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10 Takes on OSX Leopard

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We know, we've given you lots of coverage on Apple's new Leopard. And we've even given you a convenient matrix outlining what the NYTimes, WSJ and USA Today have had to say about the new OS. But for the final step, we need a real consensus—not just one or two voices, but a roomful of reviewers shouting at the top of their lungs telling you what to do.


So hit the jump for our Frankenreview: 10 takes on Leopard, or fresh perspectives on all those features you've heard about now 100 times already. And hopefully, by the end, we will have The Answer.



It's time machine, ichat, finder...blah blah blah...but the truth is, you can't go back. Tiger had a few things that I got caught up on—little hiccups like when you get your sleeve caught on a doorknob, that kind of feeling—and they ironed em out.

- Brian Lam to me over AIM after testing


The first differences you notice when switching from Tiger is the transparent menu bar and the 3D dock. The dock looks nice, even though not offering much new functionality.


[A]new feature found within the dock is "Stacks". Any folder that's dragged to the right side of the Dock turns into "Stacks". Once you click these Stacks the items within that folder will spring out....Very cool feature and something totally unique...


The concept of Spaces is that the Mac's interface is actually a series of workspaces, located adjacent to one another on a grid...I'm not convinced that multiple workspaces are ever going to be a mainstream feature, but they can be a huge productivity boost to busy power users.


Technology Review

Unfortunately, Time Machine has a serious problem: there is no way (that I can find) to remove a file from a Time Machine backup. This is a pretty glaring omission. [UPDATE from Apple: This is factually incorrect.]


[Safari's] headline feature is that you can take a fragment of a web page and turn it into a Dashboard widget...There's also a more subtle improvement: you can resize text areas in web pages.


The general interface speed of Leopard, despite its fancier bells and whistles, is at least slightly faster overall than Tiger in general and in some cases dramatically snappier and more responsive...That's largely because many of the fancy features of Leopard are delegated to the video card, which is usually sitting idle.



[Under the hood] DTrace solves a long-standing kernel development problem, and does so in such a fantastic way that it creates new opportunities for Apple to help all programmers...[which] can't help but lead to better, faster, more stable applications—from third-party developers as well as from Apple itself. And it's all thanks to an obscure, open-source, low-level kernel debugging framework from Sun.


After playing with the system for a couple of days, it becomes apparent that there is plenty on offer, ranging from small improvements such as being able to see which wi-fi networks are locked or open to more drastic changes such as smart folders.


Should you pay for Leopard? If you're happy with the way Tiger works, then maybe not. If you need Bootcamp, however, then you must have Leopard...Plus, Leopard makes it far easier to find documents and applications than Windows Vista...


- Consensus? Read the top and bottom quotes again and let the battle ensue between your wallet and your techie conscience. But there's no doubt that Leopard is more than a re-skinned Tiger, and that most of the hyped new functions are useful for more tasks than filling up a feature sheet. Leopard is an incredible follow-up to Tiger.