updated 03:00 pm EDT, Mon August 7, 2006
Mac OS X Leopard preview
Apple today at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) previewed Mac OS X Leopard, the next generation of its operating system featuring 64-bit application support and a new "Time Machine" backup application. The company noted, however, that it would not show all of its "top secret" Leopard features yet, preventing Microsoft from "starting the photocopiers" too early. Time Machine automatically and transparently backs up data, allowing users to restore entire drives or just specific documents from a specific time/date using visual navigation based on a timeline. Time Machine also automatically configures any attached drives for support, backing up music, photos, documents, and more.
Apple said that roughly 26 percent of users back up files, and the majority of these do so manually. The company's new Time Machine software automatically backs up files when alterations occur, and users can perform backups to a hard drive or a server.
Time Machine literally builds a timeline of file changes and Finder windows, allowing users to scroll back in time to recover overwritten files. Time Machine is built into iPhoto, according to the company, allowing users to easily recover deleted photos.
Boot Camp, Spotlight, and "Spaces"
The Mac OS X Leopard desktop appears very similar to Mac OS X Tiger, but features a Spotlight icon in the Dock. Leopard will ship with the company's Boot Camp software, as previously announced.
Additionally, Spotlight will pre-buffer recently-used applications, allowing users to access recent items quickly and easily while searching other machines when possible. Spotlight features new advanced search functions such as Boolean, file type, and others while adding a launcher for applications.
Leopard features "Spaces," new virtual desktops that allow users to manage different environments by grouping different applications to easily switch between and work on various projects.
Core Animation enables developers to deconstruct a scene into layers such as text, images, opacity, and OpenGL. A demonstration screen saver that totaled 4,000 lines of code totaled just 400 lines with Core Animation. Developers can specify start, goal, and any keyframes, allowing Leopard to take care of the rest. Developers can also create "Scenes" using layers of video, text, images, and OpenGL-enabled content.
Leopard also features built-in Rails support, as well as improved Universal access that includes VoiceOver with variable speed control and Braille support.
Apple has also added notes, to-do items, and stationary to Mail.app. SStationery uses HTML standards to ensure each message looks the same in all mail clients, while notes is a new mailbox intended for information storage. Mail offers closed captioning support in QuickTime, better VoiceOver technology for natural-sounding text-to-speech voices, Braille support, and more. Mail to-do lists are similar to iCal to-do lists, and other applications can post to Mail's to-do lists, working with iCal.