In particular, a posting to the Windows Vista developer community site, AeroXperience, reveals well over a dozen previously undiscussed features -- specifically those pertinent to developers. Each of the enhancements are present in a beta release of Leopard (Leopard Preview) which was handed to developers at Apple's developer conference this week.
According to the posting, Leopard will finally turn up resolution independence, a feature that has been lingering beneath the surface of Mac OS X since the first betas of Mac OS X Tiger. Resolution independent user interfaces essentially break the software assumption that all display output is to be rendered at 72 dots per inch (DPI).
The new Quartz-driven technology should let users choose between viewing more detail (more pixels per point, but fewer points on the screen) or a larger user interface (fewer pixels per point but more points on the screen) without altering the resolution of the computer's display. (For more, please see our special report from Aug. 2004).
Inside Leopard Preview developers find the current version of QuickTime (QuickTime 7.1) but a greatly enhanced underlying QTKit framework. Among the reported improvements are better correction for nonsquare pixels, support for aperture mode dimensions, and the use of clean aperture -- the user-displayable region of video that does not contain transition artifacts caused by the encoding process.
It's also said that Leopard's QTKit framework will offer developers QuickTime capture from sources such as cameras and microphones, full screen recording and QuickTime stream recording. Additionally, developers should be able to take live content from a capture and broadcast it as stream over a network.
Full Screen Mode and Time Machine
Meanwhile it appears that Apple's new Core Animation library will provide for some spiffy applications down the line. It allows developers to place any Mac OS X interface view into fullscreen mode and do so while using a CoreImage transition effect. Similarly, developers can tell interface windows to use explicit animations when resizing, such as the three dimensional effect Apple previewed in its demonstration Time Machine.
For those who may have missed it, Time Machine is a fascinating file backup system that Apple is building into Leopard. It works not only across the Mac OS X Finder but can also be built into third party applications. According to the web report, one of the tools Apple is giving developers is a programming interface to exclude unimportant files. Removing these files from the backup set should improves backup performance and reduces space needed for a backup.
Image Editing Enhancements and Added RAW Support
Leopard developers also gain access to an Image Kit that will allow them to easily create an application that can browse, view, crop, rotate and pick images. The kit offers the ability to apply Core Image filter effects through an interface and gives developers a slideshow interface, allowing any application to display a fullscreen slideshow of images.
Major Improvements Possible for Carbon Apps
According to the posting at AeroXperience, Carbon applications -- those build upon the Classic Mac OS programming interfaces -- can be embedded with Cocoa views under Leopard. Speculation is that this interoperability could provide applications like Photoshop and Microsoft Office access to advanced functions previously only available to Cocoa applications.
Grammar Check, Multiple Clipboard and Added RSS support
Apple has also been bolstering the Mac OS X text engine, according to the report, and plans to deliver a system-wide grammar checking facility, smart quote support, automatic link detection and support for copying and pasting multiple selections.
On a separate subject, Leopard developers will gain access to a new set of RSS tools for generating, parsing, publishing, and subscribing to RSS feeds through their applications. Local feeds can even be shared over Bonjour zero-configuration sharing and discovery, the report adds.
iCal, Address Book, Automator, more
Other enhancements discovered in the Leopard Preview include shared user account and Address Book support, a new Automator workflow interface, and a new Calendar Store framework that allows developers access to calendar, event and task information from iCal for integration in their applications.
Leopard Preview reportedly ships with Apache 2.0, Ruby on Rails and Subversion. It also adds support for script-to-framework programming, allowing Python and Ruby scripting to access Mac OS X specific programming interfaces.