This time around, Leopard appears to be the center of attention. Of course, the new Mac Pro was introduced. But the entire keynote focused on Leopard. And most of the features for Leopard seem to be nothing more than visual eye-candy for the most part. There aren't any significant updates to most applications. However, as Steve Jobs puts it, some features are still hidden to prevent Vista from copying it. I seriously doubt that Vista will try to emulate some of the features for OS X. The ship date for Vista is fast approaching and Microsoft has yet to iron out all the bugs from Vista. But, one can never be too sure, as the WWDC '06 keynote has shown. I have yet to watch it but I heard that it pokes fun at Vista.
All in all, I feel that the real improvements to Leopard are under the hood. XCode 3.0 and Objective-C 2.0 seem to be really major improvements. One of the major features for Objective-C 2.0 is garbage collection. It would be interesting to see how fast Objective-C 2.0 runs compared to its predecessors. Also, Leopard will support 32-bit and 64-bit applications natively. In fact, Leopard itself is designed to run on both 32-bit and 64-bit machines.
Nonetheless, I do not really see myself using all the new features that have been previewed today. In fact, most users will not care about the new features too. I suspect, however, that most developers will be thrilled by the new features brought in.
So, what I am going to do is list the top features of Tiger and how relevant they have been to me this past year. Then, I shall predict how useful the features in Leopard are going to be. The list of features for Tiger is taken from here and the list of features for Leopard is taken from here.
For the most part, I only use Spotlight to find some really funky file. For instance, if I suspect that the file name is going to be fairly uncommon, I will go ahead and type it for Spotlight to locate. A good example would be searching for the preference list for some application that I have just uninstalled. If I know the exact location of a particular file, I will navigate there to open it. Somehow the idea of using Spotlight to find it and sieve through a whole list of files seems counterproductive to me. And since I always know where my files are, Spotlight is not in the limelight of my daily computer interaction.
On my Powerbook G4, Dashboard was really a pain to use. Moreover, some of the widgets just ate up all the available resources. However, on my MacBook Pro, I find Dashboard to be bearable. So far, there isn't a whole lot of useful widgets so I have stuck to my usual 3: BackpackIt, Weather and Dictionary. I probably will not miss Dashboard that much since most of the widgets I use can be integrated into the web browser.
I use Safari everyday. Enough said.
I tried using it for a month or so after getting my MacBook Pro since there was no universal build for Adium yet. It was horrible. I cannot stand not having tabs for my open chats. Applications such as Chax is supposed to fix some of the problems. I only revert back to iChat from Adium when I need to send or receive files. Adium (or rather the underlying gaim library) does not have good support for file transfers. Oh yeah, I do use iChat if I need to do audio or video conferencing with my parents.
I've only used it for merging .pdf files together since I have uninstalled the memory intensive Adobe Acrobat.
VLC Player is still the best. It supports almost every file format out there without requiring any third-party plugins. And the H.264 support in VLC is as good as Quicktime as far as I can tell.
Contrary to what most people have to say, I still like .Mac. The $99 a year is a bit steep but I like the convenience of creating a photo web page quickly from within iPhoto or iWeb.
I have never used this since installing Tiger.
- Parental Controls
I have never used this since installing Tiger.
Mail does everything that I need it to. The threading feature is fantastic and I do not know how I can use e-mail without it. I have not used the smart folders feature. I have also not used the slideshow feature in Mail. In fact, if someone send me more than 2 pictures in my mailbox I will probably send it straight to the junk folder. Pictures are meant to be put online so that I can retrieve it later; not flooding my mailbox.
- Time Machine
Hmmm. Remember FileVault? I wonder how many people actually use it now? Blame it on my gut feeling, but a background process that monitors everything that I do and try to write back to disk is going to steal CPU cycles every now and then. Some of you are arguing that most CPUs are underutilized anyway so why not make use of those extra cycles to do something useful? Most notebooks do not come with a secondary drive. So, if you backup and the drive fails, you are utterly screwed. It's no better than not backing up in the first place. And the visual effect for Time Machine means that it probably is not going to be useful for mass reverting from a backup. All that eye-candy is probably going to take up way more time than using a dedicated backup program. So, I suspect that I will be using Time Machine for files that I would like to have revision control for but am too lazy to chuck it into a Subversion repository.
The ability to add new to-dos is going to be something interesting. I wonder if it is going to be as intelligent as GMail's integration with Google Calendar. I thin the stationary thing is going to be pretty useless. Almost all interesting e-mail can be expressed in plain text. Having those fancy html mails will only encourage people to compose space-hogging mail messages. I don't see myself using the notes features that much either. The .Mac e-mail page is not as elegant as GMail's. And since all my mail is already forwarded to GMail I prefer using GMail's labels for notes. Also, I really really hate the Stickies application or anything that resembles it.
I will probably be using this new version. The support for tabs makes it so much more appealing. And I can picture myself delivering a keynote presentation using it. iChat 3.0 is going to be the next great thing.
I am not a fan of virtual desktops. Expose is all I need to get everything done. This is probably going to appeal to developers also. Most home users do not need something like this. In fact, virtual desktops add to the confusion of navigating around. I am not sure if even Apple can make virtual desktops really intuitive for almost everyone to use. Come on, if not everyone will be using Spaces, why tout it as some killer feature?
Nothing new here. The web clip feature for Safari is not that appealing to me. I really have yet to see many compelling dashboard widgets. The ones supplied by Apple are decent but just a cursory glance at the new ones found here shows that most widgets are doing nothing but taking up screen estate.
Seems that Spotlight is going to be faster this time around. And the new definition category might tempt me to use it instead of the dictionary dashboard widget.
I already use this extensively. So I am glad to see any new improvements to it. True, it does not support a lot of advanced collaboration protocols but what I need it does it well. I assume that most people also only need iCal. Did I mention that it syncs events nicely with my cell phone? The only bad news? Not everyone I know uses iCal. And the best application that supports the iCal format sucks.
I don't see myself using this feature much (if at all)
Unless I update my MacBook Pro (I don't recall Intel shipping a new 64-bit portable chip) this is not going to be really that captivating.
- Core Animation
As long as most applications do not go overboard on the eye-candy, I will be happy with this feature.
Seems that most of the latest features for Leopard might be under the hood. Ruby on Rails developers will be happy to know that Rails is going to be included in Leopard server. And I am certain that more of the latest technologies will make their mark soon on the Mac platform.
By the way, I just realized that there was no mention of the next operating system after Leopard. Could it mean that Leopard is going to be the last of the 10.x series?Tweet
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