WWDC 2007: Apple reveal near-finished OS X Leopard

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Many Apple Mac fans and developers were hoping for Steve’s keynote speech to include copious references to the next generation of Mac OS X — Leopard — and indeed there was plenty of demonstration of the system that’s now, apparently, nearly complete.

There’s still plenty of testing to do (developers at WWDC were able to pick up a beta copy of Leopard) so it’s unlikely to arrive before October – still plenty of time to drool over some serious features backed up by amazing eye candy.

Admittedly, most features shown off were more developed versions of what we saw last year, but it all looked very slick, and there were some surprises to be seen.

Bear in mind, too, that Steve only showed off ten of the 300 new features reportedly in Leopard. Yes of course some of those new features will equate to very minor things, like a new font or a new button.

Two of the most stunning pieces of “anti-Aerouseful eye candy have to be the rolling out of the “Cover Flow” feature throughout the operating system, and the revamped, photo-realistic desktop with Stacks.

The Apple web site describes Stacks:

Take a look at your desktop. Is it cluttered with files you downloaded or saved there (somewhat less than) temporarily? You’re not alone. Everybody does it. Time to clean house with Stacks — a brand-new feature in Leopard. Create Stacks from anything you want to access quickly from one place: a handful of documents, a group of applications, an entire folder. Files you download in Safari or save from an email are automatically directed to a Stack in the Dock, and when the download is complete, the Stack signals that a new item has arrived. When you want to see the files in a Stack, all you have to do is click — Stacks spring open from the Dock in an elegant arc for a few items, or in an at-a-glance grid for more. Pretty neat.

It looks great.

Equally impressive is the extension of Cover Flow — familiar to anyone using the latest versions of iTunes — into the revamped Finder. Coupled with the “Quick Look” functionality, which can show a variety of standard document types independently of their associated applications, it allows you to flick through your documents and files in the same way as you’d scour your virtual CD collection in iTunes. Neat!

We’ve also had confirmation that Boot Camp will come as standard in Leopard – for the “occasional times you need to run a Windows application on your Mac”.

And of course, Safari 3 will integrate itself as seamlessly into Leopard as Apple hope and expect it to on the iPhone and Windows.

Related posts:
WWDC 2007: Get set for iPhone Web 2.0 applications
WWDC 2007: Apple takes Safari 3 browser to Windows XP and Vista
WWDC 2007: Apple gets EA and iD to make a big games splash on Macs
WWDC 2007: Live blogging Steve Jobs’ keynote speech: Today from 6pm BST (10am PST)

Andy Merrett