Steve Jobs' keynote address at WWDC 2006 was a little out of the ordinary. Rather than trumpeting all of the big new features coming to Mac OS 10.5 Leopard (due Spring 2007) Jobs specifically kept some of its major features "top secret." A stark contrast to the showman Jobs who usually whips attendees into a frenzy.
Jobs justified the secrecy by saying that he didn't want "our friends to have to start their photocopiers any sooner than they have to." A dig against Microsoft and a reference to banners hung at last year's WWDC conference.
Apple took a few friendly shots at Microsoft by hanging banners in Moscone West that taunted "Introducing Vista 2.0" and "Hasta la Vista. Vista." But it was Jobs' short and sweet Leopard demo that showed that Apple is taking its forthcoming battle with Vista very seriously.
WWDC is all about developers and developers are all about the operating system. Although Apple announced speedy Intel Mac Pros and Xserves yesterday, developers are mostly at the San Francisco confab to see the new cat. Mac OS 10.5 Leopard will go toe-to-toe with first major operating system update to come out of Redmond in five years - Vista.
The Mac OS 10.5 features that Jobs showed are impressive. Time Machine, Spaces and VoiceOver (part of the Universal Access control panel) look amazing and the much-needed improvements to Mail, iCal, iChat, Dashboard and Spotlight will breathe new life into the OS. QuickTime demos of the key Leopard features are on Apple's Sneak Peek page.
Some things that weren't mentioned in the Leopard demo include: Safari 3.0, P2P Software Update, multi-user iCal, Yahoo/MSN compatibility and VOIP in iChat, changes to Automator and more Dashboard integration. I posted part of a rumored 10.5 feature set document that was sent to the PowerPage on Friday. I suspect that Apple's Leopard team will probably wait until after Vista's feature set has been frozen before announcing some of the key new features of 10.5.
Although Apple says that Leopard will ship in 'Spring 2006' I think that it's more likely that Apple will release Leopard in January 2007 alongside iLife and iWork '07 at Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
What feature do you hope that Apple is hiding in Leopard?