First Look: Picking our favorite Leopard features
My strategy: I went into the draft looking for new features that will personally bring me substantial benefits, as well as for solutions to long-standing requests and needs from Mac users.
Sure, there are many good backup utilities out there, but the ability to see exactly what my hard drive looked like on a particular date, and to be able to use Spotlight to search for—and within—any document I’ve ever had, is groundbreaking. Even better, being able to quickly restore any file using an interface that looks and works just like the Finder means anyone should be able to use it. I’ll still keep SuperDuper handy to maintain an updated, bootable clone of my hard drive, but if Time Machine delivers on its promises, this built-in feature of Leopard will replace Retrospect for my incremental, archival backups.
The virtual desktop feature Spaces went in the second round of our draft.
I’ve always been intrigued by the idea behind virtual desktops; unfortunately, I’ve never found an implementation that won me over. That may change with Leopard—as I noted in our first look at Spaces last year, Apple has taken what has traditionally been a power-user feature and attempted to make it easy to use and understandable. I’m looking forward to seeing if it will smoothly integrate into my daily workflow.
Although this feature doesn’t sound that exciting, it’s one I’ve been wanting since the early days of Mac OS X. It just seemed so obvious—if right-clicking on a folder in the Dock showed you its contents, and if dragging an item over a Finder folder opened that folder so you could drag the item inside, why couldn’t folders in the Dock pop open when you dragged something onto them? Now they can. But the feature isn’t limited to folders; it also works with applications. For example, if you want to drag a picture into your iPhoto library, you just drag the image onto the iPhoto icon in the Dock; the app comes forward, and you can then drop the clipping in place. This is a feature I expect to use many times each day.
What I’d never pick: Although I may come to appreciate the new application-window style, from what I've seen of the semitransparent menu-bar and reflective Dock, one of the first things I’ll be doing with my Leopard installations is figuring out how to make the menu bar white and the Dock non-reflective.