Leopard First Impressions

October 27, 2007

I have been running the last developer’s release of Leopard for 3 days now.  It is basically feature complete but I have been waiting for the public release before blogging about what I like and don’t like with it.  I realize somethings might be different in the final release, but in general, the developer release and the public release are the same, so let’s get to the features.

Spaces – I didn’t think I would care about this at all.  I have tried to use virtual desktops with third party programs on Windows or built into Linux, and never got too far with them.  The two things that change that in Leopard are the navigation between spaces and the ability to always have an application open in a specific space.  This means that Mail can have it’s own space and stay all by itself while I browse in a different space.  It is very cool and going to be one of those unexpected great features.

Stacks – Again, a small part of the new Dock, but really neat.  The fan and block view look cool and the Downloads stack not only provides a single location for downloads but also organizes them for me.  I also added Applications to the dock as a Stack and that works well for launching programs.  I didn’t think it would replace Quicksilver, and it really doesn’t.  What does though is the upgraded Spotlight

Spotlight – Spotlight is my new application launcher.  It works as well as Quicksilver and the new Top Hit is accurate almost all the time.  Quicksilver, I loved you, but now the same functionality I used you for is in Spotlight.

Finder & Quick Look – The Cover Flow view is neat, but ends up being not that practical when going from folder to folder.  I imagine people will play with it, but stick with the 3-column view.  The impressive new feature is Quick Look.  From the Finder, the Space Bar opens a ton of files in a Quick Look view instantly.  Word, Excel, PowerPoint, music, movies, etc, all open up in the Quick Look view.  Quick Look also works from Mail so you can Quick Look attachments.  Very very cool stuff there.

Those are the biggies so far.  I havn’t tested Time Machine yet, that will have to wait for the home machine when that gets upgraded.  A couple odd things, wireless seems quirky.  I was on fine at work, but there are reports that the final release is having problems.  It also sometimes cannot find the home network, causing me to turn the radio off and back on to pick it up.

The other odd thing is that there is no rounded corners to the screen anymore.  As was typical from a CRT where the display could not fill the entire rectangular screen, previous versions of Mac OS X had rounded corners for the display.  Now the OS takes up the entire rectangle of my screen.  A very small thing, but interesting nonetheless.  If you have features you like or are curious about, feel free to comment and I can see what information/experiences I have with them.