updated 11:25 am EDT, Mon October 29, 2007
Ars criticizes Leopard
Mac OS X Leopard is in general a fantastic operating system, but hurt by its new look, ArsTechnica writes. The publication's new review praises the "internal" changes of the OS, such as Time Machine backup and the tough-but-necessary migration to a 64-bit codebase, but complains that several changes to the interface are unnecessary or even detrimental to usability. With the exception of custom programs such as Garage Band, for instance, all programs are now required to use the new "slate gray" appearance, which is said to be not entirely unattractive but in conflict with items such as Aqua-like dialog buttons.
More harshly attacked in the review is the new Dock, which is rendered in a "pseudo-3D" appearance that reflects icons and any window placed nearby. This is described as gaudy, akin to a "nine year-old girl putting make-up on her dollie," while it is noted that the effect disappears entirely when moving the Dock to the side of the screen -- possibly as a move to appease critics of the alternative.
Two aspects of Leopard's GUI are said to actively hinder users, these being the new folder icons and the Menu Bar. Folders with special icons on them, such as Applications, are now rendered with low-contrast embossing, making them much harder to identify at small sizes. The same problem is amplified by the new Menu Bar, which is translucent and can be difficult to read if used in combination with the wrong wallpaper. Though Apple has toned down the effect since pre-release versions of the OS, this is said to be the primary problem with Leopard's interface, one that will most likely require third-party hacks to remedy.