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Leopards in a Box August 22, 2006

Posted by jesse in apple, osx.
2 comments


Well, it’s all over, WWDC is old news at this point. I got to join the enthralled audience as Steve revealed the major features of our new favorite operating system: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

I didn’t know what to think as we were drawn into the galactic journey that is Time Machine. Stunned? Shocked? Happy? … Time Machine might seem like some hard links created by shell script on a cron job, but being able to surf the filesystem back in time is a huge feature that will probably change the way I work. Just as the Tiger user swears with clenched fist after hitting Command-Space on a Panther machine (Spotlight), so too will Leopard users covet their automatic backup. I haven’t heard about this type of OS feature since I drooled over it in a Bell Labs paper describing Plan 9 (the OS, not the movie).

Other features that I wish I had yesterday:

  • Mail the GTD crowd will love the “notes” feature. Likewise RSS support. RSS in your INBOX!
  • iChat: iChat screen sharing. Instead of explaining to grandpa over the phone which menus to select and which buttons to click, you can just do it for him over the phone.
  • Spaces : no more downloading Desktop Manager …
  • Dashboard : WebClip is huge. Stay up to date with any web page…
  • iCal : As a friend remarked “I can’t believe I’m getting excited about a calendar server” … But it’s so true! It will be great to be able to keep track of events and appointments with friends and family. Hopefully the Mozilla foundation will make a windows client. Hopefully there will also be some lighter weight calendar applications that are slimmed down from the iCal feature set.
  • CoreAnimation : Bring on the bling! This is a Leopard feature that will probably impact Slide for Macintosh. CoreAnimation provides a framework of animation features that are common in game engines but rarely seen in applications. Consequently, it wouldn’t surprise me if some Mac applications start looking like console games.

Snoozers:

  • Spotlight : file previews and searching network volumes. Nice enhancements, but hard to get excited about.
  • Accessibility : Even Steve admits this is a very important, but boring, feature.
  • 64-bit : This doesn’t do much for application developers today because almost all Mac’s have 32-bit CPUs right now. But in the long term, it will be great to have full access to the entire Cocoa and Carbon stacks in native 64-bit.