Apple close to unveiling guarded Snow Leopard UI overhaul

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
While developers have been privy to pre-releases of Apple's Snow Leopard operating system for quite some time, those distributions have been stripped of several features including a significant UI overhaul that the company is now preparing for broader consumption, AppleInsider has been told.



People familiar with the matter say the next developer build of the software will unleash some of the biggest changes to the next-gen OS since Apple first previewed the software to developers at last June's Worldwide Developers Conference.



Among the changes under consideration for the new build is a striking overhaul to the Mac OS X user interface, which is expected to surrender its platinum theme. Apple has reportedly been working on this new interface since day one, despite public claims that Snow Leopard would forgo forward-facing improvements for a focus strictly on under-the-hood enhancements.



Still, those familiar with the situation say it's not clear whether management has given the green light to include the UI changes in an incremental developer build. The concern is that those changes will inevitably leak on the web, and therefore they may preserve them for an official demonstration during the company's spring Worldwide Developers Conference.



These latest reports add to previous claims that similarly predicted Apple would eventually wrap Snow Leopard in a new interface rumored to go by the code-name "marble." Details were sparse, but speculation pointed to the adoption of the smoother iTunes-style scrollbars and a move towards a darker chrome motif for application windows alongside an inverted menubar with light text on a dark background.



Interface elements and colors of the rumored "Marble" theme.



It's possible that Apple may have already tipped its hand to this end earlier this month when it included the first external builds of its QuickTime X Player with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard build 10A286. The software included a new minimal interface consisting only of a titlebar, leaving all playback controls to reside in floating interface overlays.



An artist's mockup of the minimal QuickTime X Player window interface with the "trim" tools overlay.



The titlebar itself (seen in the artist rendition, above) is reminiscent of the iPhone's semi-transparent black glass interface but is also capable of adopting hues from the video frames playing beneath it. Although seen in the rendering as sporting a purplish hue (due to the underlying blue video frame) the titlebar appears glass-black when set atop a white or tan-colored video frame.



Story Highlights

Next Snow Leopard builds to include big changesSnow Leopard to be wrapped in new interface ahead of launchWWDC to offer finalized preview, release dateSnow Leopard to hit retail within two months of WWDCUpcoming iPhone OS 3 beta to activate live Push Notification support

As it stands, Apple reportedly plans to use its WWDC 2009 to preview a feature complete version of Snow Leopard and announce a formal release date. Based on the current status of the software, those familiar with the project say the company will need approximately two months from this public preview to fine tune the software. Assuming WWDC takes place in June, that would suggest a release around August.



In somewhat related news, company engineers are also racing to deliver a new build of iPhone Software 3.0 to iPhone and iPod touch developers. One of the big features destined for this build is said to be live support for Push Notifications through Apple's servers, which is currently undergoing some final internal tests.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 122
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,414member
    I can't wait, the new features of snow leopard + these new mac pros is going to make the machines scream. It's also time for a new interface. I've felt like things have gone downhill since 10.0 and dropped downhill since 10.2. A few things have been added for the better, but it's still not right.



    I welcome these UI changes and also welcome any Finder UI updates. FTFF please ...
  • Reply 2 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    I keep reading, in articles and posts, that Apple isn't going to introduce new features with 10.6.



    This isn't true. Nowhere did Apple say this. They did say that they would be concentrating on rewriting the OS, and adding features under the hood, many of which we now know about.



    But there are features we, as consumers, will see as well. There are features that we've already seen hints of in Leopard that developers only are working with. This includes the many times over the years discussion of resolution independence. That's a possibility.



    I also can't believe that Apple would wait until the last minute on showing to developers a wholly new GUI. They will have to see this enough in advance. They may have to rework their own interfaces as a result.



    I'm sure we will see features, some major. How many is another question.
  • Reply 3 of 122
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,414member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I also can't believe that Apple would wait until the last minute on showing to developers a wholly new GUI. They will have to see this enough in advance. They may have to rework their own interfaces as a result.



    I'm sure we will see features, some major. How many is another question.



    They will see those changes at WWDC and have roughly two months. For the most part their UI's will change along with the OS if they wrote a normal Cocoa Application. As much as I hate to say this, Apple can / will do whatever they want. They've screwed us devs many times over.
  • Reply 4 of 122
    eduardoeduardo Posts: 181member
    WWDC cannot come soon enough!



    Can't wait to see what Snow Leopard and the iPhone 3G v2.0 will look like!
  • Reply 5 of 122
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    ... This includes the many times over the years discussion of resolution independence. That's a possibility....



    Yes, please!



    Snow Leopard may be MAINLY focused under the hood, but user-facing changes are always welcome too.



    I'll be sorry to see the shiny blue scrollbars go, but I'll withhold judgement until I see the feel of the UI as a whole. Change is always jarring, but also fun!
  • Reply 6 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by emig647 View Post


    They will see those changes at WWDC and have roughly two months. For the most part their UI's will change along with the OS if they wrote a normal Cocoa Application. As much as I hate to say this, Apple can / will do whatever they want. They've screwed us devs many times over.



    Don't be so sure Apple won't release it then. I wouldn't be surprised if a very few of the largest developers have already seen it.



    Even if they wrote Cocoa apps, changing the font and background colors could lead to poor legibility. I, for one, don't like the idea. Font size and weight could have to change among other things. It isn't a simple "Cocoa will take care of it".



    Apple does what it thinks it needs to do. That doesn't mean that it "screwed over" developers.
  • Reply 7 of 122
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    I fixed the spelling errors -- yes there is a bug in Leopard where spell check now randomly stops working in TextEdit. It was corrected in a separate app but I guess the wrong version got pasted into the publisher
  • Reply 8 of 122
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,410member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    Yes, please!



    Snow Leopard may be MAINLY focused under the hood, but user-facing changes are always welcome too.



    I'll be sorry to see the shiny blue scrollbars go, but I'll withhold judgement until I see the feel of the UI as a whole. Change is always jarring, but also fun!



    You've all been punked by Apple's clever ruse... the new UI features a hot-pink theme, with slide whistle sound effects.
  • Reply 9 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    Yes, please!



    Snow Leopard may be MAINLY focused under the hood, but user-facing changes are always welcome too.



    I'll be sorry to see the shiny blue scrollbars go, but I'll withhold judgement until I see the feel of the UI as a whole. Change is always jarring, but also fun!



    I prefer the colors. It makes hitting something much easier that when everything is in shades of grey. Peripheral vision isn't too good at detail, but it's very good at color discrimination. I dislike looking at a scrollbar directly when I need it. I see it out of the corner of my eve. With grey or black, the black and white cursor will be less visible, and the other elements will blend more together.
  • Reply 10 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I keep reading, in articles and posts, that Apple isn't going to introduce new features with 10.6.



    This isn't true. Nowhere did Apple say this. They did say that they would be concentrating on rewriting the OS, and adding features under the hood, many of which we now know about.



    But there are features we, as consumers, will see as well. There are features that we've already seen hints of in Leopard that developers only are working with. This includes the many times over the years discussion of resolution independence. That's a possibility.



    I also can't believe that Apple would wait until the last minute on showing to developers a wholly new GUI. They will have to see this enough in advance. They may have to rework their own interfaces as a result.



    I'm sure we will see features, some major. How many is another question.



    When they say features, they're really talking about the major things like Time Machine, Spaces, or Boot Camp. Smaller features are more like improvements than new software applications.
  • Reply 11 of 122
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,158member
    When I read about new Apple product I can't stop thinking about the part in "Pirates of Silicon Valley" where Bill Gates went crazy and told his partners (Paul Allen and Balmer) that they are dead when he saw Apple Lisa. I've alway imagined Balmer having the similar reaction with every new Apple product
  • Reply 12 of 122
    well, I just want they improve the software and get rid of Universal support...



    I've notice that Safari takes too much memory and crash pretty often...



    With Snow Leopard, the OS and software foot print would reduce a lot, same with memory allocation, which I hope it'll improve performance and stability....



    I have SB MBP 2.2 with 4GB RAM, changed my HDD twice, now it's 320GB 72K, won't upgrade my MBP until they introduce a proper MBP with support of 8GB RAM, and no, I'm not interested on 17" MBP which support 8GB RAM.



    And please give us option of mate LCD like new 17" MBP... I just found the glossy LCD hideous....
  • Reply 13 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    When they say features, they're really talking about the major things like Time Machine, Spaces, or Boot Camp. Smaller features are more like improvements than new software applications.



    Do you have a direct line?



    A major feature is rez independence. That's one of the most major. It requires every software developer to take a look at their programs. Server will apparently also be getting ZFS. That's the biggest feature in many years, even though we won't have it. I mention it because it's not just an under the hood kind of thing, as it changes they way people will use the OS.



    Rewriting the Finder on Cocoa is also a "feature" because it will also affect the way we see it and interact with it. That's major!



    There could be other less significant, but still useful features added. Apple just won't be advertising "300 new features"



    Look at how they just publicized the iPhone 3.0 ograde:



    1,000 new API's and 100 new features.



    We'll see something like that.
  • Reply 14 of 122
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 444member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    You've all been punked by Apple's clever ruse... the new UI features a hot-pink theme, with slide whistle sound effects.



    Hey, as long as you can switch it back to the OS 9 sound set in the Appearance pane, I'm good.



    Jimzip
  • Reply 15 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by georgetang View Post


    well, I just want they improve the software and get rid of Universal support...



    I've notice that Safari takes too much memory and crash pretty often...



    With Snow Leopard, the OS and software foot print would reduce a lot, same with memory allocation, which I hope it'll improve performance and stability....



    I have SB MBP 2.2 with 4GB RAM, changed my HDD twice, now it's 320GB 72K, won't upgrade my MBP until they introduce a proper MBP with support of 8GB RAM, and no, I'm not interested on 17" MBP which support 8GB RAM.



    And please give us option of mate LCD like new 17" MBP... I just found the glossy LCD hideous....



    About 28% of Mac users are still on PPC machines. They won't agree with you on getting rid of Universal. I don't see it as making that much of a difference to most people, though it might happen.
  • Reply 16 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jimzip View Post


    Hey, as long as you can switch it back to the OS 9 sound set in the Appearance pane, I'm good.



    Jimzip



    You know, I loved those sounds?for about a month.



    Then I went to submarine mode.
  • Reply 17 of 122
    mclokimcloki Posts: 86member
    As long as they keep the interface clean and give an option to keep the old interface. The new interface seems to remind me of their pro apps. It seems that I'll wait for Snow Leopard to be pre installed on Macs before I make the plunge and buy a new machine.
  • Reply 18 of 122
    jupiteronejupiterone Posts: 1,564member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    You've all been punked by Apple's clever ruse... the new UI features a hot-pink theme, with slide whistle sound effects.



    I've always had a nostalgic fondness for the old Hotdog Stand.



  • Reply 19 of 122
    August: Snow Leopard and quad core imacs? I'd be happy :-)
  • Reply 20 of 122
    Haven't we seen this confluence of events before? Anticipated June release for new phone hardware + new phone software, plus an anticipated August debut for a major OS release (e.g.-Leopard) resulted in Leopard being delayed until October.



    It would seem to me that the anticipated new iPhone hardware (iPhone 3,1) + a major iPhone OS revamp (iPhone OS 3.0) could mean a repeat of the Mac OS delay that hit Leopard. There are only so many people working at Apple. And don't kid yourself, these are all MAJOR refreshes of hardware and software.



    If Apple sits on the new UI theme, this would likely only exacerbate the problem.



    I would love to see all 3 of these drop within two months of each other, although my pocket book won't; but I just don't see this happening. I wouldn't be surprised to see Snow Leopard slip back a couple of months. Sorry about throwing cold water on you! My bucket is now empty.
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