Apple unveils near final version of Mac OS X Leopard

Apple today unveiled a near final version of Mac OS X Leopard, the sixth major release of the world’s most advanced operating system. Scheduled to ship in October, Leopard introduces over 300 new features, including a new Desktop and Dock with Stacks, an intuitive new way to organize files; an updated Finder featuring Cover Flow and a new way to easily browse and share files between multiple Macs; Quick Look, a new way to rapidly preview most files without opening an application; Time Machine, a new way to easily and automatically back up and restore lost files or a complete Mac; Spaces, a powerful new feature to create groups of applications and instantly switch between them; and enhanced iChat and Mail applications, which easily allow users to communicate even more creatively.

“Leopard is the best release of Mac OS X to date, surpassing even Tiger, and will further extend Mac OS X’s leadership as the most advanced and innovative operating system in the world,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in the press release. “We think current and prospective customers are going to love Leopard, and that it will help make the Mac even more popular.”

Leopard includes a completely new Dock featuring Stacks, which can help manage a user’s desktop clutter caused by browser and email downloads. With the click of a mouse, users can instantly fan out the contents of a stack to easily see each item. Leopard’s Finder has been completely redesigned, adding Cover Flow as an innovative way to quickly browse and locate files and applications. Finder’s new Sidebar simplifies the organization of files on a Mac, and adds easy access to shared Macs and PCs on a home network. Subscribers to .Mac can also use the new “Back to my Mac” feature to browse and access files on their remote Macs over the Internet. Also new in Leopard is Quick Look, an innovative new way for users to instantly preview almost any file, and even play media files, without opening an application.

With its unique ability to let users travel back in time to find deleted files, applications, photos and other digital media, Time Machine is a revolutionary way to protect your digital life. With just a one-click setup, Time Machine automatically keeps an up-to-date copy of everything on the Mac. In the event a file is lost, users can use Mac OS X’s Spotlight to search back through time to find and then instantly restore the file. Time Machine can automatically back up a Mac to an external hard drive connected with a FireWire or USB cable, to a server, or wirelessly to an AirPort Extreme base station with an attached hard drive.

Leopard also includes three new technologies that take full advantage of the latest developments in processor hardware: full native 64-bit support to enable applications to take complete advantage of 64-bit processing while still running side by side with existing 32-bit Mac OS X applications and drivers; easy multi-core optimization and scheduling to take advantage of the latest Intel hardware; and Core Animation, helping developers easily create animated user experiences as amazing as Leopard’s Spaces and Time Machine in their own applications.

Other new features in Leopard include:

• Leopard Mail, offering more ways to customize and add personal style to email than ever before, with more than 30 beautiful stationery designs and layouts that look great on a Mac or Windows PC; Notes, making it as easy to take and organize notes as it is to compose and read emails; To Dos, for creating lists viewed directly in Mail and automatically sync them with iCal; and data detectors that automatically sense phone numbers, addresses and events so they can be easily added to Address Book or iCal

• Leopard iChat with iChat Theater, letting users present photos, presentations, videos and files in a video conference; Photo Booth effects, enabling users to transform their iChat video in real time with fun distortion and color effects; and video backdrops that allow users to choose any photo or video that makes them appear to be anywhere in the world, or out of it

• Leopard iCal, introducing powerful group calendaring features based on the open CalDAV standard that make it easy to organize and coordinate schedules with other people

• Spaces, giving users a powerful new, clutter-free way to create customized spaces on the desktop with only the applications or files needed for each project, and the ability to quickly switch between them with one click of a mouse or keystroke

• Web Clip, bringing anything that a user wants from a web page to Dashboard as a live widget

• Boot Camp, making it possible to run Windows natively on Intel-based Macs (copy of Windows XP or Vista required).

• new development tools, including Xcode 3 with a next generation editor; an all new Interface Builder for easier integration of advanced animation effects into an application; simpler debugging; and support for Objective-C 2.0; DashCode, a better way to create new Dashboard widgets without writing a line of code; and Xray, a new application for optimizing application performance.

Mac OS X version 10.5 Leopard is scheduled to ship in October and will be available through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of US$129 for a single user license. The Mac OS X Leopard Family Pack is a single-residence, five-user license that will be available for a suggested retail price of $199. Volume and maintenance pricing is available from Apple.

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  1. Where is the true screen resolution independence?

    The new 15″ and 17″ MacBooks have three different resolutions on their screens. Thus 72 point type shows up as three different sizes across the three new MacBooks. True screen resolution independence would allow us to set it so that no matter what screen (or MacBook) the images are shown on they would all be true size by default. 72 point type would be a true one inch tall on any screen on a Mac running 10.5sby default. An 8.5 x 11 inch page actually would be 8.5 x 11 on any screen attached to a MacOS X 10.5 system by default.

    From the lack of any mention of true screen resolution independence it seems like we are still stuck with MacOS X 10.5 still assuming *all* screens are still 72 dpi (although today extremely few are really 72 dpi).

    Keeping assumptions made back in 82/83 during the development of the first Mac is just plain stupid. It’s about time we moved on.

    I’m very disappointed. True screen resolution independence was one of the rumored items to be in 10.5 that I really wanted.

  2. No mention of a better way to organize my 800 widgets. I was really hoping for a Spaces for Dashboard. Or something I described previously:

    Imagine a second row above the widget row when you bring it up. In this row would be folders that you could drag and drop widgets to. I could have a “Summer” widget folder and one for a trip, etc. You then just have to drag the folder off the widget dock onto the desktop and you have just replaced all your widgets with a new one.

  3. RC;

    Both keynotes this year have been software-focused. So new hardware has been introduced at other times throughout the year.

    Or did you miss the MacBook Pro updates last week, etc etc etc?

    And the stock price? It *usually* drops after a keynote (with a couple of exceptions), because reality has a hard time matching the unrealistic expectations of the press and various wild-eyed fans.

  4. I completely agree that this was a letdown. I can’t think of anything other than “Safari for Windows” that I haven’t already seen on Apple’s website. Where are the “secret features” that were promised? Where’s the better .Mac integration (or, at least, promise push email with .Mac accounts)? Where are iLife and iWork? Why no mention of iCal or Address Book? What about the new filing system from Sun?

    Look, I love Apple – in fact, so much so, that this crappy WWDC has put me in to a funk.

    Do y’all think his Steveness is holding back more features? I doubt this as I can’t see what benefit would be had from that.


  5. So, not even a mention of ZFS as the default filesystem? I was hoping SJ would at least confirm this….and no new Mac hardware? Kinda disappointing, but then again it is a developer’s conference, not a consumer show.

  6. @ Paul Walker

    I would have to imagine that all the ‘secrets’ are out. Vista shipped, so there is nothing for Apple to hide anymore. I believe that the secrets were the finder ( cover flow ) and stacks he didn’t want to show earlier. ( Or didn’t have a working demo of at that time )

  7. Overall, for me at least, a disappointing keynote. Don’t like the new skinny, translucent Menu Bar or the look of the new desktop, though Stacks should help decrease the clutter. Not that crazy about the new Finder either, though Boolean operators will make Spotlight much more useful. Quick Look is a nice new feature but on the whole the Secret Features weren’t up to my expectations. Also, the lack of a new iLife or iWork is quite disappointing. iWork in particular is getting long in the tooth and is still short of what is needed, especially Pages. Lack of professional apps on iPhone, esp ability to read and write to Word and Excel docs is also a big problem for me. And disappointed in the lack of any new hardware. New iMacs desperately needed. iChat in Leopard is very nice but iChat won’t help those without built-in cameras and no new standalone cameras announced. Overall, a C/C- grade from me and looks like the stockholders agree.

  8. Ok, help me out here. The new leopard will work on 32 bit computers as well right. We are not all going to have to buy a new 64 bit Mac to run Leopard are we? Someone reported they have not intention of releasing a 32 bit version.

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