As the countdown to Leopard’s release continues, I continue to flip through the documentation recently released by Apple Inc. In an interesting step forward in the evolution of the Mac OS, Apple engineers have added screen sharing to the list of features introduced in 10.5.
An extension of the Apple Remote Desktop software package and the VNC compatibility contained therein, the Mac OS will now be able to share screens as easily as it can share files. The sidebar of each window in the Finder contains a list of shared computers on the network. Clicking on the computer in that list makes it easy to mount any associated file share. But when that computer name is clicked on, in the corner of the Finder window, there is a new button called Share Screen. Just click that and a login prompt requests the username and password to be used when accessing the screen of the remote computer.
Once the login is provided, the remote computers screen appears in a window on the host computer. From there, the user has remote control access over the associated computer. The functionality is a scaled down equivalent of that found in Apple’s Remote Desktop (ARD) application. The user has limited control over color depth and no access to the more powerful features found in ARD, but the simple and free functionality is practical and compelling.
Why would the average user need screen sharing? Think collaboration. Think tech support. Think power and flexibility. How many times have you been trying to explain something to a remote user over the phone or via email and realized that it would be so much easier if they could just see your screen? OS X 10.5 Leopard makes this possible!