Apple has previewed the next version of its Mac OS X operating system -- version 10.5, codenamed 'Leopard' -- at its Worldwide Developers Conference in California.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs showed ten new features that will appear when the OS is released in spring 2007 -- though these are not all that will be included.

Jobs explained to developers that some top secret features in Leopard won’t be revealed, but Apple wants them to know about them in preparation for a spring 2007 launch. “We don’t want our friends in Redmond to start their photocopiers just yet,” he added. With that, Jobs introduced Scott Forestall, Apple’s vice president of Platform Experience.

Forestall told the crowd that Leopard will have support for 64-bit applications. “We’ve now got 64-bit Unix,” he explained. “In Leopard, take this a giant leap forward with 64-bit Carbon and Cocoa, all the way to your applications. You can have fully native 64-bit UI Carbon or Cocoa applications.”

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<b>Building a "Time Machine"</b>
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“Time Machine” is Apple’s second major feature for Leopard. Forestall explains that it was developed to help users back up effortlessly. He pointed to estimates that only about four percent of users are utilizing automated software for backing up important files -- only a quarter of users back up in any way whatsoever on a regular basis.
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“Time Machine” automatically backs up your Mac, said Forestall. “If you change a file, that file is backed up. We back up everything…that means we can restore everything. If your hard drive dies, you can buy a new hard drive, put it in your machine, and be right back where you were.”
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Forestall said that Time Machine supports hard drives and servers, and will automatically configure a hard drive for back up once plugged in. What’s more, and the reason it’s called Time Machine, is that it gives you version control, so you can recover specifically saved versions of files as well.
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Forestall demonstrated Time Machine as an application resident in the Dock that displays your timeline. Sliding the timeline reveals your machine as it was -- one, two or more days ago, flying you through finder windows so you can find the document you’re working with. Double clicking on the file shows a preview; clicking the Restore button brings that file back to your Mac. In addition to the Finder, it can work with other applications, such as Address Book. It’s also something that will be open to third-party developers. The demo gods didn’t smile on Forestall unequivocally, however: His demo crashed.
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“We’re going to deliver the Complete Package,” said Jobs of the third major item on the Leopard list of new features.
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“We’ve got applications as beta, applications as separate downloads, we’re going to ship all of them with Leopard,” he added.
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Jobs told the crowd that Boot Camp, Apple’s software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows, “… is going to be even better than the beta, and it’s going to ship as part of Leopard.”
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Leopard will also include Front Row, Apple’s software to access media such as photos, music, movies and downloaded videos from a single interface that’s easy to view in a living room or media room. Photo Booth, Apple’s software that turns the iSight webcam into a fun and creative imaging tool, will expand the number of cameras it works with.
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<b>Wide open "Spaces</b>
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“Four. This is a big one,” said Jobs. “We call it Spaces.”
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Jobs described Spaces as “a new way of working on your Mac” that lets you take collections of applications that you use to accomplish tasks and “create a space for them to be in” then rapidly switch between them. It sits as an icon in the Dock.
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Jobs demonstrated Spaces being used with collections like Mail and Safari, GarageBand and iTunes. With the press of a key, the entire user interface slid left, right, up and down. Another Space contained Final Cut -- clicking on an icon in the Dock automatically switched to its layer.
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Forestall told developers that Leopard’s implementation of Spotlight expands the search engine’s scope to other Macs on the network, with users’ permission, of course. Leopard Spotlight will also gain advanced syntax searches with support for Boolean expressions and file type in search queries. Leopard Spotlight adds an application launcher, also.
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Core Animation is the sixth major bullet point for Leopard revealed to developers at WWDC. With it, you can “dramatically increase the product value of your application,” said Forestall. Using Core Animation, developers can create a “Scene” comprising layers, which can contain text, images, video or OpenGL content. “You define a start state, a goal state and possibly keyframes in between.”
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Forestall demonstrated Core Animation by creating a demo using iTunes album art flipping around that is similar to Apple’s recent iTunes television ad, showing a city being built of album art then funneling into an iPod. All of it was created live, using Core Animation.
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Apple is improving Leopard’s universal access, for users with physical disabilities, said Jobs. Braille support is being added, along with closed captioning support in QuickTime. VoiceOver has been overhauled, according to Jobs, who also demonstrated dramatically improved text-to-speech technology.
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Mail is getting some major enhancements in Leopard, said Jobs. It will add Stationery -- HTML-based mail templates; Notes, which lets you add a special message type that lives in a special Notes mailbox; and To Do’s -- which lets you select anything and make it a To Do, complete with priority, due dates, alarms and more.
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To Do’s are, in fact, a new type of Service offered in Leopard that any application can tie into. “One systemwide to-do service, where everything is kept track of,” said Jobs.
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<b>On the Dashboard</b>
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Leopard’s implementation of Dashboard is also getting some improvements. First up is a developer tool called Dashcode that helps developers design, develop and debug widgets. Dashcode includes templates that can help developers incorporate Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and podcast support, images and more. Those templates can be modified to the developer’s liking. And it includes a “Parts” library that includes search fields, button controls and more that users simply drag out to their own widget. Also included is a full Javascript editor and debugger.
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A more user-oriented feature in Leopard Dashboard is called Web Clip. “We’ve come up with a way where anyone can take any part of a Web page into a widget,” explained Scott Forestall. He demonstrated the technology by using Web Clip to make an automatically updating comic strip panel widget; eBay auction and more.
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Once more Jobs took the stage to introduce the tenth new Leopard feature: What he called “a seriously enhanced iChat.”
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iChat will support multiple login, invisibility, animated Buddy icons and video recording, said Jobs, as well as tabbed chat.
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“But we want to go further than this,” he added. With many new Macs shipping with iSight cameras and video conferencing available right out of the box, Apple wants users to have fun, too. So with Leopard iChat, users can add Photo Booth effects to video conferencing. What’s more, iChat Theater lets you show slides in your video conferencing while you’re talking -- Phil Schiller, offstage, demonstrated the new technology by having a video conference with Jobs via iChat, playing an iPhoto slideshow, Keynote presentation and video. In each case, his image slid to the left while a large area next to him displayed the slideshow.
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Backdrops is a new feature of iChat similar to video blue or green screening. You step out of the frame, and iChat “learns” your background. When you step back in, you can replace the background with anything you want. You can also insert video-based backgrounds.
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Recapping these ten major new features in Leopard, Jobs also indicated that Leopard will feature dramatically enhanced parental controls, though he didn’t offer more specific information.
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Developers will also be able to get their hands on Xcode 3, a new version of Apple’s Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for developing Mac OS X software.
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“We want to get it in your hands as soon as possible. The Developer preview is in your hands today,” concluded Jobs. “We plan to get it done with Leopard and ship it this coming spring.” 
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