Apple Spotlight Patents Hinting at Leopard?

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Apr 12, 2001
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Hrmpf and Appleinsider are posting images from Apple's recent patent applications surrounding their Spotlight search technology.

The images show different versions of Finder/Spotlight than what has shipped with Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). Both sites speculate that these may be signs of the interface to come in the next version of Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). Alternatively, they may simply be iterations of Spotlight development that were discarded.

Nested Smart Folders are described in one patent application, extending Smart Folder functionality:

Basically, you create a “Smart Folder” (say Files modified last week) and then you can create more smart folders within the original folder (like Kind = images) and then create more folders within that subfolder (like Aperture = f7).
One of the most ambitious features is a process to automatically generate Secondary Meta-data for file searches. Apple proposes the use of semantic analysis and even Optical Character Recognition to extract data from photos (Algorithm picture):

This [metadata] is great but it’s not really accessible - what you really want to know is this the picture I took as a closeup that night? This metdata won’t tell you that but what if your computer processed this metadata and added new metadata that better described the photograph (nighttime, closeup and the text from any signs in the photo etc).
Meanwhile, audio analysis of audio files could generate more information about your MP3/AACs. Beyond the usual metadata extraction, Mac OS X could also perform an actual analysis of the songs:

For example .... a frequency analysis (e.g., using spectrum analysis/filtering techniques) may be performed to determine the type of the music (e.g., Jazz or classical), and other audio related information.
 

yankeefan24

macrumors 65816
Dec 24, 2005
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NYC
i really can't wait for leopard now:D analyze my songs and pictures!!! I'm buying day 1 (unlike tiger):D
 

ajonessn

macrumors newbie
Jul 15, 2005
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Forget spotlight

Spotlight doesn't even work most of the time (see Apple's support forums)! I want "piles," and moreover, "smart piles" to clean up my clutter and complement my folders!
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,574
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Cork, Ireland.
I am very nervously excited.

Nervous, because Spotlight is so far from being a full Finder replacement, I'm worried by Steve's "who still needs the Finder" comments.

Excited, because Spotlight has so much (IMO) unused potential.
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
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Cork, Ireland.
Incidentally, someone posted those Spotlight screenshots a few days ago, either here or on Arstechnica. Surprising AppleInsider only is reporting this now.
 

boncellis

macrumors 6502
Feb 9, 2006
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Salt Lake City
I'm excited that someone has put things together to at least speculate on the features and upgrades included within Leopard. Up to this point I was really wondering what the next upgrade could contain.

I think the general trend is toward customizability, with the automatic scanning of data and nested folders. It would be a great benefit to make this sort of custom interface with individual users beyond color schemes and wallpaper.

I don't think the timing of this is an accident, either. How close is Vista to shipping? It would be just like Mr. Jobs to steal MS's thunder. Apple really has an advantage releasing new updates to OS X every year (give or take). How long until MS follows suit?
 

lonepilgrim

macrumors regular
Feb 9, 2006
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London
Macrumors said:
Nested Smart Folders are described in one patent application, extending Smart Folder functionality
I wonder how many people will delete half their files, thinking they are safely tucked away in folders........ :eek:
 

neoserver

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2003
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Just looked at the images... looks very cool.

One thing though... in the images the windows have "iFinder" as their title. I certainly hope they aren't going to take the whole "i" thing to the finder. I much prefer just "Finder."
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
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Cork, Ireland.
boncellis said:
I'm excited that someone has put things together to at least speculate on the features and upgrades included within Leopard. Up to this point I was really wondering what the next upgrade could contain.
I'd say any new technology in Tiger is likely to be expanded upon and utilised more fully in Leopard. Core Image, Core Audio, Quartz 2D Extreme and Spotlight are the obvious candidates.

(And.. the WWDC might be an excellent date to roll out Leopard, with Vista just around the corner. ;) )
 

KindredMAC

macrumors 6502a
Sep 23, 2003
971
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Yeah.... and does anyone remember Piles????

I wouldn't get too excited over this. If it happens then alright....if not, then alright.
 

ajonessn

macrumors newbie
Jul 15, 2005
5
0
KindredMAC said:
Yeah.... and does anyone remember Piles????

I wouldn't get too excited over this. If it happens then alright....if not, then alright.

Ooo! Ooo! I do! See my post above!!! Dang it Apple! Produce what we want! The technology isn't that difficult! Especially now that we have Core Imaging!
 

boncellis

macrumors 6502
Feb 9, 2006
474
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Salt Lake City
whooleytoo said:
I'd say any new technology in Tiger is likely to be expanded upon and utilised more fully in Leopard. Core Image, Core Audio, Quartz 2D Extreme and Spotlight are the obvious candidates.

(And.. the WWDC might be an excellent date to roll out Leopard, with Vista just around the corner. ;) )
Looks like this WWDC will be pretty exciting, if you're right. I usually anticipate MWSF more than WWDC, maybe because I'm not much of a "power" user, at this point. With the date pushed back, the conference looks like it could include a new PowerMac and Leopard along with a slew of potential universal applications. It seems to be shaping up nicely.
 

Stridder44

macrumors 68040
Mar 24, 2003
3,971
138
California
The pics of the finder look just like the...well, finder. I don't see any difference. (except the "iFinder" thing...God forbid they're going to call it that)
 

ASP272

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2004
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Nashville, TN
I'll get excited about Spotlight when it actually works. The fact that I had to go to a developers forum (I am not a developer) to find out how to get Spotlight to search an external Server is ridiculous. The finder in Panther did it so much more better, though it was slower. Spotlight is such a fledgling app, and I am so far very sorely disappointed in Apple not including the older Finder along side Safari. Big negative for me on this one.
 

monkeyandy

macrumors member
Jan 9, 2006
72
0
Leopard!

Just when MS releases Vista, Apple will drop this bombshell! :cool:

Sadly all the features that Vista has copied from Tiger wil be upgraded in Leopard. Bring on Vista SP2 Special Business/Home Extended Edition! :D

I'm looking forward to the day they bring out the new iBook/MacBook, i'll snap one in a flash. A few months down the line you can upgrade to Leopard. I bet things will be pretty sweet!
 

EricNau

Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
10,657
54
San Francisco, CA
Sounds very cool.

...Which is good, because Apple will need something very good to compete with MS Vista, not because Vista will actually be better than Tiger or Leopard, but because Windows users just don't get it.
 

aussie_geek

macrumors 65816
Apr 19, 2004
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Sydney Australia
monkeyandy said:
Sadly all the features that Vista has copied from Tiger wil be upgraded in Leopard. Bring on Vista SP2 Special Business/Home Extended Edition! :D
It is sad but this is very true. Now that these features have been openly exposed on the net does anyone see Micro$oft attempting to incorporate these features into Vi$ta as well? :mad:

These new features will be a great addition to our OS. I use Spotlight pretty much all the time now to find stuff. It has revolutionised the way I open documents and files. All I do now is remember that I have something regarding a topic and then just Spotlight it. There is no need to remember where things are on your Mac anymore..


aussie_geek
 

guzhogi

macrumors 68040
Aug 31, 2003
3,076
955
Wherever my feet take me…
I wonder how much of the GUI is actually going to change. I like the way windows are now with the icon, list & column views. I'm so used to using column view, I think it'll suck if everytime I want to go to some file or something, I have to tell the Finder I want to open an image or audio or whatever format file, then a Photoshop file or something. I'm hoping Apple's smart enough to keep the directory file system, but sometimes software companies do really stupid things. But I'm glad that they're updating the Finder just so it could use Cocoa features.
 

Lurch_Mojoff

macrumors member
Apr 21, 2005
69
0
Closer that you might expect!
Dang, if Apple can pull off even half of these features I'd be damn impressed. Hell, even if they just slightly enhance Finder's UI and metadata awareness in Leopard and leave the fancy features for 10.6, I'd be grateful.

Nevertheless, whenever (or maybe I should say if) these features make it into a final release of Mac OS X, they'll be light years ahead of Windows (or any other OS for that matter) and will make comments like "we have the best OS, with the greatest UI, yada, yada, yada..." form Microsoft sound really stupid.

All I can say is - good luck Apple. Bring us the goodies sooner. :cool:
 

iMeowbot

macrumors G3
Aug 30, 2003
8,634
0
This really seems to be describing Tiger's Spotlight. The examples are things that each application (Apple or third party) can implement.
 
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