Apple 2.0

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Apple's OS X Leopard to Ship Oct. 26 for $129

October 16, 2007: 9:32 AM ET

picture-57.jpgApple (AAPL) today confirmed what the analysts and rumor sites had already divined: OS X Leopard, the sixth major release of the company's flagship operating system, will go on sale Oct. 26. Apple's retail stores will start selling it at 6 p.m., local time. Its online store is already accepting pre-orders at $129 apiece.

Much of what the new OS does is already known, thanks to the lengthy previews Steve Jobs has given over the past year and a half and to leaks from developers working with pre-release builds. (See, for example, Prince McLean's Road to Leopard series at AppleInsider.) But the order in which the company's press release ticks off the new features telegraphs which features it thinks will be Leopard's key sellings points:

  • Redesigned 3D Dock with Stacks, a new way to organize files with one-click access
  • Updated Finder with CoverFlow, so you can flip through files as you do album covers in iTunes
  • Spotlight search of content from any computer on a local network
  • Back to My Mac, which lets you grab files from remote Macs over the Internet
  • QuickLook, which displays the contents of files without having to open the app that created them
  • Spaces, a new way to organize files by project and to flip from one project to another
  • Time Machine, the much-touted back-up system*
  • A new version of Mail wih 3-D stationary designs
  • Notes and To Dos that can be synced across multiple Macs and stored in Smart Mailboxes
  • Data detectors that recognize e-mail addresses and RSS feeds
  • iChat Theater, which adds slides and movies and Photo Booth effects to iChat video
  • Improved parental controls
  • The complete Boot Camp release (it's not disappearing as some had feared)
  • Web Clip for bringing widgets to the Dashboard
  • New PhotoBooth features, such as adding backdrops
  • An enhanced Dictionary with Wikipedia built in
  • A new iCal that supports the CalDAV standard
  • An updated Frontrow for watching movies and TV shows at a distance with Apple Remote

The biggest surprise in this list may be the relatively short shrift Apple gave Time Machine, the feature that generated the most buzz at Macworld. The reason for this may be hidden in the footnote at the bottom of the press release:

*Requires an additional hard drive sold separately.

Backups are the bane of every power user's existence. Time Machine is a worthy attempt to solve this perennial problem, but because it requires advance planning and a big exernal hard drive, most users probably still won't bother.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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