Sorry, Children, Leopard’s Top Secret Features Aren’t Real
Yay, woohoo, Leopard has finally been announced! Two and a half years after the release of Tiger, that’s an almost Microsoft-esque timeframe by Apple’s standards. You’d expect Leopard to be something special, and, with 300 plus improvements, it must be. However, since Steve’s announcement 14 months ago of “top secret” new features, nothing has materialized to fit that billing. And it’s reasonable that the fans are feeling a little bit let down.
At WWDC 2006, on giving the first preview of Leopard, Steve Jobs promised there were still new features to be revealed that were “top secret.” The allusion was that revealing them would allow the mortal enemy, Microsoft, to copy them (at the last minute) into Vista, which was a few months from release.
In Steve’s own words, courtesy of Engadget, he said from the WWDC 2006 stage, “Today we want to give you a preview of Leopard. First I want to tell you there are some top secret features that we’re keeping close to the chest.”
A quick scour of the new features pages for Leopard reveals nothing significant above what was first shown way back in August 2006. Finder upgrade, Quick Look, Time Machine, Mail 3, iChat 4, Spaces, Safari 3, Parental Controls upgrade, and Boot Camp: these get top billing on the new features page. But if you’re feeling a bit of déjà vu, it’s because you saw all this at WWDC 2006.
Ironically, OS X’s own dictionary describes déjà vu as “tedious familiarity.” Who hasn’t felt a bit that way as Apple has continued to trumpet the same old new features?
At the same time, who isn’t feeling at least the smallest bit used? Patronized? Taken for granted? It’s rather easy to feel Steve has treated us like children, telling us there’s a tooth fairy when there isn’t, telling us whatever suits Apple without respect for its customers. By the way, if there are any children reading this, yes, of course the tooth fairy is real, and yes of course there are significant secret features in Leopard. Someone will find them. One day. Promise.
Some fans had held out hope until yesterday that Apple would deliver the promised top secret features. Sadly, I guess we just can’t believe what Steve tells us anymore.
Many commentators are suggesting Apple is becoming more Microsoft-like. The arguments center around Apple’s apparent growing disregard for its own customers. This “top secret” saga adds weight to their arguments. You get the impression Apple thinks it can tell us whatever it likes because we’re gullible, naive, and forgiving. It really smacks of Apple disrespecting its fans.
As for Leopard itself, although tempted to rush out and join the early adopters, I think this time I will wait a few weeks, probably until 10.5.1 comes out. That’s not to say Apple has any sort of track record like Microsoft’s disasters with first versions of operating systems. Rather, it says more about me being happy with Tiger and seeing no compelling features in Leopard to make me salivate and want to upgrade immediately. Maybe those missing top secret features would have made Leopard a compelling upgrade.
* Image courtesy of Engadget