Feeds

Welcome back, Apple. Seriously.

Leopard - they still do computers

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

For Windows users, it's primarily the safety of running all their old applications at full speed, or as near to full speed as makes no difference. This is something Apple couldn't offer until very recently - but the transition to Intel chips has gone smoother than anyone expected. And with Intel chips, there's no performance or compatibility penalty that comes from CPU instruction level emulation.

Thanks to Parallels and VMWare Fusion, Macs can even run Windows applications seamlessly on the same desktop. Without these two applications, Windows users can still dual-boot using Apple's own Boot Camp, although a copy of Windows is still needed in both cases. When users have their favourite music or special interest software for Windows, that makes switching alot more attractive.

Leopard does have the usual collection of annoyances and very welcome tweaks we've come to expect.

But Leopard, like Tiger, is about one very major new feature - in Tiger it was search (Spotlight) and in Leopard it's backup (Time Machine). But both are primarily marketing rather than releases - designed to remind people about the Mac system. That's not meant to be dismissive: Apple had done pretty much all the heavy lifting by the time OS X 10.3 (Panther), the first usable successor to the old Mac OS, appeared four years ago.

So on the plus side come lots of very minor but welcome interface improvements: Better parental controls, a Windows-style preview called Quick Look, and simple screen-sharing across a LAN. On the downside, there are one or two UI novelties that seem to be included for no reason other than to confuse and annoy users, such as the translucent menu bar.

As for "Stacks", it's something I first wrote about four years ago when I interviewed one of the original designers; it's a technology Apple has had since 1992. (Read about how "Piles" evolved into Stacks here.) But I'm reserving judgement until I've had a chance to put it through its paces.

Experience has taught me never to judge a new mobile phone unless a full month has elapsed - additions that seem useful after a week or two prove themselves to be tiresome gimmicks after a couple more. Similarly with desktop UI er, "innovations". After a month of Tiger, I'd gone back to CTM's excellent FoxTrot Personal Search for finding documents by content, and Devon Technologies' (free) EasyFind for finding files by name. And it took even less time to unburden my F12 from Dashboard.

But Leopard looks set to fulfil its role as a reminder why the Mac is simpler, more secure and less of an unmanageable hairball than its chief desktop rival, Windows.

We'll have a full preview soon after the Torrent has downloaded Leopard goes on sale. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.