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Leopard Bits: The Small Things

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In my previous post, I covered the Dock; a pretty major UI element of Mac OS X. In this post, I’ll get a bunch of the smaller things out of the way before I head into more important territory.

Aside from the Dock, one of the first differences a user moving from a previous version of Mac OS X might notice in Leopard is the semitransparent menubar:

Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” Semitransparent Menubar

There have been a number of complaints, but I generally prefer the change. I never really liked how the menubar in older versions of OS X shouted to be seen with its constant solid white look. Now it does a better job of blending in with my desktop. When I need it, it’s there. When I don’t need it, it blends in to the environment.

Mac OS X finally has a consistent look that’s operating system wide. All applications now use a dark platinum look for focused windows (similar to iTunes 7’s look minus the sand-blasted scroll bars).

Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” Finder Home

Unfocused windows now use a significantly lighter grey that’s almost white.

Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” Finder Home Unfocused

The difference is pretty striking.

Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” Focused vs. Unfocused Finder

Overall, I think it’s a pretty good choice. The dark look gives everything a solidly constructed feel while the light colour of unfocused windows stops the OS from becoming too depressing.

Icons are now 256×256 or 512×512 (even though the Finder can only show icons at a max size of 256×256).

Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” Finder Icon

Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” iTunes 7.5 Icon

Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” Folder Icon

The icons of nearly every single item that comes bundled with Leopard is 512×512, most likely to help pave the way for a resolution independent UI.

Other Small Things

-Spotlight has seen a significant speed bump. It’s now a hell of a lot closer to being instantaneous. At this point, I’m sure it could replace QuickSilver for simple application launching.
-Leopard now excludes extensions when renaming files. Yay! 🙂
-The new Movies widget in Dashboard is pretty handy.
-The new Application specific Search feature is really handy. Say you want to know how to decrease the quote level in Mail, simply click on Help in the menubar, type decrease and highlight the result that you’re looking for.
-Many of the smaller UI elements have been refreshed. Buttons look a little different: as if somebody just pushed it into their windows a little further. They also look clearer; less shinier. Take a look at a comparison; old vs. new. Titlebar buttons: old vs. new.
-You might also have noticed that the pinstripes are also gone. It makes the windows much less heavier on the eyes. Apple has been continuously decreasing the intensity of the pinstripes since the first version of OS X, and it’s good to see that they’re gone.
-Menus now have rounded corners; old vs. new
-Along with spell-checking, we now have system-wide grammar checking.

So, there you go. Most of the small things out of the way. Now, on to the bigger fish…

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Written by Kumaran Vijayan

November 16, 2007 at 11:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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