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30 October, 2007

my little Leopard review

Mac OS X v10.5 LeopardI got my copy of Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard last Friday. I installed it on my 24-inch iMac (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz with 3GB RAM), and played it all day Saturday.

My impression about Leopard? Amazing and fabulous. It definitely worth the wait.

I am not going to detail on all 300+ new features of Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard, nor all 9 major new features. You can read them from Apple's website, or better yet, get yourself a copy of Leopard and run it on a real Mac. I will just cover a few selected ones.

Some of you may remember that I attended ADC Leopard Tech Talk back in late February. That was my first time experiencing Leopard. Back then, Leopard was not stable enough (crashes often), some features were included (not much more than what had been mentioned in WWDC 2007). Even still unstable, the features simply look promising already.

Quick LookI would like to mention a few new features. Quick Look. The most useful feature in Leopard is Quick Look in my opinion. Quick Look, as the name suggests, it allows users to quickly looking at the content of the document before launching it. All you have to do is simply select it then hit the spacebar. Can't be any easier. You can look most documents (QuickTime movies, PDF file, Microsoft Word, Photoshop PSD, ... etc) in instant. Launching an application takes time, with Quick Look, it is almost instant. I tested it yesterday in Academy Store with a very complicated PDF (created with Aperture). It took a while for Preview to launch, displayed well. (Adobe Reader would take about the same time to launch and to display the document.) With Leopard's Quick Look, it's really instant. Even faster than Preview.

StacksAnd the new Desktop features updated 3-D look Dock with the Stacks, a great way of organising users documents, applications... etc. Apple bashers may argue this is nothing new, it's just like putting a folder in the Dock or Taskbar, besides Apple, no one made it so elegant and so easy to use.

Spaces is another cool and useful new feature. Although multi-desktop technology is nothing new, only Apple can integrate it so smoothly, letting users switching between screens beautifully, as well as no need to remember which Space resides which applications. Moving applications from one space to another is just a piece of cake, and is beautifully done. Users can even rearrange layout of the Spaces.

I haven't tried Time Machine myself as I haven't organised a good external HDD for it. Time Machine is a very convenient way to back up and revert back to certain time. This technology is not new, but Apple integrated it nicely. While backing up, it is the lowest priority in CPU, and it does not simply backs up everything unnecessary. Time Machine smartly chooses backs up the changes. Without a doubt, this is not a professional back-up solution, it does provide an easy way for average users.

All Mac OS X Leopard's new features are presented in an nice animation way. Windows supporters/Apple bashers would without a doubt say that it is just for the eye candy. During Leopard Tech Talk, they said that animation is not really for "fancy", but it provides a great way of visual feedback. Apple's design guideline specifies not to over do it.

Of course, Windows supporters are not impressed as expected. Viewing the content before opening the document is not really new (Don told me that Windows can do it in a ugly way*see below), backup solution is nothing new either. Nor does multiple desktop window. However, no other companies combined all those technologies together so nicely as Apple does in Leopard, beautifully integrated, and allowing end users to use them smoothly.

Mac OS X LeopardThe minimum system requirements for Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard are Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor, 512 MB of memory, DVD drive, 9GB of disk space. However, if you want to take the full advantage of Mac OS X Leopard, you should consider getting a Mac with Intel Core Duo processor or faster for Photobooth Effects and Backdrop Effects in iChat, and an external HDD for Time Machine.

Just a few things I would like to add, I install Mac OS X Leopard simply over the top of previous OS (Tiger), even my Parallels Desktop for Mac v2.5 (not latest version 3) works (Parallels has released new Leopard compatible updates), I haven't experienced any problems at all. I did make a backup of all documents, photos, and iTunes music.

Also, it is a good chance to fight back the myth about Mac being more expensive than Windows PC. As mentioned in SillyDog701 Mac vs PC debate thread, there are two major facts:

  1. Apple does not release a major upgrade to Mac OS X every year.
  2. Mac OS X costs much less than Microsoft Windows (AU$158 vs AU$455 (Vista Home Premium)).

(You can join the Mac vs PC debate here.)

Please refer to Mac OS X website for more information about Mac OS X Leopard. Haven't got a copy of Leopard? Get your copy now!
And don't steal Mac OS X or install it on unauthorised PCs.

Join the discussion - Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard released at SillyDog701 Message Centre.

* Thanks to Don for pointing out QuickView to me. QuickView was included in Windows 95, 98 and Windows NT as an optional install, it was then discontinued in later Windows. QuickView is an optional component, and does not display layout correctly in most cases.

Posted by Antony on 30 October 2007 11:44 AM | all things Mac
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