When Steve Jobs demo'd Mac OS 10.5 (a.k.a. "Leopard") at last year's Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) on August 7, 2006 he deliberately kept many of its major features "top secret." 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." Apple even went so far as hanging banners in Moscone West that taunted "Introducing Vista 2.0" and "Hasta la Vista. Vista."
Now that Vista has shipped I think that Apple should be the one starting the photocopiers.
I spent a little time recently checking out Microsoft's Vista operating system and it's impressive. A Windows friend of mine called it "the Mac times 2."
While I wouldn't quite go that far, it's definitely impressive and features a ton of eye candy that will quickly win over XP users tired of the same old Microsoft UI. It should be noted that my friend divulged that it took the better part of the weekend to install Vista. The update itself took 3.5 hours, but then he had to buy, return and buy another video card, fight with the video drivers and buy another gigabyte of RAM.
Like it or not, Vista's Aero theme and Aero Glass are impressive, the accordion view is cool, Microsoft's Gadgets are a huge step above Apple's dashboard and Vista features a killer launcher implementation that's like the best parts of Quicksilver and Spotlight put together. Now that Vista is shipping I hope that Apple is taking a long hard look at it.
Mac OS 10.5's Time Machine, Spaces and VoiceOver look amazing and the much-needed improvements to Mail, iCal, iChat, Dashboard and Spotlight should breathe new life into the OS, but is it enough? Where are all the "top secret" Leopard features that Apple promised in Leopard? I hope that they're good or Apple risks losing their position in the great OS race.
QuickTime demos of the key Leopard features (announced to date) are on Apple’s Sneak Peek page.