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Preview of Leopard, Apple’s newest version of

Preview of Leopard, Apple’s newest version of OS X, due out in spring 2007. Some of that demo stuff was *really* corny; reminded me of the first demos of OS X back in the early 00s. Thoughts?

Update: Watch Jobs’ WWDC keynote.

Reader comments

JWAug 07, 2006 at 2:45PM

The iChat stuff is pretty corny, and the default font for the to do items/Notes in mail is pretty strange too.

HTML Mail as a feature is also a bit weird; and dashboard still isn't active on the desktop (it doesn't look like), so it's not as glancable.

The spaces thing is a great idea, and that will be helpful. The widget builder also looks very cool. Shared/editable iCal is great, and sharing To-Dos with mail messages and iCal is also excellent.

Definitely some good stuff, but didn't blow me away. Then again, he did say there was some "TOP SECRET" stuff they weren't gonna talk about too.

jkottkeAug 07, 2006 at 2:51PM

Big missing item for me: Safari improvements. Starting with better performance for JS and Flash in multiple tabs.

re: Spaces, I don't get the need for multiple desktops. With Quicksilver, Cmd-tab, or other switching mechanisms, you really don't need it. Is this really something that non-Unix refugees are going to use?

jkottkeAug 07, 2006 at 3:00PM

[I'm watching the videos to get a better sense of the new features...]

The simultaneous use of one computer by two people in iChat has potential. Quick and dirty training, shopping together. Heck, you could even leave a chat open with your computer at work and use it remotely from home.

BrianAug 07, 2006 at 3:03PM

The Finder needs to be massively improved and they didn't seem to address it at all. I'm hoping that they'll just quietly overhaul it so as not to open up a larger discussion about OSX's shortcomings.

Most of the improvements aren't really targeted towards developers. The iChat stuff will appeal to 13-year-old girls and grandparents, the HTML mail thing will appeal to my mom, and the TimeMachine will help everyone who hasn't figured out Rsyncx.

The notes thing sounds promising, but that font has got to go.

The Spaces feature sounds like a neat productivity hack. If I'm programming I can just have TextMate, Photoshop, and a Terminal window open and not get distracted by a browser, Dashboard widgets, and iChat.

PaulAug 07, 2006 at 3:03PM

The iChat stuff might be run over by the bigger improvements but it's a really nice play towards web conferencing. Sharing Keynotes or just iPhoto slideshows via iChat with video chat is slick - great feature for business.

Michael S.Aug 07, 2006 at 3:07PM

Argh, brushed metal in the Finder still! (See Time Machine demo.) Overall nothing really outstanding, nothing I really want. I'm not going to be impressed with Spotlight until I can search my HD faster than Google can search the entire web. Time Machine is going to chew up disk space like crazy (and the star field simulation thing is pretty unnecessary). I'd use Spaces--it is nice to arrange windows and work areas, uh, spatially. iChat desktop sharing is okay. Accessibility--don't care, 64-bit--don't care, Core Animation--don't care.

JWAug 07, 2006 at 3:35PM

Oh, one thing totally unclear during the keynote:

Is 10.5 going to be Intel only?

Augie De Blieck Jr.Aug 07, 2006 at 3:38PM

I kept waiting for the "one more thing" and was disappointed that there wasn't one. The new Mac Pro looks spectacular, but my dual core G5 does its job just fine, thanks. I'll take that $2500 and spend it on a new HDTV.

The Leopard stuff looks nice -- I admit that I'm lazy enough to like the auto-backup stuff, but I'm afraid it'll be a systems hog ten times worse than Spotlight. Before Spotlight, I rarely saw the spinning beach ball. With Spotlight, I see it all the time. It's not a big problem, but it is noticeable.

I hope Apple hasn't given up on Safari. Camino is a much easier and better browser to use on the Mac, but I'd like to think Apple isn't about to make the same mistakes as Microsoft did with its browser. . .

MattAug 07, 2006 at 3:55PM

re: Spaces. For me, being able to group tasks together (web development, email, browsing, tunes) on different desktops is a great productivity boost, especially if there's a convenient keyboard shortcut to switch between them.

I've always missed this on OS X, and find using Command-tab and Expose a little cumbersome.

SKDAug 07, 2006 at 3:57PM

Where's the video of the keynote?

SKDAug 07, 2006 at 4:02PM

Never mind - I see the leopard videos on the Apple site...

jkottkeAug 07, 2006 at 4:16PM

Is 10.5 going to be Intel only?

Good question. I doubt it...everyone with a non-Intel Mac (a vast majority of the users, in other words) would be pretty pissed. But stranger things have happened.

ianAug 07, 2006 at 4:18PM

If I've understood it right, as a worker bee occasionally prone to distraction, I like the Spaces thing. Seems like it will help me manage myself better than I occasionally can.

AfsheenAug 07, 2006 at 4:29PM

I think Spaces (multiple desktops) could actually be really useful. I frequently have many unrelated windows open (say "things I should be working on" and "") so it would be nice to be able to keep things less cluttered.

As someone who doesn't backup nearly often enough, the backup software seems like it would be great, especially in a Mac Pro with an extra drive or two. I will admit, though, that the "Time Machine" effect is really over the top.

The ability to add To Do items and notes in Mail (that are also accessible in iCal -- Newton soups, anyone?) also seems handy, although I hope that there's some way to turn off the legal pad appearance. Also, I have no need for letterhead in my e-mail. (And, with any luck, I'll be able to use the new features in iChat to turn them off on my mom's computer, too.)

My guess is that there ARE Finder improvements coming in 10.5, and that's what's Top Secret. Just a guess of course...

nexAug 07, 2006 at 4:41PM

oh boy, there's so much in there that makes for a decent mockup which lets a developer imagine what the final product will look like, but shouldn't be intended for consumption by the general public. the time machine UI, for example, stinks. but as weird as the app looks, i think i might actually want to use it, so i hope in the release version the UI won't be as hideous.

also, i see lots of features that 'improve' things by patching over old flaws, instead of coming up with a new design that doesn't have that flaw. for someone who already is a mac OS user, or actually a user of any of the currently popular 'desktop' OSs, this looks like a great idea: leaving everything as it was, as you learned to use it, and just adding something that makes it even better. but actually these patches make the OS ever more complicated, less elegant, less straightforward. for example, having a virtual desktop doodad is great for the few power-users that can make good use of it, but integrating it into the OS just screams 'we still can't do proper window management!'

ScottAug 07, 2006 at 5:14PM

Overall, I'd say that the Leopard demo was nice, with a few bits and pieces of "new hotness". I'm hoping that some of those secrets the mentioned in the demo include a big refresh of Safari and some compatability updates for devices.

I'd love to see iSync have some real features beyond simple address book and calendar synchronization.

I'm still a bit sad that there wasn't an iPhone. I used to have a Newton back in the day and I loved it. A portable, interactive piece of hardware (besides the trusty iPod) would really excite me.

clofreshAug 07, 2006 at 5:19PM

I wonder how they implement Time Machine in a way that won't suck up all your hard drive space? Some sort of ultra compressed Subversion backend?

PatrickAug 07, 2006 at 5:31PM

Spaces does appeal to me, and I think a lot if this was geared towards the "switchers"--simplicity (hah!) and prettification. Any improvements to Spotlight will be welcome, but the shifted back ship date was a bit of a surprise. I'm now no9t expecting to purchase until well into next year. That might be a good thing...

And yes, Apple has officially stated that 10.5 (and likely 10.6 if there is such a thing) and the Apple apps will continue to support non-Intel Macs for some time to come.

pwbAug 07, 2006 at 5:36PM

Dashboard should be totally standard, cross-platform (D)HTML/JavaScript.

Jon GalesAug 07, 2006 at 6:25PM

Time Machine is meant to work with an external (or extra internal) hard drive, so disk space isn't really that big of an issue. Here's what it says on Apple's site:

The first time you attach an external drive to a Mac running Mac OS X Leopard, Time Machine asks if you’d like to back up to that drive.

The UI is really funky though. It's an application, but yet has to work with other applications. Should really be a mode sort of like Dashboard or Expose.

Most of the new stuff is for consumers, but most of the customers are consumers too. I'm sure more will be shown off as we get closer to a launch (still fairly far off).

JackAug 07, 2006 at 6:43PM

I was hoping that they'd announce an updated Macbook using the new Merom chip. Guess I'll be holding off on my school purchase for a little longer.

The Time Machine thing looks kind of interesting, but I'll still be using SuperDuper! as my main backup methinks. And besides, where are the Morlocks?

Adam RiceAug 07, 2006 at 7:02PM

Lots of eye-candy that I won't use: mail templates, iChat, Dashboard. Some cool stuff that's not a new idea: Spaces, To-do in Mail. Something potentially very cool Time Machine, which sounds like two separate technologies under one roof: backup and CVS. I've been saying for a long time we need versioning at the filesystem level. Core animation could be interesting too.

Lots of stuff we didn't see that has been widely discussed: improved Finder, updated UI, iPhone, Video iPod, iPony.

I hope there are still some major treats in the top-secret bag. Right now this does not look like as big a deal as the 10.3>10.4 transition.

raulAug 07, 2006 at 7:43PM

This felt like a bunt... actually that's a bad analogy because bunts are often strategic and crafty. It felt... um.... lMicrosofty: incrementally evolutionary, grafting the OS closer the bundled applications, lacking a big idea. Even the advertising was tired. "Vista 2.0." Yawn. Does anyone care about Microsoft these days?

3rd party versions of the one significant refinement, Spaces, have been around since the OS X Preview. In fact most of the OS improvements weren't about the OS at all, they were just applications.

I was hoping for something like:

-A metadata friendly finder.
-A significantly enhanced Webkit with deep support for RSS.
-Some interface zazz.
-Major speed enhancement.
-Scalable resolution independent windows...

But I suppose one has to consider that in the last year Apple has made a darn near seamless transition to intel and it's natural to assume all the big guns were working on that as opposed to adding new features/technologies.... so perhaps next time.

Jason FriedAug 07, 2006 at 9:03PM

If you like Spaces you can basically have the same functionality today with Desktop Manager.

Re: Time Machine. Goofy UI, but I love that it's full-screen modal. It's a great way to separate the experience of going back in time from the present that is your current desktop.

mojoAug 07, 2006 at 9:11PM

Underwhelming. I'll pass on this one. This makes two releases now that I will not buy. I feel like all the good talent has gone to the iPod group. OSX after become a great operating system has become exceedingly stagnant.

iamnotstevejobsAug 07, 2006 at 9:14PM

Corny? Yes. You know why? They are clearly now going after the teeny bopper group. Trying to capitalize on their love of the iPod. A former colleague and current Apple employee walked me through their current approach to development and this is now a key segment. Get used to this kind of crap from now on. Background on email. Sweet Jesus!

GrahamAug 07, 2006 at 9:35PM

Is 10.5 going to be Intel only?

At the bottom here it says Leopard will run on anything from "G3 to Xeon".

I can't even see 10.6 being Intel only, because a chunk of PPC hardware just won't be old enough.

Wilson MinerAug 07, 2006 at 9:51PM

Jason: As far as Safari improvements, why would you expect that they aren't there? "Improved Javascript performance" isn't exactly the kind of thing that makes it into a keynote, but I think we can expect a lot of polish across the board. It's not the stuff that makes you go "wow" during a demo, but it makes a damn lot of difference when you're actually using an OS.

JasonAug 07, 2006 at 10:02PM

I think that what we didn't see in the presentation gives us some hint of what Apple's still working on behind the scenes and I still believe that the 10.4-->10.5 update is going to be the biggest that we've yet seen (especially since Apple's been working on it for so long). First, note that the look of the general interface and the look of the Finder are exactly the same as in Tiger. Apple has never released an OS X update without an updated interface, so I think it's a sure bet that Apple's working on at least some interface changes behind the scenes. I think it's even likely that we're in for a major update of the interface that's going to make Vista's interface look like a toy. Also, I found it very interesting that the Finder wasn't really shown at all in the presentation except when it was used to show off Time Machine. I think (and hope) it suggests that a major overhaul of the Finder is in progress. Both of these changes would be redesigns that I can definitely see Apple wanting to hide from Redmond until we get closer to Vista's ship date (whenever that turns out to be...). I'm also going to predict that we'll see more advances in Spotlight than what was shown today.

I think that some of the features that Steve showed off today could be classified as a bit corny, but there's a lot of really useful stuff in there as well. Photobooth in iChat is nothing but eye candy, but being able to deliver presentations, share desktops, and view photo slideshows while talking over iChat is going to be awesome. Time Machine is going to be awesome for those of us who always forget to back up the right things at the right times. WebClip looks pretty cool for people who actually use Dashboard. I think that Spaces looks far more elegant than any workspace manager that I've yet seen. I can't wait to play with it.

mauAug 07, 2006 at 10:49PM

I think the new Mac Pro is massive!!!

It is using server-grade processors... and the fact that you can get an awesome machine for a bit more than 2000... it just blows me away!!!!

2.0 dual core Xeon 5100 x 2 (that would be enough, but for an extra 300 you get the 2.66, not bad)
1Gb Ram
1Gigabit Ethernet x 2
16x Dual-layer DVD Burner x 2
Any video card would do... however the basic one is 128-bit... and with so much horsepower, I think you should get a 256-bit.

It is just unbelievable... and even if you don't run bootcamp, running another OS via Parallels, would be a no-sweat for such monster machine.

jkottkeAug 08, 2006 at 12:01AM

Anyone notice the RSS support in Mail?

"Thanks to new support for RSS in Leopard Mail, you’ll never miss another article. All the news you’re most interested in is delivered right to you. Just subscribe to an RSS feed in Mail and you’ll know the moment an article hits the wire. Even better, that same article will be waiting in your inbox. Quickly scan headlines and jump between feeds via the streamlined interface. And sorting your news is easy, too. Just set up a Smart Mailbox using search terms that pique your interest and Mail dynamically updates it when relevant articles are posted to your subscribed feeds."

MichaelAug 08, 2006 at 12:38AM

I'm a whiny, overindulged, self-important consumer who just happens to use Windows, so I look at today's announcement a bit differently. To-do's and notes in mail? Very Outlook 199x. RSS in mail? Very Outlook 2007. Window manager? Pshaw. 64-bit? Don't care. Time Machine? Could be very useful, but sounds slower than Sherlock.

Which is why I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth when (as a whiny, overindulged, self-important consumer) I say that there was one really important thing that was missing from today's announcement: support for OS X on non-Apple hardware. Surely someone could point the way towards a profitable software future for Apple modulo hardware? Bundle with a required dotMac subscription, perhaps?

(As a friend pointed out to me today, though, what would have substituted just as well was an announcement from the stage that "Michael Sippey, have a free black MacBook on us!" You know, either way.)

AfroozAug 08, 2006 at 2:18AM

Time Machine seems like a useful tool. I think I'm going to be setting up a couple terabytes of backup space at work, and it would be nice for people to be able to back up their whole hard drives. I currently use iMsafe for auto backups, but I can't complain when it comes with the system.

MarkAug 08, 2006 at 2:22AM

If Time Machine means that Apple has an implementation of ZFS working, forget it, game over, they'll beat EMC at the corporate storage market.

Spotlight searching metadata across network shares has the ability to beat Google Desktop at its own game.

Aslak RaanesAug 08, 2006 at 3:57AM

Objective-C getting a garbage collector is very nice. And Mac OS X using Suns DTrace is also very cool. At work, the iCal+CalDAV-server would be a killer.

Adam PolselliAug 08, 2006 at 5:34AM

It's been mentioned, but I think it's important to point this out again: Steve said that there are still a number of "Top Secret" features in the works for Leopard. He did not mention this at the end of the Leopard preview (as if to say, "anyways, there's all kinds of secret stuff in the works, but this is some of it that we think is cool enough to represent Leopard at WWDC"), but instead mentioned it before he went into the Leopard preview - almost like a disclaimer, as if to say, "I know some of the stuff we're about to show you might not live up to your expectations for Leopard, but don't worry, because there's a bunch of amazing stuff that's so secret we can't even show you yet."

I trust that Leopards "top secret" features will more than make up for yesterday's relatively underwhelming preview.

JasonAug 08, 2006 at 8:35AM

Michael, Apple is at its core a hardware company. The company sells some great software products, but for the most part only with the goal to sell more hardware. Apple realizes the great profit margins that it makes selling its hardware. Offering Mac OS X for other Intel machines at this point would cannibalize hardware sales, where Apple makes most of its (non-iPod) money.

Additionally, part of the appeal of buying a Mac is that it includes the whole package (well designed computer, operating system, software, etc.) and that everything just works beautifully right out of the package. Selling Mac OS X for other Intel systems would take away this advantage and would force Apple to support an infinite number of hardware configurations, rather than the five or six models that they have to support now. I think that this is one of the major reasons why Microsoft's OS's have for so long lagged behind Mac OS X. There are plenty of other reasons of course, but it's a pain in the ass to build an OS that supports a ridiculously high amount of all of the world's computers.

I'm not saying that Apple won't one day offer Mac OS X for other company's systems (although I think it's unlikely). However, right now Apple realizes that it has some great things going: a budding culture, driven by the iPod sales, that thinks that Apple is cool, an award winning operating system, hardware that is comparable in specifications to the rest of the market and looks a lot cooler as well, and machines that can boot Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux. Additionally, most Macs are now competitively priced compared with PCs and they're selling in record-high numbers. Why would Apple at this point risk to cannibalize these budding sales numbers by opening up one of its greatest assets to third-party PC makers?

JasonAug 08, 2006 at 8:40AM

I also think it's important to note that Apple seemed to bringing back the developer-centric WWDCs of old. Since the various Macworld conferences started getting scaled back and canceled, the WWDC keynote had almost become another consumer-oriented address. This year, it seemed to be much more developer-oriented...Steve didn't even announce or demonstrate half of the things that they were talking about. None of the consumer hardware items that so many were so sure would be released actually were. So I think that it's fair to say that there are more consumer-oriented aspects of the operating system lurking out there that we just haven't seen yet.

KristinAug 08, 2006 at 9:11AM

I would LOVE to have the spaces ability on my Mac right now. I could use it. I have several different businesses that I run from home. One software program I use, I keep up constantly throughout the day, as I use it on and off. But it gets in the way of some of the other business applications I use. It would be SO nice to have the spaces to divide my different businesses and never have to minimize or close any application in order to work.

KyleAug 08, 2006 at 9:55AM

You can have most of Spaces functionality right now. Just try Desktop Manager

GeorgeAug 08, 2006 at 10:44AM

They're spending longer on this version than they have on previous ones, right?

I find it difficult to imagine this extra time has gone into the features they showed. So either they have diverted engineers to Tiger's Intel version, or to hardware (can you really put a software engineer onto hardware?), or whatever they haven't shown is the really substantial stuff. My bet is on the latter case.

MichaelAug 08, 2006 at 12:15PM

Jason -- I'm not debating Apple's strategy re. being a hardware company. And I 100% agree that they have some great things going with the brand, the halo effect of the iPod, some killer industrial design and a nice operating system. Of course they're not going to give that up and meander into the mess of supporting a gazillion different device drivers.

I'm just saying that as a whiny, overindulged self-important consumer that what I want (regardless of whether it makes any kind of business sense for Apple) is to run OS X on my 18 month old $500 eMachines desktop at home. Oh, and maybe dual boot into it on my dual core T60 at work. (Cue the Veruca Salt clip, please.)

JasonAug 08, 2006 at 1:09PM

Michael, must have misread your post. I completely understand where you're coming from. I often wish that I could boot Mac OS X on the Dell's that they have running in the computer labs at school.

Kristian KiralyAug 10, 2006 at 12:10AM

No one mentioned that advanced search announcement in Spotlight. I can see me using that if im looking for an audio file to send to a friend in iChat and rather than seeing a bunch of library files only seeing what I want to see. Spotlight has never caused me problems with the beach ball on my MacBook Pro but it is slightly slower than Google at searching the Internet. I can see some needed speed improvement of Spotlight and most of the operating system.

KristianAug 10, 2006 at 12:11AM

No one mentioned that advanced search announcement in Spotlight. I can see me using that if im looking for an audio file to send to a friend in iChat and rather than seeing a bunch of library files only seeing what I want to see. Spotlight has never caused me problems with the beach ball on my MacBook Pro but it is slightly slower than Google at searching the Internet. I can see some needed speed improvement of Spotlight and most of the operating system.

Robert D.Aug 10, 2006 at 12:24AM

For those complaining about the Finder: remember that they said that these were not ALL of the improvements which will be in 10.5. They're reserving some stuff for release (or at least, I guess, after Vista goes gold), so that Microsoft has no time to rip it off.

That, combined with the pics I saw of banners calling Microsoft a copycat and John Hodgeman's "take a year off" speech makes me think they are well aware of Vista and are making sure they can top it, as well as making sure they jab at it, big time.

They can afford to taunt Microsoft a bit, though; since 2001, Microsoft has shipped exactly ZERO new operating systems, while Apple has managed to ship FIVE. However, they must also know that with Vista and Leopard coming out at about the same time, they have to be careful about not giving Microsoft the chance to rip them off.

Apple wants to make sure Windows Vista looks and feels a couple of years behind Leopard.

KristianAug 10, 2006 at 12:54PM

Also (me being one of the consumers who uses iChat a lot) I could see some more AIMish features. One being idle time or online time. So yeah, that's it.

KristianAug 10, 2006 at 12:56PM

By idle time I mean in away messages.

VMAug 10, 2006 at 1:19PM

ichat things are cool time machine is cool mail is gay i hate mail (but maybe it is because i never use it

KirkAug 10, 2006 at 2:19PM

Only Apple Hardware; controlled environment = stable OS, I'll take that anytime, even at a premium cost (which it doesn't)
Eye Candy; 'cause it appeals to some who see little value in content/functionality; personally, I'd take more functionality
Virtual Desktops; for people whose mind still runs faster than the computer (they do more than one thing at a time, and no matter how many pixels on a screen, it is still not enough - you need to get to everything without wasting time constantly moving windows around.
Adaptec/Roxio, now Symantec's GoBack (Windows) provides the same functionality as Time Machine, just not so pretty. It even has an admin mode, for enterprise wide distribution and control.

Most everything that adds real value is under the covers - todo and calendar items system wide, make for highly focused applications doing small things very well, and all integrated through system services - far better than a monolithic massive application. Core Animation services will enable future capabilities that will blow people away (think about a 3D finder).

HTML mail introduces a whole slew of security issues - something us that have to manage IT can do without. Performance can be both raw speed, or usability.

I'd like to see virtual folders in Finder - have a single file categorized n different ways by filing structures.

For those naysayers who have talked about how Apple's "OS every 18" months approach is flawed compared to MS "Big Bang" - every OS dot release adds great strides in functionality, more often than not, more significant that an entire Windows release, and always more stable and secure.

OS X machines cost way, way less to administer in a corporate environment; real experience in an installation with over 260,000 desktops. Each release just makes it better / easier to deal with.

AlexJan 30, 2007 at 1:29PM

I think the new mac osx leopard will be amazing. The features they show on their website are only a few of the improvements. They cant release any more information otherwise microsoft would hav copied even more than they already have. I mean they really hav no imagination. I'd just like to say that Vista has only just come out and they already hav security update and bug fixes, this i think is a rushed operating system. Thats why im sticking to mac osx. They make sure everything is good before they release an os. Also vista ultimate costs £350, from what i hav seen, there is nothing ultimate about it. However, all of the mac os' cost £88 or £108 if it is a family pack. This includes absolutely everything. Why would you pay £350 for somehting that is just an overpriced, flawed version of mac osx tiger. Microsoft are now a generation behind mac, once again.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.