The new Apple OS X has finally arrived, and I can tell you one thing: Leopard was definitely worth the wait. A few months ago many of us were enlightened to the new features to be unleashed upon us. Even then, it was apparent that the wait would be worth while. Well, I’ve recently been testing the new release out, and here’s what I have:
The Install was easy! To install Leopard, insert the DVD provided, and run the installer. You’re prompted to be sure if you want to install, and upon confirmation, your machine is restarted. After the restart, an optional disk consistency runs. You can cancel this at any time, but I let the whole thing go. It took about an hour. After the consistency, the install itself runs. I was initially prompted that it would take 1 hour and 38 minutes. However, the actual install was done in under 45 minutes.
Once I started my using the new OS, it was clear that all of my previous settings had been preserved. I ran all of my critical applications, and all work fine.
For those of you comparing, here’s my current setup:
new 24″ iMac
And the Apps I run (not all, just the most necessary)
- Zend Studio 5.5
- CS3 Premium
- Firefox, Sunbird, & Thunderbird
- iWork ’08
- Adium & Skype
The new Dock is awesome!
I’m a huge fan of the stack concepts that have been implemented into the new dock. The default stacks are ‘Documents; and ‘Downloads’. This is great for cleaning up your desktop. I however, don’t like having all of my commonly accessed programs stuck in the dock, so I added my own stack, ‘Applications’. Adding your own stack is as easy as dragging the folder to the Stack area.
The old marker that signified a running application has been replaced by a nicer, though much less obvious, light underneath the icon. You can change this icon if you like, and there are several tutorials on how to do this already.
Overall, the Dock is much prettier than it used to be. All icons have shadows behind them, and the Dock itself reflects windows near it.
The new Finder is awesome! For those of you who don’t already know, the new Finder allows you to view files with the ‘Cover Flow’ view system. This is great for pre-viewing files before opening them. What’s even better; you can now open many files for even closer preview, without actually opening their default applications! This is a great time saver for those of you with limited system resource, who don’t want to open very photoshop file in a directory to see which one you want.
Much of the new look of finder is quite similar to iTunes. So mounted drives appear on the left much like an iPod appears on iTunes. Furthermore, unmounted, networked computers now appear the same, just without the option to ‘Eject’. Finding files and folders is cake with Finder’s great indexing capacities.
Apple Mail, is now my mail client. I’ve been an ardent user of Thunderbird for a couple years now. So I doubted that I would use the new Apple Mail, despite all the buzz about it. After trying it out however, it’s a really fun mail program. The program itself loads quickly, and keeps everything simple. There’s also a built in RSS reader (nothing new). Though I would prefer that iCal be embedded into the program, Mail’s integration with iCal is certainly good enough.
The one thing I might miss, is the tons of available plugins that are available for Thunderbird. Apple has a weird way of not directly promoting additions to it’s software.
iChat, is now my IM client. I’ve been a big supporer of Adium for a while now. However, iChat is a great IM client. iChat allows for multiple accounts, which was largely why I used Adium for so long. What’s more, video and audio chats are a snap. All you have to do is click one of the available buttons while selected on a buddy, and you initiate that form of chat.
The only thing I wish that iChat had, was the ability to send notifications to Growl. I’m a huge fan of Growl for notifications of program events, and anything that integrates with it, I always check out.
Photo Booth is awesome! Photo Booth has always been one of my favorite Apple programs that come standard on macs. That’s how I got those candid shots of Bender sleeping on the job ! With the new Photo Booth, custom backgrounds are introduced. All that’s necessary is to activate the video background, then step out of the picture. Once your background is detected, you can re-enter the photo and voila, you’re in France!
As you can see from the picture here, the background detection isn’t perfect, and could still use some work.
Spaces is alright. I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the new ‘Spaces’ feature for Leopard. I’m a little less than impressed however. Video card vendors manufacturers have been providing this type of service for a long time now. So, I’m not all to sure why there’s been such hype about the feature. Don’t get me wrong, Spaces is cool. It is a clean way of having more than one desktop at a time. However, this is not breakthrough by any means.
There are quite a few features that I have yet to try out.
Time Machine – I know, I know. This is supposed to be an amazing new feature for OS X, and certainly worth the cost of the OS itself. There are well known bugs however, about trying to use Time Machine without an external HD already set up. What’s more, the external HD should be a large one, as Time Machine is not light on space. I’m a little pressed for cash right now, so I’ll have to try this one out later.
Parental Controls – Hey, I don’t have kids. It might still be a good idea to keep my wife from viewing inappropriate websites, but I don’t think she’d like that to much.
Boot Camp – I’m already running Parallels, so I don’t feel the need to use this. Parallels does everything I need for running multiple OS’s on the same machine.
As is quite evident, I’m thoroughly happy with Apple’s new OS X release. There are a few features that I wish were available, but as a software developer, I recognize the need to release a product without some features is greater than waiting infinitely to release the ‘Perfect Product’.
As always, I welcome your comments!