Leopard on the prowl: Mac OS X 10.5 previewed
So, Apple finally previewed Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard at WWDC 2006, amidst all the excited Apple fanatics. Mac OS X 10.5 has been in development for quite some time and was even being talked about at the launch of Tiger Mac OS X 10.4. So with out much adieu we will let you on what to expect in Leopard. Warning: Don't read if you want to stick with Windows :)Leopard has a significant number of improvements and new features and we are sure we haven't seen all of it yet, but here's some of the cooler ones.
The first and the foremost feature is the full 64-bit application support, even for applications that use graphical interfaces like Cocoa. This makes it ideal for new Mac Pros and Xserves based on Intel Xeon processors.
The next feature is called the Time Machine, a system that automatically makes incremental backups of the entire file system or any of the changed files. If it does work the way it's supposed to you can restore an entire machine, system and all. The Time machine also interfaces with most programs iPhoto and Address Book directly to restore data instantly.
Leopard will also bundle "Spaces", which brings Virtual desktops as an integrated feature on Macs. Of course, if you have been using a Mac you know it's easy to add virtual desktops and screens with freely available software like Virtue, but Spaces is more tightly integrated and offers features like being able to switch to the application it's virtual desktop by clicking on the dock icon of the application.
Other applications like iCal gets multi-user functionality, which allows multiple people to share single group calendars. iChat adds a feature to share slide shows, iPhotos, your desktop or presentations in conference mode la NetMeeting or other conferencing applications and another feature that adds special effects. Apple Mail adds Stationery, HTML templates, To-Do's and notes. Bootcamp - the dual Mac OS X & Windows boot solution is bundled with some new features, which haven't been disclosed yet.
Spotlight also gets a makeover, with some boolean search algorithms that finds files more accurately. A feature QuickLook will provide a way to preview items without opening the application and you can search over the network as well.
There are other improvements too like the new 'Alex' voice for Voice overs and voice alerts, which sounds more human with periodic 'inhaling' sounds, support from Braille, Closed captioning feature in Quicktime, Dashboard improvements including a custom widget creation tool and Core Animation framework.
Leopard is expected to be released sometime in Spring 2007. We are sure it will be eagerly awaited, especially because we are sure we haven't seen all the features yet. We sure hope there are more, to justify an upgrade.