This is the second part of my personal analysis of Apple’s OS X upgrade, Leopard, that will be available in October. I’m focusing on the enhancements to the features and applications I use frequently and of course new features, application and innovations from Apple that looks useful for me personally. The first part of the analysis is available here.
Spaces let’s you create an infinite number of virtual desktops, which enables you to organize similar windows on their own desktop. This feature is new on the OS X platform, but it’s been around for ages on other operating systems. If you think that Spaces can clean up your window mess, consider You Control: Desktops ($29.95), which does exactly the same as Spaces will.
Is the Spaces feature worth the $129 price tag? Probably not, but if your files, desktop and windows are a mess and you throw Quick Look and Stacks in to the mix, we are getting closer.
Apple’s Mail was one of the pleasant surprises I found in Tiger. I used Thunderbird for a while, but it was too slow; Mail did exactly what I wanted - send and received e-mails - and it did it fast.
The new version of Mail, integrates nicely with both the Address Book and iCal. I’m not using iCal much because I don’t really have a personal life that I need to plan in detail, but for those of you who do, I think you will like the new version of Mail.
On the con-side of things, it looks like Mail is on its way to became a classic case of Bloatware. It now features To Do lists, notes, an RSS reader and stationery templates. Perhaps To Do lists and notes should be iCal features instead? And RSS in my mail application? That’s wrong on so many levels. The new version of Mail reminds me a little of Opera, which started out as a light weight browser and turned into a browser-mail-rss-torrent application.
The main new Mail feature Apple is focusing on is stationery templates; a collection of HTML e-mail templates ranging from dinner invitations to birthday greeting cards.
Are the Mail enhancements worth the $129 price tag? More HTML e-mail in my inbox? Please, tell me it’s just a bad dream!
Very little is new under the Dashboard sun; at least there is nothing there that will benefit me. The Widgets on your Dashboard will now sync on all your Macs if you’re a .Mac user, but since I’m not, it’s not too important to me. It could even be that this is a feature that exists already in Tiger.
Are the Dashboard enhancements worth the $129 price tag? What enhancements?
A built in Time Machine? On what level can this feature not be useful? Before you get too excited; this is not a real time machine. You can’t write down this weeks lottery numbers and jump back in time to cash in, even if the name suggest that you can.
Leopard’s Time Machine backs up all your files automatically to another internal hard drive, an external hard drive or even to a networked storage solution if you have that available. Why is this useful? If you have ever experienced a hard drive crash and you’re not taking regular backups, you know the answer to that question.
I’ve experienced two hard drive crashes, and if Time Machine works as well as Apple say it will, the feature is almost as useful as being able to go back in time with this week’s lottery numbers.
It should be mentioned that this feature is not entirely new; Windows Vista has a feature called Shadow Copy that is very similar. The main difference is that Apple’s version looks a lot better.
Is the Time Machine enhancements worth the $129 price tag? Hell, yeah, Time Machine is reason enough for me to queue up for the Leopard release in October. I’ll even buy an external hard drive.
Leopard Analysis Summary
It’s hard to come up with revolutionary ideas in the world of operating system development. Microsoft is struggling, and so is Apple. My impression is that the main focus with both Vista and the new version of OS X is the visual enhancements. At some point people will get bored with new interface gimmicks and start to look for other reasons to spend their hard earned money on new operating systems and upgrades. At least I know I am. Apple won me over with Time Machine this time, without that feature, an upgrade would have been very unlikely. But Time Machine, that’s a killer feature for you right there.