Oct 26, 2007

The steady advance of Mac OS X


Source: CNET
Written by Tom Krazit
Progress is measured in steps both big and small. The smaller ones may get less attention, but they are much easier to take.

It’s been a year of big steps for Apple. The company dropped the “Computer” from its name in January as a way of showing Apple was no longer just about the Mac, and the clear priority for 2007 in Cupertino was to get the iPhone out the door and selling briskly. Then, perhaps for kicks, it decided to overhaul its entire lineup of iPods.

Later today, Apple will take a smaller step, with the launch of Mac OS X 10.5, code-named Leopard. Leopard’s coming on scene later than expected, almost 30 months after Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4) launched in April 2005, in part due to the push to get the iPhone out in time. CNET’S review is in, and my colleagues Elsa Wenzel and Robert Vamosi are positive.

There are dozens of important new features in Leopard, perhaps most notably the Time Machine application that could make it easier for users to back up and restore their files. Backing up your files is generally a simple exercise with a external hard drive, but Time Machine is interesting because of the friendly way in which it lets you restore files, flying back in time (and space) to the last instance in which that file was saved.

But all the reviewers, including Apple favorites Walt Mossberg at The Wall Street Journal and David Pogue at The New York Times, felt compelled to point out that Leopard is very much an evolution of previous versions of Mac OS X, and not a dramatic breakthrough like some past releases. It’s certainly nothing like the tectonic shift Microsoft users went through in the switch from Windows XP to Vista, or Windows 98 to XP.

That can come off as a negative assessment. But it’s not.

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