Leopard: The Wow Really Starts Now

This page outlines 300+ new features in Mac OS X (Leopard), but I wanted to call your attention to just a few of the changes that made me leap out of my seat and scream “WOW!”

  • Address Book: View a detailed map of any address in Address Book. Just hold down the Control key while clicking any address and select “Map of” and Safari will show you its location in Google Maps.
  • Automator: Add even more capabilities to your workflows. Use a new action called Watch Me Do that lets you record a user action (like pressing a button or controlling an application without built-in Automator support) and replay as an action in a workflow.
  • Boot Camp: Enjoy the unique hardware features of your Mac including the iSight camera, trackpad scrolling, keyboard backlighting, and volume keys using fully compatible Windows drivers.
  • Dashboard: Clip out any portion of a web page and turn it into a Dashboard widget.
  • Dashcode: Drag and drop components from an included library of GUI controls to assemble a working widget that looks the same during design and runtime. No artistic ability required.
  • Desktop: Make your Dock look the same on all the Macs you use. Change the Dock on one and it will automatically be updated on the others.
  • Dictionary: Harness the power of Wikipedia when you’re connected to the Internet — built right into it’s Dictionary. You get a great Mac OS X user interface with super-fast searching and beautifully laid out-results.
  • DVD Player: Smoothly play back even DVDs that may be damaged. New technology in Leopard can locate and avoid scratched areas of the disc.
  • Finder: Start an interactive screen sharing session with other Macs on your network. Just select the Mac from your sidebar and (if authorized) you can see and control the Mac as if you were right in front of it. [My addendum: supports the VNC protocol as well.]
  • Fonts: Automatically activate fonts as you need them. When an application requests an installed font that’s currently disabled, Leopard activates that font and keeps it active until the requesting application quits.
  • Front Row: Watch previews of Hollywood blockbusters directly from Front Row.
  • Graphics & Media: Enjoy improved color reproduction of digital photos, as ColorSync automatically takes advantage of the EXIF sRGB information embedded in image files by many popular digital cameras.
  • iCal: Effortlessly add attendees or change an event’s time directly on the event itself. The new Inline Inspector window appears when you double-click any event, making it faster and easier to change details on the fly.
  • iChat: Save your audio and video chats for posterity with iChat recording. iChat asks your buddies for recording permission before the chat starts, then stores completed audio chats as AAC files and video chats as MPEF-4 files — so you can share with others or sync to your iPod. [My addendum: HOLY SH*T, this is awesome!]
  • Imaging: Wirelessly import images from many 802.11-enabled digital cameras and Bluetooth devices. [My addendum: I smell an iPhone firmware update in the near future.]
  • Imaging: Take advantage of new Bonjour-based network scanners, Leopard leads the way with the technology required to allow scanning over a network.
  • Instruments: Improve the performance of your applications by viewing the relationships between UI events and performance metrics such as CPU load, network and file activity, and memory usage. [My addendum: So, you can expect that savvy app developers will be making your favorite programs perform better with less guesswork. Genius.]
  • Networking: Let Leopard adjust TCP buffer size automatically. Get optimum application performance, especially in high-bandwidth/high-latency environments.
  • Photo Booth: Use Photo Booth to make movie clips. Capture those precious moments and send them to your friends in an email message. You can even choose a frame from your movie to use as your account picture or iChat buddy icon.
  • Preview: Easily remove the background from an image, leaving just the subject. Simply select Instant Alpha from the Tool Select button on the toolbar and click and drag in the area of the background you wish to remove. You can also use the Extract Shape tool to select a specific area of the image to keep, automatically excluding the rest.
  • Preview: Get real information from your photos. If your image has embedded GPS metadata, Preview will show you exactly where that perfect photo was taken. Open the Image inspector and select GPS. Preview pinpoints the location where you took the photo on a world map. From there you can even open the GPS location in Google Maps.
  • Printing: Make sure you always have the latest printer drivers. Download directly to your system using the familiar capabilities of Software Update.
  • Security: Protect yourself from potential threats. Any application downloaded to your Mac is tagged. Before it runs for the first time, the system asks for your consent — telling you when it was downloaded, what application was used to download it, and, if applicable, what URL it came from. [My addendum: This is not like Vista’s UAC in the slightest. Instead of warning you every time, it does it once – and unlike Windows, Leopard will tell you where the file was downloaded from for an additional layer of relevant information. If you want to say that Apple stole this feature from Microsoft, be my guest – but their implementation appears to be 110% better.]
  • Spaces: Move a window to another space by dragging it to the edge of your screen. Spaces will switch to the new space and take your window with it.
  • Spotlight: Find answers fast. Just activate Spotlight and type in a simple or sophisticated equation, and Spotlight will instantly show you the result. Enjoy support for over 40 functions ranging from simple math to logarithms to trigonometry. [My addendum: Intelligent addition, becoming the most convenient calculator for OS X.]
  • System: You may be able to gain disk space without losing data. If a volume is running out of space, simply delete the volume that comes after it on the disk and move the volume’s end point into the freed space.
  • System Preferences: Get yourself a .Mac account and your System Preferences can stay in sync across all your Macs. No matter what Mac you use, you’ll feel right at home.
  • TextEdit: Take advantage of TextEdit support for the Word 2007 and OpenDocument formats for reading and writing.
  • UNIX: Automatically mount and dismount network filesystems on separate threads to improve responsiveness and reliability.

If you read the entire page and still don’t want Leopard, there’s something seriously wrong with you. And don’t let me catch you claiming that you can install third-party apps (for any OS) to achieve the same level of features, because the entire point is that all of the above (and then some) ship with the OS.

Even at twice the price, Leopard appears to be thrice nice as Windows Vista.