Now I really want a Mac

Damn you, Apple! You’re making me want to upgrade my system, and that’s just incompatible with my bank account!
Especially when [[I need a new watch|I still want to get a Rolex]].
I just finished scooting through the new design (nice, but the only really interesting thing to note is the introduction of the iPhone to the main menu), and got sucked into the promo materials for Leopard.
Whiz-bang stuff (“when you drag a window near the dock, it reflects on the floor”) is really irrelevant in the grand scheme of things — Ubuntu has it for free, Windows Vista tried to pump this up and [[Microsoft Vista is a failure|failed miserably]], and it’s really all just glitz in the end. Sure it looks nice, but how well does it work?
Give me functionality, or give me death.
What Leopard offers that someone else should also have thought of a long time ago:

  • Stacks. Yes, this is similar to the groups that appear in the Windows XP task bar, but this is for grouping documents, or applications, or whatever. It’s configurable. What a concept.
  • iTunes-like interface. Okay, yes, a lot of people complain that the new iTunes interface is annoying because it’s so different than everything else. Frankly, I like it for its simplicity. And now that the UI shell acts the same way, it means less jar. The Cover Flow is utter kvitch (see above), and I hope there’s a way of disabling that.
  • Access through .Mac. Aka universal (presumably secure) access. From anywhere. This just seems obviously overlooked for far too long.
  • Quick Look. Being able to look at any file type without opening. Assuming this works as advertised (read: it’s as fast as the video suggests), this will be huge for anyone working with big documents/massive images.
  • Time Machine. A somewhat kvitchy way of making a backup work better, but a better implementation — start with a search, and then find the version you deleted. That’s a good idea. Handy when you’re working with a lot of things. The catch? I’m sure you’ll need a tonne of disk space to make this work well. Advantage: you can wirelessly connect all your Macs to the same backup disk system for centralisation.
  • Nice improvements on Mail. This would now work for me. Previous versions of Mail didn’t rock my boat, but with the Notes (and even the email templates), I could hack it.
  • iChat. Gonna need this (or at least something like it) for when I need to show Grandma her grandchild in a few months.

I’m not sure about “Spaces” yet, though. The idea of virtual desktops isn’t new, and was done way back in the day of pre-Windows 3.0, when TSR applications were king. Even then they didn’t work wonderfully. Windows applications didn’t help, and the issue still remains — are they truly useful?
Either way, it’s clear more and more that Apple knows how to build a computer with a functional and good operating system. And while the hardware requirements haven’t yet been announced, I think it’s safe to say that Apple will support the existing set of hardware, rather than make you go out and replace your previously adequate system with a grossly over-powered system.
Something else Bill & Co. should have figured out years ago.

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  1. All the features look amazing, but Time Machine is the only thing I don’t really think I’m interested in.
    I only have a 120gb hard drive in my powerbook and I’m running out of space, I don’t want more of that taken up — I’ll just remember to backup my files on a regular basis.

  2. Yeah, that’s my point with Time Machine. But you can put Time Machine on a networked device! That’s pretty sweet…

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