So, at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, which of the following did Steve Jobs not announce will be shipping in Leopard?
A) A telepathic interface
B) Virtualized OS X
C) A Pony
Now, perhaps I am a bit too deep into the hyperbole here, but sometimes, I wonder what people expect, and then I realize the answer is "more." Now, I will be the first to admit that the keynote itself was not astounding. True, I do like some of the newer UI tricks like Stacks (Shades of Copland! All we need is the Knowledge Navigator, and that OS will finally have shipped), and what looks like a much faster response time for opening folders in the Dock, but as keynotes go, this was not one that was so astounding it made you think you had the vapors.
The changes to the Finder and the Desktop are not revolutionary, but rather evolutionary, and that's a good thing. Complete overhauls of the interface are things best avoided as much as possible, just ask Microsoft, who has done it something like 5 times compared to Apple doing it twice. (Once if you don't count going from the Apple II UI to the Mac.) The only two complaints I have at the moment are that the folder icons are just...well...ugly. I mean, I'm sure the people at Apple really worked hard, but dark blue icons on a blue gradient background? Even on a huge screen, the folder badging is barely readable, and I'm reminded of a bad Kaleidoscope theme. The other one is the translucent menu bar. I just don't see it being possible to be perfectly readable across all backgrounds, and that's what it has to be. I'd be completely not shocked were it to change by October.
The new Finder sidebar has potential, depending on things like how many servers are going to show up by default, and if you can control what servers show up there, a la Managed Network Views in Mac OS X 10.4. Taking Coverflow from iTunes, and integrating it into the Finder is one of those things that won't be immediately useful to everyone, but it will be really handy for people who need to see a file to figure out what's in it. Coverflow, combined with Quick Look, Apple's new content preview feature, will be useful to me personally, especially when I'm playing "which presentation had what slides." Not having to deal with either Powerpoint or Keynote when I'm just scanning for slides will not suck.
(Another bit of irony. Someone pointed out to me that Quick Look is, in principle at least, awfully close to OpenDoc's "universal viewer" idea. Ah, nothing is ever truly discarded.) Seriously, this is something the Mac has needed for a while. If I just want to see what's in a file, why shouldn't I be able to do that? I don't need to edit it, I just need to view it. The command line has "more," and that's all Quick Look really is: "more" for the GUI. It's a really spiffy way of presenting it, but that's what it is in essence: graphical "more."