Hardmac, the English language counterpart to French Mac site MacBidouille, has a nice (and possibly illegal) visual walkthru of some of the new features of Leopard. The first few pages are a bit boring to me (since we've seen a lot of Time Machine/Spaces), featuring Time Machine setup and preferences and the same for Spaces. The last few pages go more in-depth into the new Mail.app features and some Finder improvements.
The ability to read RSS is Mail is cool, although I doubt it will replace NetNewsWire for me. I prefer my RSS in a mail-like format over a stripped website format so this is a step closer to my ideal. My only wish after seeing Hardmac expand on the Notes/To-Do functionality is that they offer something a bit more aesthetically pleasing that the awful Post-It/Marker Felt UI. Our emails don't come in with two folds and an envelope, so why extend the real-world metaphor to the UI for notes and tasks?
The integration between Safari and Dashboard is neat, but I'm only now giving Dashboard a second chance so the feature's real usefulness for me remains to be seen. Still, I think having a Dashboard widget for a piece of a site is cool for keeping up with sites that don't publish RSS feeds. This video from a Hungarian blog sheds some light on Safari's Core Animation abilities, showing off a new Find mechanism that dims the entire site except for search matches. The new Help is really slick as well. It consists of a purple search box that creates purple arrows pointing to somewhere that the help item refers to.
The last page goes into "The Rest". A further refinement of the Spotlight window is shown, as is Preview's new UI (that is very reminiscent of Mail's abomination). Small screenshots of the new and improved voice and the new Help search are shown, capped off with two minor Finder improvements: renaming a file selects only the name and not the extension (yay!) and "Always Open With" shows up below "Open With" (in Tiger, "Always Open With" can be shown by holding option while in the contextual menu).
Though the final product is 8 months away, this preview doesn't bode well for those looking for UI consistency. iChat adopts the unified theme, the Finder and Safari are still brushed metal, Preview went to the secondary gel-capped unified theme and Mail.app has added the tacky Sticky metaphor to notes/todos. I only hope that Apple can get its Human Interface Guidelines in order and start adhering to them by the time Leopard ships.
Technorati Tags: Apple, Mac OS X, Leopard, Safari, Dashboard, Core Animation, Finder, Mail.app, UI, HIG, Human Interface Guidelines