Spotting new features in Leopard

Apple Inc announced on October 16th that it will ship the next generation of its operating system—10.5, a.k.a. Leopard—on October 24, 2007. Leopard maintains Apple’s tradition of stunning graphics, incorporates over 300 new features, and continues to be extremely compatible with other hardware and devices—all while being based on the extremely secure and stable UNIX operating system.

Many new software enhancements make the system easier to organize and will make users more productive. One such feature is “Spaces”, which allows the user to create groupings of applications into separate workspaces. For instance, one could gather Mail, Address Book, and Safari into one group and QuarkXpress or Indesign, PhotoShop, and Illustrator into another. The user could then switch between communications and page design and layout without cluttering up the activities.

Within the Finder are many new features that will speed up work. When using “QuickLook”, users will be able to preview movies, multiple-page documents, and images without having to launch another application. The Finder also incorporates “CoverFlow”, originally introduced in iTunes 7, which allows users to flip through large previews of documents as with a digital rolodex. “Stacks” aims to clean up the Desktop clutter by creating groups or stacks of documents and downloaded files.

“TimeMachine” is another breakthrough application which, with the purchase of a second hard drive, will allow users to painlessly back up their work. “TimeMachine” creates snapshots of the files on the computer which will enable users to “go back in time” to find files or versions of files saved on previous days. By scrolling back to an earlier hard drive state, users can recover a previously deleted file and drag it back to the present day Desktop.

Additionally, “Back to My Mac” will give users a connection to Macs at home while on the road. Users will be able to connect to and navigate on remote machines to get those presentation files accidentally left at home. iChat adds the ability to share each user’s desktop and files with others while chatting via video conference. With this kind of built-in collaboration, users can work in groups across the office or across the country.

Currently users can use .Mac to share photos and blogs and to create web sites, as well as being able to sync Bookmarks, Addresses, and email. With Leopard, users will be able use .Mac to sync their Dashboard widgets, Dock settings, etc, so that all of their Macintosh computers will appear the same and have the same settings.

Apple has also included more features in Parental Control to protect tender minds. BootCamp is also now a standard feature allowing users to run Windows XP SP2 and Vista on an Intel Mac.

Any new Mac purchased since October 1, 2007 is entitled to a free copy of Mac OS X 10.5. Otherwise it can be purchased for $129 for single copies or $199 for a five-user Family Pack. Leopard also requires that users have a Macintosh with Intel Mac, PowerPC G5 or PowerPC G4 processor, a minimum of 512 MB RAM, a DVD for installing and 9 GB of hard drive space. (TimeMachine and .Mac require additional purchases.)

Along with Leopard, Apple has also introduced Mac OS X Server 10.5 which employs a new simplified set up. This means that you don’t need an IT Guy (Hey! Wait a minute‚Ķ) to quickly set up and configure a server. Server 10.5 will be ideal for users and groups who need a workgroup solution. Both Macintosh and Windows users can share files, share managed printers, employ virtual private networks, as well as share Mail, FTP, Web and Open Directory services.

New features in Mac OS X Server 10.5 include the iCal server for collaborative publishing and sharing of events and appointments. Wiki Server takes the “geek” out of setting up a company-wide community where users can create and edit content collectively. Also included is a Podcast Production server so that companies can create podcasts to share information and create training materials. The Spotlight Server creates an index of files on mounted volumes throughout the office allowing users to search and find a file—further reducing Finder surfing.

Mac OS X Server 10.5 will sell for around $499 for a 10–user license or $999 for an unlimited license. More information can be found at http://www.apple.com/server/macosx/.

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