Some Quick Leopard Impressions

Steve Jobs outlined some more info about Leopard during his Keynote speech at this years WWDC, and Apple’s website has even more. Here are some of the overall impressions I’ve gained.

Eye Candy Is Important

One of the big changes (improvements may be debatable) in Leopard is in the visuals. Everything seems geared toward visual impressiveness. This user interface (UI) is intended to make people look at Vista and think it looks clunky.

all images in this post from apple.com

I’ve read many power-users bemoaning the fact that visual flair is becoming too emphasized in modern operating systems, and it doesn’t look like that trend is reversing anytime soon. Personally, I like visual enhancements so long as they do not come at a cost to usability. The only complaint here is in the menu bar. The menus look out-of-place when invoked.

it’s translucent now

iTunes = Mac Experience

Apple wants iTunes users to feel right at home in the Leopard UI – iTunes being the only Apple interface many potential users have daily contact with. As a result, the majority of the system resembles iTunes. Nowhere is this more evident than in the revamped Finder.

From the window design to the sidebar to Cover Flow, the Finder basically recreates the iTunes experience in file management. The message: “If you enjoy using iTunes, you will enjoy using a Mac.”

Organize Your Way

Stacks, the Dock, smart folders, Cover Flow, Quick View, Spaces – all of this gives the user greater flexibility in how he or she uses a Mac.

a stack of documents

Quick View in Time Machine

It’s all about giving you greater flexibility and more options in how and where you access your files, media, and applications. Content is king, and Apple is giving us many ways to experience, organize, and access that content.

One Size Fits All

Steve Jobs made a joke during his talk that Leopard will come in three editions – Basic at $129, Premium at $129, and Ultimate at $129. He thinks most people will buy the Ultimate Edition. The simple fact is that you don’t have to worry about which version of the OS to upgrade to because there is only one. Ease-of-use is a hallmark of the Macintosh experience, and that simplicity begins with the purchasing process.

Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on Leopard in October.

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