Will Leopard thrill or disappoint?

Will Leopard thrill or disappoint?

Summary: Will Leopard be seen as being innovative enough?


Today I came across two pieces about Leopard which I found really interesting; one by John Gruber of Macworld and the other by Hadley Stern of Apple Matters.  I came away with the feeling that both were saying the same thing, but coming at it from different directions.

Gruber can't contain his satisfaction with Mac OS X:

"Users wanted something new, something that would be as big a leap from the then-current operating system as the original Mac was from the Apple II. When Apple transitioned from OS 9 to OS X, we finally got it.

The initial major releases of OS X were exciting because the early versions had such gaping holes and serious performance flaws. The only reason it was possible for Apple to improve OS X so much between 10.0 and 10.4 was that there was so much room for improvement.

I’m not arguing that there’s no room left. It’s just that OS X 10.4 is so fundamentally good that future upgrades are likely to be on the scale of small refinements.

Apple’s long-term strategy for desktop computing seems to be refining OS X, not replacing it."

Stern is far more critical:

"Look, I love OS X. And I’m with John that when it first came out it was awful, and that Tiger is currently an excellent operating system. But I don’t just expect refinements from Apple (and I certainly don’t expect to part with $129 for it) I expect innovation. "


"I have used the beta of Leopard extensively (and legally I might add) and for the most part it falls within the refinement area. It is faster, smoother, and the OS details are more consistent. It has spaces (which is nothing new), a horribly-rendered title bar image-thingy (which makes me think someone hired a UI designer from Redmond) and some other stuff I can’t remember right now. But what it doesn’t offer is anything really new, and this is a shame. "

See what I mean about coming at the conclusion from different angles.  Gruber is happy with OS X and doesn't see the need to make any radical changes while Stern thinks that the lack of anything really new is a problem. 

The reason I find this interesting is because it reminds me of the coverage that Vista was getting before it was released.  On the one hand you had people who were satisfied because, while acknowledging that Vista wasn't all that revolutionary, it added new features where they were needed.  On the other hand you had no shortage of people who believed that Vista just wasn't new and innovative enough.  While I don't align myself with anybody that claims Vista or Leopard is going to be so bad that it turns people back to abacuses, it is interesting that the "not innovative enough" label has been applied to both.

I can't speak for Leopard because I've not seen much of it, but I do wonder whether the issue of innovation (or the lack of it) comes down the fact that so many new systems are finding their way into the hands of very basic users.  Go back five or 10 years and the ratio or expert of power user to basic user much have been a lot higher than it is now.  Maybe those who seek higher levels of innovation will need to look away from consumer operating systems?


Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Microsoft, Windows

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  • Two words

    Time machine. That's going to be the big innovation for Leopard. It's typical Apple. Take something that has traditionally been complicated and difficult and turn it into something elegant and actually practical to use.
    • One word.

      Steve Jobs said that there are still features under wraps, which will be disclosed when
      Leo goes GM.
      Also, the delay kinda messed things up a tad.
    • It will thrill

      It's packed full of new features and goodies like Time Machine. I'm sure I'll love it. I
      plan on buying it on a brand new iMac as soon as I can buy them together.

      Mac using iPhone users are probably in for the biggest thrills as Apple begins to
      rewrite the book on device syncing. But OS X has always been a thrill to use. Leopard
      will be just more of a good thing. I never hesitate to pay for and install the next
      version. It's always been worth every penny.
      Len Rooney
      • And they made sure to include the very best

        of Vista in it. The desktop looks so much like Vista, I think apple has been using Vista betas and release as something to shoot for, even if they fall well short.
    • Right!

      There's a feature I can use. I didn't upgrade to Tiger because I didn't care too much for widgets. But Time Machine is very useful. That and other new features will be worth the price of an upgrade, I think.
      • re:Right!

        I'm not too big on widgets either. I always block OSX when it tries to call out to
        update Widgets. I really don't like software that calls home for any reason. I like Macs
        because they don't try communicate with home except for the widgets or if you tell it
        to check for updates once a week. When they come out with Apple Genuine
        Advantage will be the day I stop upgrading OSX.
        • It just might...

          [b]When they come out with Apple Genuine Advantage will be the day I stop upgrading OSX. [/b]

          Namely the day someone figures out how to run OSX natively on NON Apple hardware... By this, I don't mean a clone of OSX.
    • Two words

      System Restore
      Yeah, it isn't quite the same thing, and the UI isn't nearly as pretty, but MS has been doing basically the same thing for years already; and it really was/is already not complicated or difficult, and it is practical to use.
      • Um, OK.

        You can try to compare System Restore to Time Machine until you're blue in the face, but people are still going to laugh at you.
      • System Restore

        System Restore on Windows is not the same as Time Machine will be on the Mac.
        System Restore only restores core Windows settings. It does not restore files or 3rd
        party applications.
      • System Restore + Restore Previous Versions

        System restore is nice and has been out a [b]lot[/b] longer than Time Machine has been out. Oh, wait, Time Machine isn't out yet and people are already acting like they know how it works!!! :)

        Shadow Volume Copy has also been out for a [b]lot[/b] longer than Time Machine has been out. Oops, I did it again! I forgot that Time Machine isn't out yet!

        Vista, [b]today[/b] allows you to right click on any file and restore any previous version of that file. Much, much, much easier and more intuitive than the way Time Machine works today. OOPS! Oh no! Time Machine doesn't work at all today! Wow, I can't believe I forgot that again. Well, the way Vista handles archiving and restoring is so much more intuitive than the documentation I've read about Time Machine. No special client to run, no options to choose, simply right click, choose "Restore previous versions", pick the version, and you are done. It all takes seconds. Again, from the documentation I've read about Time Machine (remember, no one has actually used it so no one can definitively say how it works), restoring a file with Time Machine will take minutes and force the user to navigate through several screen.

        Man, I sure hope they don't delay Leopard [b]again[/b] (already delayed once, hehe)!!
        • Vista file restore does not equal time machine

          time machine works by hooking up your mac to an external drive. If your internal harddrive goes bad, you can replace it, run time machine and your mac is back just like it was. With Vista, what happens if your internal hard drive goes bad? Is there an option to automatically keep backing up everything (system + apps + documents) to an external hard drive similar to time machine?
        • Get your head checked...

          I think you have a tumor. Perhaps you should find the in-depth WWDC demo of Time
          Machine. Not the one that took place during the keynote, but the one where Scott
          Forstall explains to developers exactly how Time Machine works. Time Machine tracks
          all changes to all files at all times. Also, Time Machine works just as it was shown
          during the keynote. There aren't several screens to navigate. Maybe you should
          spend more time reading and less time cheerleading. Don't bullshit me about how
          great Vista is. It's installed on my MacBook Pro. As far as I'm concerned, it's a waste
          of 30GB.
      • Also worth mentioning ...

        That Time Machine needs a separate attached to the Mac to work.
  • For $130 price, it needs to offer more.

    But hey, the Mac faithful won't mind financing Steve a bit more.
    • Pretty inexpensive

      If I don't say so myself.
    • Like Vista?

      $400 for what? An "Aqua"-like appearance called Aero? Geez, talk about originality... But the Windoz faithful don't mind financing Monkeyboy Ballmer a bit more. (Prozac gets expensive, I hear...)
      • I agree, both over priced and little value for the money.

        Amazing, we agree on something.
      • re: Like Vista?


        "$400 for what? An "Aqua"-like appearance called Aero?"

        Where do you Mac fanbois keep coming up with this "$400" figure? Oh. I get it. Vista Ultimate.

        It seems to me that Vista Home Premium provides the Aero interface for much less than "$400". And since most Vista users receive the OS on a brand new computer, rather than purchasing either a full retail or upgrade version...

        Yet the majority of you Mac fanbois rush right out and spend $130 every time Apple issues a service pack ("update") for OS X.

        Keep financing El Jobso's lifestyle. And stop lying.

        BTW, when is OS XI coming out? Does Apple really need to take 7+ years to develop a new OS?
        M.R. Kennedy
        • because...

          because home preimum is limited, where OSX is not. There are things OSX can do, that home premium would need to be upgraded for. Most people would never use any of those features, so it might be moot to most people.

          Also, $129 ($59 with edu discount) for an OS upgrade, that hasn't happened in over 2 years, isn't that bad. "Service packs" or OS updates are free downloads.