First Look: Picking our favorite Leopard features

When Apple rolls out a major OS X update, it doesn’t skimp on features, and Mac OS X 10.5 is no exception. When Leopard makes its debut this Friday, the latest version of OS X will sport some 300 new features and enhancements, with Apple offering a descriptive list of each and every one.

Of course, with great detail comes great confusion. Sure, you’re familiar with Leopard’s marquee features, but what about the nitty-gritty details in new additions like Time Machine or revamped favorites like iChat and Spotlight? And what about hidden features Apple has only addressed in passing.

We’re here to help. We want to walk you through Leopard’s sprawling feature set, so that you can discover which OS X changes should excite you, which ones merit a respectful nod, and which ones you can overlook. And to do that, we’re holding a Mock Draft for Leopard’s 300-plus features.

Anybody who plays fantasy sports—baseball, football, basketball, the other, better kind of football, and more—should be familiar with the idea of a Mock Draft. Fantasy gamers get together before the start of a season and go around the table, picking the players they expect to have stellar seasons. If it works for sports—and, increasingly, other realms of fantasy gaming—why shouldn’t a Mock Draft be the perfect way to highlight our favorite features in OS X 10.5.

So we rounded up eight Macworld editors, handed them the list of 300-plus Leopard features, and told them to assemble a roster of the top additions and enhancements in Mac OS X. How they defined a top feature was up to them—maybe it was something that improved upon an existing OS X feature or maybe it added a new capability altogether. Editors had to formulate their own drafting strategy heading into our 10-round draft.

And strategy turned out to be important because once a feature was selected by one editor, it was off the board—no one else could pick it. That way, we figured, editors would be forced to prioritize the enhancements in OS X 10.5 that really mattered to them.

We began the draft by picking at random the order in which editors would make their selections. Here’s a list of the participants in the order they made their picks in the first round of selections.

  • Philip Michaels, executive editor of Macworld.com
  • Rob Griffiths, senior editor
  • Jason Snell, editorial director
  • Dan Frakes, senior editor
  • Christopher Breen, senior editor
  • Kelly Turner, senior features editor
  • Dan Miller, executive editor of Macworld
  • Jonathan Seff, senior news editor
  • When we got to the end of Round 1, we flipped the selection order, with the eighth person picking first, the seventh person picking second and so on. When we got back to the top of the list, we flipped the selection order again. And so it went for 10 rounds until we had a list of 80 Leopard features drafted by our intrepid players.

    Below you’ll find a list of what each editor picked in our Mock Draft, along with the strategy they had going into this exercise and an explanation of the some of their top choices. And, just for fun, we also asked editor to name one Leopard feature they wouldn’t pick, no matter how long our draft lasted.

    Want to sound off on our selections? Take a gander at each editor’s list—for more insight on the picks, check out Rob Griffith’s draft analysis —and let us hear your picks and pans in the forum thread at the end of this article.

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