As we were recently invited to the launch of Apple's newest OS, the Mac OS X Leopard on 26 October 2007, it was clear that our readers should have a sneak peek into the new features before heading down to your nearest Apple store for your upgrade.
If you have been an avid Mac follower, you would be happy to find out that this is one of the best upgrades for the Mac to date as Leopard offers more than 300 new features while still retaining most of the good, old ones. You will also be greeted by a whole new interface and an enhanced dock with a feature called Stacks, which is a whole new way of being able to access files easily and within the least amount of time used. Stacked items pop out in a Fan or Grid layout to reduce clutter and add some zest to the Mac OS dock.
There is also a revamped Finder which looks more like the interface of iTunes. Cover Flow is adopted, and thus, browsing documents was really easy and fun when we got to try it out. Movies and PDF files could be viewed and played within Cover Flow. Resizing the dialog box size was a breeze too. The updated Finder with Cover Flow was designed for users to be able to browse and share files between multiple Macs without much hassle. On another hand, programs have been given a whole new life with a feature called Quick Look that allows you to open full screen programs without even needing to launch a totally new application.
The feature that we liked the most was something called Spaces. Spaces allow the user to group several different applications into (and up to) 16 screens/spaces and hide them just as easily so that the user can concentrate on what they are doing. Another way to view this feature is that it allows the users to efficiently hide certain programs that they have opened from prying eyes, which in our view is pretty neat and nifty. What a clever addition!
Mail now includes more than 30 stationery designs and layouts which makes your next send a very interesting and fun one. Apple has finally added better productivity with Notes and To Dos, which enables the user to save texts as drafts to remind themselves and stay organized. To top it off, data detectors are installed to sense phone numbers and addresses from clients and family members and allow them to be effortlessly added into iCal for the user to be updated.
Time Machine is a HDD shadowing feature that allows users to automatically back up everything on the Mac without having to think about anything else. Of course, initial set up time is needed, but think about the future, where a little back up goes a long way as we are quite sure that most users have experienced some sort of failure or something just does not go their way (even on a Mac), one time or another. The catch is that you actually need an external HDD at the moment for the feature to work. Be warned that you should not launch this program when an external hard drive is not available, as it might just – ironically – crash your Mac.
iChat has just gotten better throughout. Why so? Which instant messaging or communications program do you know of that allows you to 'pretend' to be on a grand vacation in Paris, or diving off some exotic island, when you're really still sitting in the comfort of your home? Through custom backdrops, where you chat from is only limited by your own imagination. iChat also supports screen sharing now as well as full session recording including audio and video.
Lastly, in our opinion, Safari's new Web Clip is a very handy function. It allows users to create and customize their own dashboard widgets from any web page or content. So users out there, think updated comics, videos or anything you'd like your widget to display from the web basically. When we tried out this feature, we were initially concerned about the security of this feature as we tested it on our emails and whether it would be updated when we logged out. Rest assured, Web Clip will show an expired page when Safari is closed, so security is not much of a problem here.
With the Mac OS X Leopard release, Boot Camp is now a built-in feature. Users of the Boot Camp beta program before should be able to upgrade effortlessly as well with your copy of Leopard.
If you're considering the Mac OS X Leopard for your next Mac upgrade (and which Mac user isn't?), the single license is priced locally at S$238 or S$369 for a family pack license good for up to five Macs. Mac OS X Server Leopard is also available at S$888 for the ten-client edition and S$1788 for unlimited clients.