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A glimpse at Mac OS X Leopard

A glimpse at Mac OS X Leopard

Scott Forstall (VP of platform experience) has joined Jobs onstage to give a preview of Leopard. There are 10 major highlights of Leopard (though Steve is keeping the rest "top secret"), including:

1. Support for 64-bit architecture extends 64-bit support through Carbon and Cocoa and can run 32-bit apps side by side with 64-bit apps.

2. New feature called Time Machine. Automatically backs up all your valuable data. If you change a file, that file is automatically backed up. You can back up to hard drive or server, plus a whole new visual way to back up, using Time Machine. You fly through time as windows pass by with space in the background. Cute, but we've seen backup apps before. Apple just sticks an incredibly useful UI on it.

3. Shipping Boot Camp with Leopard. Also will ship Front Row and Photo Booth.

4. Spaces. New feature that links like apps together to make your desktop less complicated; for example, you can link together apps such as Safari and Mail on one space and iTunes and GarageBand on another. Steve shows demo of switching between browser/mail space to Garage Band space. These spaces live off the screen in every direction, basically giving you more room to think with other groups of applications sitting one click away.

5. Spotlight: Improving it so that you can search other machines on a network. You can also search servers and advanced search--Boolean, and so on. Also, Spotlight will include an application launcher and a recent-items view.

6. Core animation (one person claps). Dramatically improves the production quality of your work--shows scene of layers. Showing an example of the technology's power--a facsimile of the iTunes commercial where album art is built up into a building. Core Animation is at work in real time and requires much less code.

7. Universal access. Continuing to try to make Mac OS X available to everyone, with support for closed captioning, Braille support, VoiceOver. The new voices in Leopard are very realistic.

8. Improvement to mail. New features include Stationery, Notes, and To Do. Stationery features nice-looking templates, and you can make your own. Templates appear as a drop-down menu in Mail, with all types of templates, and you can add your own images--very intuitive. Notes is a dedicated area for taking notes and can show up as in-box items. To Do adds check boxes to any note. You can select any e-mail or any application to add a to-do note--in other words, a systemwide to-do service.

9. Dashboard. More than 2,500 widgets available today. Two new things. First, a new developer tool called Dashcode, where you can modify existing templates. Visual editor for CSS and HTML, and also ships with JavaScript debugger. Second thing is for the end user: Web Clip. Allows anyone to turn any part of any Web page into a widget. For example, you can cut out a comic strip and turn it into a widget; plus, it will update automatically. You can also capture the area of an eBay auction and monitor that; or capture a specific sports boxscore or standings listing. Basically, you can create your own widgets, and it's incredibly powerful and empowering. You can even create a widget out of any Webcam.

10. iChat. Serious enhancements: invisibility, video recording, tab chats, animated icons. Plus, photo booth effects for videoconferencing and iChat Theater. Jobs demos iChat Theater and brings up photo slide show inside iChat. You can also put up a Keynote presentation; basically, you can use iChat to share media and presentations. Finally, you can add backdrops to your iChat conversations.

Expected ship date for Leopard is spring 2007. That's it for the Leopard highlights, and it looks like that's the end of the show as well. A developers' version of Leopard should be making its rounds soon.