Apple fans will be well aware of the company's policy of releasing yearly operating system updates. Unlike Windows, which sees a major release every three to four years, new releases of Apple's system are much more incremental, and have been since the release of OS version 10 (or X, to use Apple's term) way back in 2001.
Since then, iterations of 10 have slowly increased performance and added features, with each yearly release carrying a few headline improvements and lots of little tinkerings. The latest release, codenamed Leopard, is version 10.5 (its predecessor is Tiger, version 10.4). It hit the shelves just last week, and we're here to take a look at what funky new moves it brings to the party.
Of course, Leopard finds the computing world it enters in rather a different state from the one Tiger landed in - and the reason for that is Vista. Thanks to the delay of Leopard (which was originally due to be out earlier this year, but was postponed by Apple due to work on the iPhone) Vista has stolen a march on the operating system market and hugely improved upon Windows XP, the creaking old OS that Tiger competed with. Indeed, one of the things most noticeable about Leopard upon first glance is the amount of new eye candy, and it does appear that Apple has attempted to out-alpha Microsoft in the transparency stakes. But Vista also raised the bar when it comes to security and even reliability, so Apple has to compete with a reinvigorated Microsoft since despite what loud-mouthed fanboys may say, it's clear from consumer reaction that Vista is at least a moderate success.
Now unlike Vista, which costs upwards of £150 even for an upgrade license, Leopard costs just £85 for the full version, which can be used as both a clean installer and an upgrade disc. For that £85 you get what Apple claims to be a list of over 300 new features - several big ones and many more little ones (and many more non-existent ones, but we'll come to that later). Let's dive in and take a look at some of the biggies.