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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll... Site News
Leopard secret features poll

Last year at WWDC, Steve Jobs noted that there were "many" features they weren't showing us yet in Leopard. This year, we should (I think) see those features, as Apple will be releasing a "feature complete" beta at next week's WWDC. On Monday, Steve will take the stage to (presumably) discuss Leopard and other things of note. Anything mentioned during the talk is public knowledge (unlike the rest of WWDC, which is under non-disclosure), so I thought it might be fun to speculate for a few days on what you think the single most interesting "hidden feature" might turn out to be...

I'll be interesting to see if anything on this list (beyond zfs, which seems to be a known fact now) is actually in the Leopard beta.

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: moukkis on Jun 07, '07 11:50:25AM

It could be something to do with running Windows/Linux in a far less cumbersome way than dual boot. How they do it, that remains to see, be it the possibility to run Windows/Linux in a different account, or powerful VM that allows to run Microsoft/Linux apps directly in OS X (Why on earth would you wanna do that?...oh yeah, speclialised professional apps are often un-mac-patible and some Linux stuff isn't ported like Poweriso which decompresses .daa-files).

Possibility to take widgets out of Dashboard (without the developer trick, which is not great anyway)

It hides your porn for you ?

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Windows Features
Authored by: newbill123 on Jun 07, '07 04:00:24PM
moukkis wrote:
It could be something to do with running Windows/Linux in a far less cumbersome way than dual boot. How they do it, that remains to see,...
I strongly agree with this thought. After all, if they are Windows secrets, the wouldn't be to keep Apple Developers or Users in the dark, but to make sure Microsoft has as little time as possible to "move the goalposts" between the time of the announcements and the software going on sale. These are just educated guesses, but here are my predictions:

A Windows Friendly API layer built on Core Foundation
Like Carbon, and Cocoa, (and sort-of Quicktime), Apple likes the arrangement of putting the underlying functionality into Core Foundation and making an evolutionary API which appeals to a group of programmers it wants to make native products for OS X. That's a simplified explanation and not how it actually evolved. I can't see Apple adopting Wine or rewriting the Windows APIs from scratch, but I can see Apple writing an API that's very Windows friendly but which calls Core Foundation underneath. If this is the case, no doubt a development team that's been working with Apple in secret (Intuit? Adobe?) will come on stage and demo how a port of their Windows version to the new Mac OS X api required only changing 10 lines of code and was mostly done (except for the IB work) in a fortnight. Or some such big explanation. Like booting into OS 9, using "classic", or using Carbon apps, users will have the same choices for Windows.

An Extensible Security Framework
This would be a system that could support virus scanning and malware detection in OS X. Why do it if there's little malware in the wild now? To be prepared in case something breaks out. To get security products to move to Mac with as little effort as possible since Windows users need those brands to feel safe. To get the security products to use Apple frameworks at the low levels instead of writing their own (for reasons of stability and security). My guess is that Plug-in packs will be available if you want to scan your system for Windows malware. After all, in the world of virtualization and running Windows apps, you may not be booted into Windows but still need to detect if there might be problems out there. Oh yeah, and it'll also shut up the security researches who say don't move to Mac since it doesn't have the scaffolding to respond to a major virus outbreak when it occurs in the future.

Outlook killing features
If there is a single app that ties people and corporations to Windows, it's the calendaring and workgroup features of Outlook. Whether it's a just a major overhaul of existing tech in Mac OS X to make it competitive, or actually adding features to interact with Outlook servers, I don't know. My suspicion is that an overhaul to iCal, dot Mac, and building in features into Mac OS X server are going to be the baseline. Maybe more to come in the future though.

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: PowerBookman on Jun 07, '07 11:58:53AM

I can´t believe you guys voted for the last option. I just laughed so hard. Way to go... LOL

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: dcoyle on Jun 07, '07 12:00:29PM

I'm guessing the inclusion of dotnet libraries from the Mono project to trivialize porting Windows software to OS X. There might even be a C# compiler built into X-Code.

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: heeb on Jun 07, '07 12:25:49PM

How about a file syncronization utility built in... I think it is becoming a lot more common for people to have multiple computers (e.g. a desktop and a laptop) in their house and want files to be in sync (and not just contacts and calendars). It would be nice to have something like this straight from Apple that is built in to the OS since most any app I have found does not do well with extended attributes and such.

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: allanmarcus on Jun 07, '07 12:31:35PM

what I find interesting is last year there were many holes in the WWDC session schedule that will filled after Apple announced Leopard. This year the schedule is completely full already. If they announce new features, they will need to change the schedule.

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: moukkis on Jun 07, '07 12:59:08PM

One thing that is missing in the poll, and I think could also be the surprise, is actually a very much redesigned and not-so-damn-slow .mac ...for free.

Free, at least in part, because paid services are having a hard time competing with free stuff (logic, ey?) like gmail, facebook, myspace and every other online e-mail/community/web-page thing you dont have to pay for.

Jobs admitted in D5, that this was an ignored part of development, but maybe he was lying. It simply means that they are aware of the short-comings, and in an internet-based backup-sync-access-service there is only going to be development and growth in the future, and hence it is difficult to see that they would have scrapped the whole project.

And it sure is something to hope for.

iLife '07 should be announced no matter what :P

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: Dragon76 on Jun 07, '07 12:56:45PM

I think the real secret feature (especially since it's going to be announced at WWDC) is Cocoa for Windows and Linux. XCode developers will be able to code cross-platform Cocoa apps.

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: pglock on Jun 07, '07 01:14:10PM

Given the already announced backup features how about much tighter integration with a reinvigorated .mac service...

Too lazy to think of an original signoff...

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Finally, a way to adjust the icon 'grid' in Finder!
Authored by: mkoistinen on Jun 07, '07 02:24:26PM

Of course, this is hardly worth announcing, but would indeed be sorely needed!

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Authored by: bill_mcgonigle on Jun 07, '07 02:33:52PM
My guess is that they're using a solaris kernel.

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Poll options? Probably not
Authored by: newbill123 on Jun 07, '07 03:44:51PM

The poll asked what will be the biggest "surprise" Leopard feature revealed by Jobs on Monday June 11th? I didn't see any I really liked though.

100% resolution independence
That's already announced and non-secret isn't it? Of course, there's no way you'll make everything vectors and core graphics recipes (you wouldn't want the speed hit), but the line has been drawn on legacy Quickdraw drawing code. No compatability environments. No life support. You might not write the code and make the artwork to have good looking apps, but this is coming soon.

A brand new Finder!
Sort of. My guess is that they'll announce three new features in the Finder. They won't dump it in favor of a "new paradigm", but they might rewrite it for one reason or another. That kind of thing is generally used to justify why they weren't able to implement these three new features before now. What are the features? No idea, but Steve likes threes.

Built-in Windows/Linux virtualization support
Support: likely. Virtualization itself: Very unlikely. Right now Apple benefits greatly by having two competing virtualization products in the Mac marketplace. Apple would be crazy to short circuit this with their own product or by picking a "winner". Apple might offer some hooks that these products could "plug in" to something in the kernel or Apple's frameworks. A standard virtualization UI? Access to something in the Boot Camp partition? Using ZFS or time machine hooks? Apple can offer standards and hooks into Mac OS X that won't destabilize the Mac side of things, but they aren't going to offer virtualization themselves.

Dictation-capable voice recognition
Possible, but not by itself. This isn't a feature users are screaming for, but it might be one of the legs of a universal access / handicapped accessibility push to get more acceptance in businesses. It's not like Apple to have a secret feature be just an improvement of something already there though.

iLife'07 ('08?) bundled
iWork'07 ('08?) bundled
Maybe but unlikely to be announced at WWDC. Front Row and Photo Booth integration had developer impact last year. You could use these interfaces in your apps. Bundling deals might not be announced until October so there's something to rekindle the fire when Leopard is actually put on the shelves.

Multi-touch interface support
Very desirable, but why wait til now to announce since the big secret (the iPhone) is out of the bag? With only a few months left until release, Developers aren't going to be able to use this technology. Apple probably still wants total control of it in this embryonic stage anyway. I bet the tech is being put into Mac OS X, but I doubt the initial release of Leopard is the date. I'd love to be proved wrong on this one though.

Some unknown new application
If it has Developer impact, sure. A developer tool (like Xray), a basic app that demos a new feature of the OS (like PhotoBooth or Front Row), or an app (like TextEdit) designed to be a developer's starting point. If it's strictly an end user app, it'll be kept under wraps until October or whenever Apple wants to pump the bellows to get the "buying" fire started in October.

Spotlight will search for phrases
Technically, I think it can do this now. Tiger's interface kind of stinks though. This could be a feature touted if Apple decides to overhaul the Spotlight user interface.

zfs is the new default file system
Doubtful. It may be the "default data file system" or "default backup file system", but I doubt it will be the "default bootable file system". ZFS is fairly new to booting, so it's a questionable move to make everyone use it. Also, if you're going to ask people to reformat their hard drives to use ZFS you'll want them to have a good backup. Time machine is a good backup tool, but that only comes with Leopard once you have it installed. Apple may change the default disk format in 10.6 fairly painlessly when people will be better about backing up and be used to the tools, but it's questionable if it happens with Leopard's release.

10.5 is actually OEM'd Vista Ultimate
Not unless they raise the price by $400 and sign their future away to Redmond.

I'll post my thoughts on what the new features might be (in a response to another post soon).

Whatever they are, I bet they will be big news.

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Poll options? Probably not
Authored by: aquarajustin on Jun 08, '07 07:22:47AM


The Leopard installer kicks off Time Machine before it touches your system.

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: arloguthrie on Jun 07, '07 07:05:18PM

This is a super small off-the-radar item I was thinking:

With the push for group calendaring in 10.5 Server and the new open source Calendar Server project, I would wager a six-pack of malt liquor that iCal in 10.5 will support calendar sharing and group scheduling via Bonjour.

Set up a network of Macs, and automagically I can see my cubical neighbor's schedule without a server? Why not? I can already see her iTunes library.

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VM Support: OS X as guest OS
Authored by: rhoerbe on Jun 08, '07 12:46:37AM

they will have to do this of OS X Server anyway if they are serious about it. For the desktop it would be a nice developer feature.

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: Rhetorical on Jun 08, '07 01:20:51AM

If it is the case that the sessions are aready set, whatever is announced can not require new independent sessions, unless some named sessions are dummies. Some poll replies suggest new applications but that would not be of broad interest to developers unless the application provided a key service to other developers. So an element of OS X worth keeping secret has to be something M$ might respond to if given notice in January. A spreadsheet app would not merit a M$ response, even if well done, because they alreay have a mature, workable product in Excel. So the feature might be ZDF since it has been "leaked" recently and drawn notable thoughtful discussion. It is praised by many and the market has been saturated with positive comments, so if true, Apple has a pre-made case for adoption. The rumor's critics focus on the difficulty ZDF represents; so if it doesn't happen, Apple can be acclaimed for dodging problems. Either way, Apple wins.

Generally the announcement, when it comes, is less revolutionary than the most imaginative rumors, but it from a different direction than anyone expects. This type of surprise invokes the "reality distortion field" references in later comments, but the act itself is always surprising.

To have great impact on developers but not require many intensive sessions at WWDC, any secret feature has do "just work" or be able to be covered within existing sessions. This could be iPhone-like double touch displays but is more likely to be some quality that vastly expands the market appeal of Macs. Double touch would requre the purchase of new hardware and not be immediately of interest to developers because the market would only be new system buyers.

The ability to run Windows Apps native, would be a great market expander but if that really worked, it wouldn't require developers to develop anything. The Windows developers aren't all signed up for WWDC and such a feature would not require them to do any work. Plus it would hurt current Mac developers by drawing lots of competitive applications to the Mac.

So what could Apple add to OS X that will benefit developers and will require their active support?

One OS X app that is missing is a thing like iPhoto or iTunes than manages documents: eBooks if you will. A system wide iRead could replace the crinky Help program and manage text, PDF, and other document formats. By serving text entities into apps like iWeb, it could ease the management of text updates into websites and Pages and Keynote documents. Many folks have forgotten that iTunes as a tool to "RIP MIX BURN" was released about 9 months before the iPod. An iRead app could preceed a real ebook reader, an iPod for books.

Anyone got other suggestions?

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: zellpharm on Jun 08, '07 04:40:55AM
There are a couple of strange posts on the Parallels blog...
Let me put forth that perhaps Apple and Parallels will announce a buyout and integration of Parallels into Leopard and leave BootCamp the way it is.

Go read them for yourself:

May 18:

May 31:

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Parallels 3.0...
Authored by: robg on Jun 08, '07 06:44:54AM

Ben was talking about Parallels 3, which shipped today, just before WWDC :)


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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: macHobbes on Jun 08, '07 08:06:26AM

I would add another possible feature:
Using the iPhone as a smart remote control for the mac and AppleTV.

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Authored by: gabester on Jun 08, '07 11:58:44AM

I anticipate something called "Teleporter" or possibly "Transporter" - I don't know what it will do, but if they've already got a "Time Machine" it only makes sense as the other ultimate technology.

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: zellpharm on Jun 08, '07 12:55:27PM

Core Animation is the secret feature of Leopard. It's been right under our noses all this time.
Apple will use it to goof effect to the UI in Leopard to surpass Aqua and also Vista.

Watch and see.

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: robg on Jun 08, '07 02:20:16PM
"Apple will use it to goof effect to the UI in Leopard to surpass Aqua and also Vista."

Is that a Freudian typo? :)


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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: nedaf7 on Jun 08, '07 06:19:23PM

Interesting typo aside, I think you've hit the nail on the head. I'd be willing to bet that the Core Animation is heavily used with a substantial remake of the Finder. If you look at the Leopard beta versions out so far, Apple has not made a substantial update to the Finder yet (aside from stuff like QuickView, which is somewhat separate). This is certainly pointing to the fact that a Finder update is one of the "Secret Features".

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: Sito on Jun 08, '07 03:22:21PM

My guess is that Apple Computers will really learn to speak with you. I mean, that with Mac OS X 10.5 your computer will react to spoken commands in a much more distinctive way than it did before. It's a feature that – as much as I know of – could easily be implemented at a later time (after submitting severeal DPs). Besides the work on the voicings seem to lead in this direction. And after watching that famous Startrek-scene who didn't want this future feature of being able to talk with your computer to become present and more or less replace the mouse (there even was an Apple-ad on this). Nowadays this ferature "easily" could be realized. And if not, I hope Steve Jobs will hear/read me ;-)

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OS X 10.5 'secret features' prediction poll...
Authored by: JulesLt on Jun 09, '07 08:43:19AM

Along with everyone else, Finder is an obvious one seeing as there was a job advert for someone to work on it something like 18 months ago.

I'd wager something more iTunes like - although the Time Machine UI seems based on the current Finder. Maybe also solving the document management issue someone spoke about through better integrated preview.

iPhone integration - we'll see how well you can sync data, etc, launch calls via Address Book, etc, maybe up to the cheesy point of watching a movie on an iPhone, then finishing watching it via AppleTV.

Teams - this app was named as a client for the Calendar server on the Calendar server Wiki. Then it disappeared. We know from the public pages that there's a lot of collaboration features in Leopard server (the Wiki, Calendar server, etc) and core ToDo functionality in the desktop version. There's iChat theatre, allowing apps to live screencast. That's quite an emphasis on collaboration and productivity in business, which seems a direction Apple haven't really emphasised since the early days of AppleTalk.

Some more announcements over web service collaboration with Google and Yahooo. i.e. Google Maps and address book rather than MapQuest.

Wish list :

A clipart manager - MS Office for Mac lacks the clipart manager of Office for Windows, third-party ones are often app specific, and using iPhoto feels 'wrong' (plus it doesn't support the various metadata formats).

A package manager, integrated with an Apple hosted third-party software store - should make it as easy for people to discover, buy and keep their third party apps up to date as iPod games.

Protected DVD import - I'm sure Roxio had a beta product that did this, but it seems to have disappeared off the site, and far as I recall it just took an image of DVD including CCS protection, so it didn't invalidate DMCA. But what I really want is auto-conversion to H264 in original resolution. OK, I can do it right now using FOSS software, but that's me. Make it iTunes easy. Then AppleTVs will fly off the shelf.

Replace .Mac with iSpace. mySpace is an awful website, taking 3 pages to perform a simple task like adding a band to your list of friends. The basic page design is ugly. Yet it's a success, largely because unlike Friendster it addressed a specific market first. Apple already have huge presence amongst musicians and listeners. Now imagine Apple launching a free social networking site, with deep integration with the iTMS, iChat, iPhone, and iWeb as a design client. 'Friends' in a tab in address book. mails in Mail, rather than a mail telling you to log in to mySpace to read a mail. And less adverts, because the purpose is simply to sell Macs, iPhones and iPods.

Better iWork/iLife integration - I create title sequences in Keynote, render out to Quicktime, then bring back into iMovie. Make it cut and paste simple.

Long shots :
A non-desktop interface - i.e. something more like FrontRow or the iPhone. It wouldn't be a replacement, but would be a simplified approach, aiming at a similar 'appliance computing' market to the iPhone.

iChat theatre player/Keynote player for Windows - I think that would be a killer app. It would mean delivering a huge part of the Mac graphics layer wrapped inside an app, but if they can do CoverFlow (which is only OpenGL not Quartz) it's not unfeasible. But it would open up the authoring market for iWork to a huge degree - much as PDF has.

Keynote playback on the iPhone. Would be easier than the above, but is there a use? Would it's existence create it's own use, like pod-casting?

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