Sunday, July 02, 2006

9 Mac OS X Leopard Rumors

WWDC will run for 5 days starting on the 7th of August. In anticipation, here is a run down of the coolest Leopard rumors circulating on the Internet.

While I may be fueling the rumor mill that I complain about, we are now within five weeks of the day when most of these will be proven right or wrong. Or at least, will be postponed until the next version of Mac OS X.
So here are, in no particular order, my nine favorite Leopard rumors:

1. Bit Torrent
Of all the Mac OS 10.5 rumors, this one is my favorite. The rumor is that Apple is going to include a Bit Torrent client as part of the new operating system to distribute iTunes music/video and software updates. The benefit of sharing your bandwidth to offset Apple’s costs is that- according to the rumor- you will receive credit based on your participation. These credits could be for the iTunes store, the Apple store or something else. This is a great idea, as long as it is turned off by default and people are well-informed before they opt-in.

2. Virtualization
While Boot Camp was a great development, the true Mac-switcher-drool-inducer is virtualization. With the full product launch of Parallels for the Intel Mac, and Apple’s quiet endorsement of it, running Windows (or Linux) within OS X just got simple, inexpensive and impressive. Support for virtualization within the operating system would take it one step further, though recent mentions of Parallels in Apple literature makes the picture murky.

3. Windows API
The strangest- and strangely appealing- rumor may be the one about native support for Windows API in Leopard. That would mean that you could run most Windows-only applications in Leopard the same way you would run a Mac application.

4. Geographical Mapping
Then, there has been talk of the inclusion of geographical mapping software with the operating system. I am not sure at all what the benefit would be, except for some cool integration with Address Book, but with Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth already out there, Apple may just be throwing their hat in to the ring.

5. Not Called Leopard
The most basic and appealing rumor I have come across so far is that the new operating system may not be called Leopard at all. Apple may move to a new naming scheme (dogs, maybe?) or a different cat (OS X Cheshire), but it seems like the world of marketing and re-branding may influence this decision more than an innate love of cats.

6. Living Elements:
A few rumor sites have been talking about ‘living elements’ within OS X. While the descriptions are vague, I think we can be quite confident that Mac OS 10.5 will include a lot of eye-candy and graphics that will introduce a host of new visual cues in to our jaded ways of using the Mac.

7. A New Finder
This one has been long overdue. The shortcomings in Finder are legendary and have spawned a cottage industry of small applications that overcome them. Of course, an improved Finder would kill that industry, but when has Apple shied away from introducing features that make entire companies redundant?

8. Improved Dashboard
The Dashboard has been one of those things that people either use rabidly or not at all. My reasons for not using it are numerous, but some small tweaks to the speed and usability could get me to use it. This may be one of the smaller updates to OS X, but I expect some changes here.

9. Collaborative Documents
Some rumors speak of collaborative document editing features. While these features would make more sense as part of the iWork suite, operating system level support could also be introduced.

And then, there are a few rumors that do not excite me a lot yet, but could in the future. TUAW recently reported that the OS X servers could move to Sun’s ZFS file system. Also, Mac OS X may be moving towards resolution independence, but I will hold off judgement on that until someone can explain the excitement about it. And finally, there are rumors about full-screen applications in Leopard that could allow you to do things like have your iCal calendar in the background of your desktop at all times. Nice, but not quite in the awesome category yet. Use the comments to point out why I should be excited about these features or to point out all the cool rumors I may have missed.

So there you have it-- a round up of all the rumors that will keep me going until the WWDC conference in San Francisco, California this August. Apple Matters will have regular coverage from that event, so stay tuned.

No comments: