“The iPhone might have grabbed all of this year’s headlines, but Leopard may well prove to be Apple’s most revolutionary product release of 2007,” Scott Gilbertson reports for Wired. “The next version of the Macintosh operating system, Mac OS X 10.5, nicknamed Leopard, will be made available to retail customers around the world Friday.”

“Leopard isn’t necessarily all about radical new tricks. Rather, its real potency lies in its ability, through technical enhancements and subtle usability refinements, to turn ordinary users into power users,” Gilbertson reports.

“Leopard does have some standout ‘big features’ — the Time Machine automated data backup system and the Spaces desktop manager come to mind — but along with those additions, many of the smaller, oft-neglected features of OS X have new life breathed into them,” Gilbertson reports.

“Another change in Leopard that may not be grabbing headlines are the host of new security features, including memory randomization. Called by ‘Library Randomization,’ it protects against buffer-overflow attacks, all too common in the Windows world, by which hackers can inject malicious code into your system,” Gilbertson reports.

“Other protections against intruders include application sandboxing, which tightens controls over what applications can and can’t do so hackers can’t exploit them, and application signing, which provides a way for both Apple and third-party apps to verify their validity,” Gilbertson reports.

“Not only is Leopard fully of eye candy, it’s perhaps the most thoroughly thought-out OS release from Apple yet,” Gilbertson reports.

Full article here.