When Steve Jobs gave the keynote address at this years World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC 2006), he gave the public its first look at some of the many new features found in Apple’s forthcoming OS X 10.5 Leopard. Jobs was careful to point out that the limited list of features he was showcasing was only the beginning. Even the Preview release of Leopard that was provided to the WWDC attendees was limited in its functionality. Many key features of the operating system would not be shown publicly, and were actually removed from the preview version of the OS that was released that day. Watching a downloaded copy of the keynote address, I found an interesting point that appears to have been widely overlooked by the news media. This is something that Jobs referred to as the “Complete Package.”
Leopard will ship with a number of applications that previously had only been available in a limited way. For example, Photo Booth had only shipped on machines that came equipped with an iSight camera. Front Row is only available on the latest generation of Mac systems that ship with an infrared remote control. And Boot Camp, currently in beta, is only available to users who opt to download the hefty installer from Apple’s website. With the release of Leopard, all of these applications will be a part of the operating system and thereby finally available to all users.
In the past, Front Row has been hacked to allow the installer to run on machines that Apple considered unsupported. And, while installing Front Row is possible on most machines now, it is a complicated and difficult process. Many users would love to use Front Row’s graphical goodness, but simply don’t have the wherewithal to install an unsupported version. For those people, Apple has finally announced that this will no longer be a problem with the release of Leopard.
For those choosing to read between the lines of Jobs keynote address, consider this. He was very specific in explaining that Leopard would contain the next generation of Front Row. He only showed a screenshot of the current release as reference. It seems likely that the update included as part of Leopard will be a significant one… hopefully including DVR functionality. Until Leopard ships in the Spring of 2007, we can only hope.
Boot Camp is currently in beta. But with the release of Leopard, Boot Camp will leave beta and include features not found in the current release. Any Intel based Mac will be able to easily run Windows, and the installer will ship on the Leopard DVD. Users will still need to acquire a copy of Microsoft Windows on their own. Apple has no intention of selling Microsoft’s OS to Mac users.
While other features like Spaces and Time Machine have stolen the spotlight, many users will be excited to know that they finally have easy access to software like Photo Booth, Front Row, and Boot Camp.