Leopard Features

My initial impression upon looking at Apple’s 300+ features page was “Good Lord!” The second was “A lot of these are pretty minor.” Remembering that Apple has built its success on making the little stuff work so well it completely changes how you do things, I dug deeper, and came away impressed. When I get around to reviewing it the review will end up being a long one.

Many of the features are actually minor ones, small usability enhancements such as doing a Google maps search by clicking the address in the address book, or the ability to add a new contact to your address book by clicking on an address in the mail body even if they didn’t send you a vcard. Each of these is minor. Each of these nevertheless saves you time by minimizing the jumping around needed to do each task. That way you get back to your work quicker.

In other cases, it’s the combination of features that’s the big deal. Sure, 10.4 had parental controls in place and workable whitelisting that made similar controls built into Windows look anemic and weak. Apple didn’t rest on its laurels, and made improvements. I’m not impressed by “dynamic” filters, but they are now available for filtering web pages if you want. What really blows my mind is that on top of whitelisting allowed websites, email contacts, chat contacts, etc. you can also now control when certain users are even allowed to be on the computer at all. You can also do this from a remote computer across the house so you can centrally manage your parental policies.

For parents geeky enough to be using these features in the first place: whoah.

The biggest deal to me is that Apple, in conjunction with their iWork update, has taken one more step towardsa replacement for Exchange/Outlook/Office that many workplaces rely on. The iCal server integration features offer what 90% of Exchange users use shared calendars for. Now if we could get shared address books (a real one that can be easily updated like Exchange, that LDAP schema doesn’t count) and a Access-like database program integrated with iWork…

The long and the short of it is that it looks like a number of the small features may be small, but they can change how you work in ways that going back will feel like being crippled. Other features work together to be a really big deal. To tell the difference, as well as which features really are just fluff, will take time. To explain how this could  affect you or improve your computer usage will likely use a lot of space.

Don’t expect a full review from me anytime soon.