Leopard -- The New OS
If you can wait until October to buy your new Mac, then do -- you'll save yourself some money, and a bit of hassle, too. That's because Apple plans to introduce an upgrade to its OS X operating system: Mac OS X 10.5, code-named Leopard. Leopard will be standard on new Macs; the upgrade alone will cost $129.
Leopard will offer new tools for organizing, browsing, and navigating files, as well as a new way to back up your data.
Stacks is a new way of organizing files on the desktop.
Finder will include Cover Flow, a user interface for browsing albums on the iPhone and iPod Touch; Cover Flow will display the first page of each file, and allows the user to flip through the pages quickly.
Remote-control software will let authorized users easily navigate other computers on a local network, while "Back to My Mac," a remote-access program offered in conjunction with the .Mac service, will allow authorized users to remotely connect to a Mac over the Internet.
Time Machine will back up all the data on a Mac, and keep snapshots of system status, so users can roll their system's status back to any given date, or search by date for old versions of files and deleted files.
Spaces will let users group application windows for different tasks into separate "virtual desktops."
Mail will now include built-in stationery, the ability to automatically convert mail messages to to-do items, and RSS support. Automatic data type detection in e-mail will, for example, allow users to convert street addresses in an e-mail to an Internet map, or automatically schedule appointments based on e-mail text.
iCal will have user interface improvements and group calendaring.
Boot Camp, which is currently beta software and a separate download, will be included in the OS. Boot Camp lets users run Microsoft Windows as a native operating system on the Mac hardware, dual-booting between Windows and the Mac OS.
The Safari 3.0 browser will include improved tabs and other user interface upgrades.
Apple users have less variety to choose from than their PC cousins. They can only buy from one vendor: Apple. And Apple doesn't provide the range of price-performance that PC vendors offer. Still, within those constraints, Apple provides a broad array of choices for desktop and notebook computers.