A Random Pattern

Archive for March 28th, 2007

The real secret feature of Leopard is . . .

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

It’s been staring us in the face all along. I know I’ve seen a few people mention something here and there, but its never gotten the attention it deserved. The secret feature of Leopard, the one Apple didn’t want to announce early, is . . .

“Developers, Developers, Developers!” Yes, one of our least favorite internet videos mirrors the refrain that you now see across the Mac web. I’ll lay out my reasons for thinking so right up front, but you can decide for yourself after reading the many links this article offers:

1. Developers are excited, and several apps are coming out as Leopard only. That really should be all we need, but so that we can draw some reasonable conclusions . . .

2. Leopard is supposed to come out in “Spring 2007″, yet we still don’t have any announcements about the secret Leopard features. Barring some silly theories about a huge Apple conspiracy with most developers having a “placebo” Leopard, that means lots of developers have at least parts of the “secret” in their NDA’d little hands. This matches with a lot of developers saying ‘and that’s only the cool stuff we can tell you about’.
3. Apple stories have such a value, and there is such a large “rumor market” surrounding the company, that it’s hard to imagine major user features would be hidden in the developer previews and not disclosed. Apple’s good, but they’re not that good – and information from the developer previews does routinely leak.

“So what?” you say. “You haven’t told us anything yet. Where’d you get your headline from, Paul Thurrott?” I can hear you sneer. Ok, here’s the secret feature:

Delicious Library.

I’m only partly kidding here. I don’t really suspect that Apple is going to bundle Delicious Library (well, I don’t have really strong reason to suspect it anyways), and I don’t think that by itself is a compelling “secret feature”. What I really mean is that I suspect Steve will spend a good deal of time demoing some third-party apps with the release of Leopard, and for good reason.

I will add that the iPhone, and the obvious multiple uses of OS X in embedded situations (iPhone, Apple TV . . ), as well as the multi-touch capabilities, further strengthen my view that Leopard’s real strength is under the hood.  I don’t expect other multi-touch products right away – this is too new, and Apple needs to see the success with the iPhone (as well as learn from any mistakes there).  But they’ve got lots of professionals that could use a well-designed, laser-focused Apple product to help them, both in Audio and Graphic design.  Multi-touch would be another tool in the toolbox for this crowd, but I don’t see that offering the wide appeal and easy marketability that Apple needs for its “secret features”.
Note: While finishing up this article, I was edged by several other articles, though luckily no one’s come out and actually said it. So now I can use them as supporting evidence for my claims also. :)  I’m going to put this article out there, as I’ve been sitting on it for weeks.  There may be more to come, but if you follow Apple news you can put the rest of the pieces together yourself.