Tech News on G4

MAC OS X Leopard- New Cat on the Block

October 23, 2007

By Greg Gazin - Apple Gaziní - G4 Canada

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In a matter of days, Apple Computer will be releasing another cat onto the world – Leopard - Apple OS X 10.5. After having been delayed due to the release of the iPhone it will be unleashed on Friday October 26, 2007 at 6:00PM.

Apple claims there over 300 new enhancements in the latest upgrade, making it Apple’s most powerful operating system to date. While I haven’t counted every one of them, there are certainly quite a few and many are quite significant. Many new features have been added and others upgraded and enhanced. Let’s have a look at just a few of them.

Mac OS X Leopard.  The World's most advanced OS.

New Finder

First, the Finder has a new look and feel. Taking a page from the iPhone and the iPod Touch, Apple had added Cover Flow to the Finder’s operation. On the iPhone, Cover Flow allows you skim through album art like you would flip through the old vinyl LP records. With Mac OS 10.5, the “artwork” is the front page of whatever file you are browsing. The sidebar has been modified to resemble that used in iTunes.

Spotlight has been enhanced to allow for Boolean logic entries, a feature currently found in a Google search. This means that you can search for items using AND, OR, NOT as well as date searches. One nifty feature ( Google has this too) is that you can use the calculator function right within the Spotlight menu bar. Just type 2+2, for example, hit enter and the number 4 will appear. Tres cool and eliminates the need to launch your calculator.

Another feature added to the Finder is Back to My Mac. This will allow you to connect back to your office or home over the Internet. You will need a .Mac account for this feature, but it will certainly mean that you don’t have to carry every file with you wherever you go. This is just a few of the 15 new features in the Finder alone.

The Desktop has truly gone 3D. Instead of the dock sitting at the bottom of your screen, it appears to be sitting on a platform in 3D. Active applications will appear brighter showing them as being in use. The menu
bar is semi-transparent.

 

Stacks

If you’re like most people, you save everything to your desktop making your plethora of your docs appear like wallpaper. Apple knows this and created a new feature to combat this: Stacks. A stack itself is a Dock item that is really a folder full of files that can spring to life so you can skim through them quickly. I would have called this feature “Piles” – because that’s exactly what they are. Leopard ships with 2 preconfigured stacks, one for downloads and one for documents, but you can use them for anything.

 

I SPY

Have you ever found yourself opening file after file looking for something in particular, but just can’t remember where you left it? Furthermore, could you not remember what type of file it was? Spreadsheet? Document? Mail? With Apple’s new Quick Look, you can browse the contents of almost any file without even having to launch the application,

Do you have a backup? Many people don’t and even if you do, often getting back to where you were in a particular point in time can often be a royal pain. H.G. Wells would be proud of this feature – Time Machine. All I can say about this one and pardon the pun that “it’s about time!”. Basically it’s a backup feature that has the ability to keep track as to what your system looked like, a snapshot, at a particular point in time. It’s done by way of a backup to an external drive. If you lose a file it can recover it, a series of files based on time or an entire system. You can configure it to work in the background and on its own or you can configure it manually. If the backup is interrupted, lets say by a power outage or a shutdown, it will continue where it left off when the computer is back up and running.

iChat for Leopard has also been enhanced. You can use the special effects found in Photo Booth, like comic book, glow, pencil, pop art. You can also slip in a customized backdrop. Major enhancements include the ability to show photos and pictures from your desktop as well as the ability to record both audio and video from your chats.

Safari has 13 new features, the one in particular I like is called “Clip it”. This feature allows you to turn any webpage into a dashboard widget. So for example if you find a webpage that has a weather indicator, you can clip it and it becomes a stand-alone dashboard widget.

In Address Book, you’ll be able to highlight an address, hit control key and select “Map of” to get a Google map of that address. Mail now allows for custom stationery, with 30 sample templates supplied and if you subscribe to an RSS feed via Mail, you’ll be notified as soon as a new article hits.

The DVD Player for 10.5 will have a full screen interface will feature a time slider allowing you to move to a specific point in your movie, something that really can’t be done with the current version. You will also be able to time skip 5 seconds forward or back. You can also watch flicks while you work. The DVD player stay in the foreground and float above your applications.

 

Minimum Requirements

If you are using a G3 or early G4, here may be the excuse you need to upgrade. You’ll need at least an 867MHZ G4 with at least 512MB of RAM. A DVD drive is a must and you’ll need 9GB of free space on your hard drive to do the install.

These are just a few of the 300 new features in the newest Mac OS X 10.5 code name: Leopard. Apple is now accepting pre-orders.

Taking a pot shot at Microsoft’s myriad of Vista offerings, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs said, ““Leopard, the sixth major release of Mac OS X, is the best upgrade we’ve ever released. And everyone gets the ‘Ultimate’ version, packed with all the new innovative features, for just $129.”

 

Greg Gazin can be reached at gadgetguy “at” telus “dot” net.

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