First Look: What we wanted in Leopard: Request vs. reality

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11. Smart users

Our best guess is that if Leopard offered the option to easily transport your personal information and favorite applications from one Mac to another via a USB keydrive or iPod, Jobs would have shouted about it to the heavens. He didn’t, so we’re not holding our breath.

12. Improve VoiceOver

This is one that decidedly falls into the Plus column. Not only has Apple granted our wish that VoiceOver become easier to use (you will be able to configure VoiceOver’s preferences so it provides more or less detail in its descriptions of objects on your Mac’s screen) but, as we’d hoped, it will provide far-less-robotic text-to-speech voices with Leopard. Jobs demonstrated a Mac reading a paragraph of text with a voice that was every bit as natural as the voices offered by Cepstral.

13. Expand Disk Utility’s powers

We’d hoped that Leopard’s version of Disk Utility would provide more robust tools for dealing with a misbehaving Mac as well as for partitioning drives without having to erase the data on them. We’ll go on hoping until Apple gives a definite yea or nay on this subject.

14. More from Mail

Jobs didn’t address the under-the-hood improvements I’d longed for in Mail—more extensive rules and filters, for example. In his world, getting more from Mail means providing users with stationery templates, notes, and to-do’s that link to applications such as iCal. I’m hopeful that along with these eye-catching features, we’ll see those under-the-hood improvements as well.

15. Smart syncing

Want to sync folders on your Mac with those same folders on a mounted file server or remote server as easily as you can with .Mac? So do we, but Apple has dropped no hint that Leopard will allow you to.

16. Keeping tabs with iChat

Nailed it. Not only will the next revision of iChat let you display multiple chats in one window via a tabbed interface as well as save video chat files, as we’d hoped, but you will be able to display an iPhoto slideshow or Keynote presentation within a video iChat, observe and control a single shared desktop with a new feature called iChat Screen Sharing, and place your iChat image in front of a virtual backdrop—either a still image or QuickTime movie.

17 and 18. Automator II and more Automator updates

We would like Automator to be able to record onscreen actions and offer more advanced programming tools including variables, conditionals and branching. Jobs mentioned nary a word of Automator’s future but we remain hopeful that no only will Automator be even easier to use under Leopard, but more flexible too.

19. Capturing moving pictures

We at Macworld live and die by Ambrosia Software’s amazing still- and motion-capture utility, Snapz Pro X. If Jobs’ failure to mention similar motion-capture capabilities in Leopard is any hint, our investment in Snapz Pro X will not have been in vain.

20. Bring back Sherlock

Given the promise of Web Clip, a Leopard feature that will let users grab a portion of a Web page that updates on a regular basis—local movie listings, for example, or updated sports scores—and plunk that data into a widget, we can drive the last nail in Sherlock’s coffin. Apple has clearly thrown its weight behind widgets to the point where we’ll be shocked if the Sherlock icon hasn’t made its last appearance in Tiger.

21. Pop-up innovations

Macworld ’s Big Cheese, Jason Snell, was hopeful that Apple would allow Dashboard widgets to interact with the Mac OS in meaningful ways. For example, you might drag a widget out of the Dashboard layer and into the Mac’s interface or, when something important happens, a widget might bubble up to the surface. From all appearances, widgets will remain beached in the Dashboard environment.

22. Tabbed Terminal

If you spend a lot of time in Terminal with multiple windows open, you’d like a version of Terminal that included a tabbed interface for neatly arranging those windows. If a Developers Conference isn’t the place to show off such a geeky feature, we don’t know what is. Yet a tabbed Terminal was not on the menu. On the other hand, Jobs’ WWDC keynote is as much for the mainstream press as it is for developers and a tabbed Terminal isn’t likely to wow the readers of the New York Times and Business Week .

23. PowerPC or not to be?

Even though Apple officially ended its relationship with the PowerPC processor by announcing the Intel-based Mac Pro and Xserve, the PowerPC lives on in its support in Leopard. Take a gander at the bottom of Apple’s Leopard Sneak Peek page and you’ll see these words:

All these features and more are delivered to you in one universal, fully accessible, 64-bit operating system.

The key word here is universal , a term Intel-Mac users are accustomed to looking for when researching software compatibility. But as the tide turns and we move to the point where applications that work with Intel processors are the norm, those running older Macs with PowerPC processors will be just as interested in Universal applications—and an operating system—that work with their computers.

[ Christopher Breen is a senior editor for Macworld .]

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