What it is: What Steve Jobs called a new “Desktop” during his Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in June is really a group of changes to OS X’s general interface, as well as improvements to the Dock.
What’s new: Interface changes in OS X 10.5 include a now-translucent menu bar, a consistent dark-gray window appearance throughout the Mac interface, and a refined Dock appearance. Dock icons now sit on a glossy surface (which reflects any windows that happen to be near the Dock). Active applications get a new signal—a bright, glowing dot replaces the black triangle that signals active apps in Tiger.
Perhaps the most significant addition to the Desktop in Leopard is Stacks—a new feature that lets you place folders in the Dock for quick access to their contents. A default stack in the Dock will be a new unified Downloads folder—downloads from the Web or from e-mail attachments automatically wind up here. The idea behind a Downloads stack is that it will help you keep your Desktop clean while still allowing easy access for downloads with just a single click.
Stacks in OS X 10.5
The enhancements to the Desktop are covered in much greater detail in our Desktop and Finder changes preview.—JASON SNELL