appleIn Steve Job's recent keynote, he made a point to tell listeners explicitly that not all of Leopard's features would be revealed, giving the explanation:
We don’t want our friends to start their photocopiers any sooner than they have to.
-Steve Jobs, 2006
The media has popularly taken "our friends" to mean Microsoft, and for good reason. Banners at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) berated the Redmond institution for copying Mac OS X features into Vista and generally failing to innovate.
A recent post by Andy Ihnatko at Macworld speculated that these "secret features" of Leopard might be tied to as yet unannounced hardware, which is certainly possible, even likely. But there's another possibility to consider, one that doesn't necessarily aim squarely at Microsoft's Vista.
Consider online services. Apple has made significant investments in the iTunes Music Store and .Mac, tieing in the consumer's investment in a Mac and an iPod into a larger online/digital lifestyle. In this arena, Apple faces stiff competition from Google, Yahoo, and new Web 2.0 properties like Flickr, YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, etc. With Apple's iLife suite offering "digital life" applications such as iPhoto, iWeb, iCal, and iMovie, it is easy to see how Apple's "friends" are Flickr, Blogger, Google Calendar, and YouTube (respectively).
Nevermind Microsoft's Windows Live, an online resource/community that the Redmond company will certainly be integrating into Vista when it ships.
So what kind of integrations, aggregations, and mashups might we see? I don't know, what do you think? Let your imagination loose - what would you like to see Leopard integrate with online, either with Apple's services (iTMS, .Mac) or other popular services. Post to the comments with your ideas.
Of course, much as Andy wrote, this is all pure speculation, I certainly have no more inside knowledge of what's going on at Apple than Apple's "friends" do. But, for this Apple enthusiast, at least, there's some hope that not all of Leopard's new features will require an additional monetary investment. Here's to hoping.