When we all first heard about Mac OS 10.5 at Apple’s 2006 WWDC, a few critics came out and suggested that the feature set wasn’t all that compelling. After all, a built-in backup application, a multiple desktop utility, enhancements to chatting and email software and perhaps a few added system tricks weren’t sufficient to tie an upgrade to.
On the surface, they may have been right, but it’s also true that Steve Jobs made it clear that the original disclosure of 10 new Leopard features didn’t represent everything. Sure, the claim that he didn’t want Microsoft to start their copying machines prematurely was just market-speak. After all, Mac developers would have to be fully apprised of everything in Leopard to make sure their applications were fully compatible, and, of course, that they took advantage of the new programming tools. And, as you know, one of the largest of those Mac developers is none other than Microsoft.
It may have been that, with Leopard so far off into the future as of the summer of 2006, Apple just didn’t have all the features present in a serviceable form to demonstrate publicly. It may even have been true that the entire slate of new features hadn’t been worked out yet.
Of course, we’ll never know for sure, and maybe in doesn’t matter all that much anyway. What is most important is not what could have been or should have been, but what actually makes it into the final release.