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Snow Leopard interface shows subtle alterations

updated 12:55 pm EDT, Fri May 29, 2009

Snow Leopard UI changes

A number of minor but cumulatively important interface changes have been made in Mac OS X Snow Leopard, observes a Flickr user with access to the developer beta. Beyond some known tweaks, such as the addition of sliders for icon size, the software is also expected to warn users who have not created a password hint, and enable Quick Look within Open and Save dialogs, not just Finder. The System Preferences pane has meanwhile been rearranged, for instance splitting the Keyboard and Mouse sections, removing QuickTime, and moving Bluetooth under a new Internet & Wireless header.

Date and time options allow both figures to be shown in the Menu Bar, and timezones can now be set automatically, using data gleaned from Core Location. Some security features include the ability to permit signed apps to bypass the firewall, and separate the times when a Mac goes to sleep and asks for a password.

iCal has been given support for Microsoft Exchange accounts, while Address Book has been altered with settings for sync with MobileMe, Yahoo, Google and Exchange. Expanded connectivity includes scanner sharing, and automatic detection of wireless mice when opening the Mouse pane.

QuickTime X is newly capable of frameless playback, and even minor audio and video editing in the form of trimming. Some miscellaneous OS changes include split Terminal windows, the renaming of the Installed Updates tab in Software Update to Installed Software, and the introduction of global text substitution. The latter forces software to replace characters with preferred ones, such as the trademark symbol in place of "TM." Automator has been revised to rely on workflow templates, including a new Service type.

More details on Snow Leopard are anticipated at June's WWDC event.

by MacNN Staff



  1. ibook_steve


    Joined: Dec 1969


    Keyboard & mouse

    I find it humorous just how many times Apple has brought the keyboard and mouse preferences together in one and then separated them again. This has been happening since classic OS days. They combine them to try to simplify, then it gets too complicated, so they separate. And so it goes.

  1. 010111

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Quicktime X.

    "QuickTime X is newly capable of frameless playback, and even minor audio and video editing in the form of trimming."

    Don't be fooled. Quicktime X is missing about 90% of the editing features that it used to have in QT Pro. It is a complete joke.

  1. Loren

    Joined: Dec 1969


    how do you know?

    QT edit features may be buried in keyboard commands or require new operations, eh?

    Or maybe as you say, functionality stripped out so you'll use iMove for FC Express...who knows.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re how do you

    Except iMovie doesn't have some of the easy editing of QuickTime. And you don't have to convert your video.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    A warning if you don't have a password hint! What an enhancement! Glad you reported it.

    And isn't the password hint how they hacked into carmen electra's and palin'd email?

  1. finalsortie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How about. . .

    Instead of Microsoftian warnings about passwords, how about bring back ALL the functionality lost from OS 8/9 as options in System Preferences.

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: how do you

    QT edit features may be buried in keyboard commands or require new operations, eh?

    Well, they better not be buried in keyboard commands, because as any real Mac user will tell you, a quality UI puts all commands in the menu, with the option of adding keyboard commands. You don't just hide them in keyboard commands, because, then, users just can't 'learn' the software by using it. This was the mantra way back to the first Mac in 1984.

    Then again, Apple has forgotten these rules here and there. How they still allow themselves to put stuff in contextual menus in itunes, say, and not have them available in the regular menu just shows they don't care that much anymore.

    Or maybe as you say, functionality stripped out so you'll use iMove for FC Express...who knows.

    Great, so now you're saying Apple is becoming more like Microsoft. "Hey, remember these features? We removed them so you have to go and buy this or that and use it instead.".

    Then again, they Microsofted Quicktime years ago, when they put all the menus in Viewer to show what you 'could' do, if you just bought the 'pro' version. h***, look how long it took them to finally give the freeloaders the ability to full-screen a video?

  1. Gazoobee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @ LouZer

    What a bunch of negative nellies! (especially LouZer).

    The edit capabilities in the current QuickTime are invisible to most users as most users don't pay to upgrade to Pro so the new features of QuickTime X are actually an improvement to what was in the base QuickTime setup.

    Sure, most of the people "in the know" used a ripped off serial number to give these capabilities to QuickTime but that doesn't make them part of the package or free so it's a bit disingenuous to suggest we are losing something there. In fact, the "free" package is acquiring some of the paid packages capabilities.

    Lastly, to suggest this is "Microsoftian" in that it directs the user to purchase software they otherwise wouldn't, I should point out that iMovie is actually free software. Forcing people to use one free product over another is hardly "shananigans." They are both still free.

  1. ncmason



    Text Substitution

    The last screenshot shows how there will be a Text Substitution feature in Snow Leopard. This looks extremely useful because I use TextExpander on daily basis and this just might replace it.

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