Mail
* iChat
* Spaces
* Dashboard
* Spotlight
* iCal
* Accessibility
* 64-bit
* Core Animation

Each of these components has been updated and while each one has that special Apple coolness factor there is only one that is what you could call “New”. That would Core Animation. We’ve seen core audio and video but this rounds out the suite of visual tools for action based content. We know that core animation is behind the cover flow trick in iTunes and we saw what some have said was core animation being used in Steve’s “Keynote” presentation. While transitions and flying images are fun it remains to be seen what kind of user interface enhancements will come out of this. I can imagine a few and if those enhancements can be leveraged into a more streamlined workflow then Core Animation will be much more than a pretty face.

The other feature that I think is worth some additional notice is Spaces. This sort of thing has been implemented before by third party developers but perhaps were overlooked by the Mac community since the reviews were mixed regarding their effectiveness. Apple’s integration of this feature into the OS is going to make a lot more sense as our computing lives become more complex. Although the software has become more powerful and easier to use; then number of tasks we are trying to perform is always inching upward. As I type this I have seven applications running in my dock, if you see what I mean. Spaces could simplify my life but more importantly it could save me time.

Yesterday I was working with a different kind of project that required lots of documents, pdfs etc and it was frustrating trying to keep track of everything and where it went. Spaces would help in isolating just the kinds of things I want to focus on for a given task. Hence, two thumbs up for Spaces.

Last and certainly not least is Time Machine. This will be good for all of us since most of us don’t have a very good backup strategy and some don’t have one at all. It will also be good for hard drive companies since we have to have someplace to back that data up to. Let the speculations continue….

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