I finally had a chance this weekend to, more or less, get caught up on some of the post WWDC keynote coverage about Leopard. After consuming various articles and podcasts that represented noted Mac luminaries such as Pogue, Breen, Laporte, etc., I have come to the conclusion that everybody got it wrong. And I mean really wrong. Most of the coverage (in fact, just about 100% of it) primarily focused on and fawned over such obvious goodies as (my)Spaces and Time Machine. Understandable, since those where the "main" Leopard features that Jobs and company dangled in front of the audience at WWDC. But were they? What surprised me about the coverage was how little attention (all in all, virtually nothing) that was paid to the very first and by far the most important Leopard feature that Steve Jobs himself personally introduced: the TOP SECRETS™ Hardly a footnote about it. Why is that the single most important feature of Leopard and the one that should be on the top of everyone's Leopard list? Well, a casual glance at past Stevenotes offers at least two clues. First, the fact that Apple has, in such a public way, reneged on disclosing features of it's forthcoming OS is unprecedented in prior keynotes. In the past, Apple has eagerly touted what it considered to be the "best of" features, but not this time. And oddly, Jobs wasn't the least bit secretive about the existence of...secrets. Clearly he wanted the world to know there was something, but "it" wasn't going to be revealed, at least not yet. This is simply astonishing behavior from Apple and it should be noted in no uncertain terms because that's what Apple, I believe, intended all along. The second clue is that, in prior keynotes, the first OS X feature slot is usually reserved for the most important, ground-breaking, earth-shattering, life-changing OS X Superfeature. For Tiger, it was Spotlight. For Panther, it was the new Finder (IIRC). For Leopard, it was...well, a big fat blank to be filled in later. In other words, the first slot is always for something that's supposed to be a sure-fire attention grabbing wonder. So why then was the first slot devoted to the totally invisible feature TOP SECRETS™ and not Time Machine or (my)Spaces or, (sigh) new iChat fuzzballs? If you read the coverage concerning Leopard, you would get the impression that these features are Leopard. There it folks, thanks for reading or listening or watching. If that were the case, then why didn't Apple leave the TOP SECRETS™ for last - or not bother mentioning it at all? The answer is, despite what you may have seen, and despite what you may have come to accept (brace yourselves now) we haven't seen Leopard yet. I know it's difficult to come to terms with, after all, Apple promised a preview of Leopard and whenever Apple has said it's going to preview the latest OS X in the past, that's exactly what you got. Well, not this time. What we got was a rather lackluster parade of goodies - most of them modest (and somewhat predictable) improvements to already existing stuff such as Mail, iChat, Dashboard, and so on. For the most part they aren't particularly bad, they're just not all that impressive. Certainly not keynote feature worthy, not for a grand next generation OS X preview. So here, have a Time Machine cookie instead. Or how about a nice warm (my)Spaces home-made biscuit so you won't go home empty-handed? I understand that journalists have to write about something, and the attention that's being paid to things like Time machine is all well and good. But to represent this stuff as being the sum and total of Leopard is a mistake. Mentioning the perception that Tiger at least equals or in some instances bests Vista as an OS already - explaining the feature-poor Leopard showing - is just simply hitting the Kool-aid a little too hard. I think Apple is all too aware of Vista and it's implications for OS X when Vista is released. In fact, Apple has been there before when Windows 95 was released, and at that time Apple had virtually no response to it whatsoever other than filing a lawsuit. The result was Apple bled marketshare, lost the lawsuit, and went into a nosedive trying to come up with it's next generation Mac OS. When Jobs says he wants to hold a few cards close to the chest with Leopard, you should take that seriously. Around the time Windows 95 was released (and before he came back to Apple) Jobs remarked that Apple had a ten year lead in technology over the competition with the Mac during his time with Apple, and after he left, Apple lost it's drive for innovation and the technology advantage basically vanished. Since he's returned, OS X was born and constantly improved to the point where Jobs would display a slide of the rear of a car racing alone into the distance during his keynotes, red taillights blazing, and proclaim that OS X has the competition once again staring at Apple taillights. It's a highbrow moment, but I think it also reveals Jobs determination to reinstate Apple's 10 year technology lead once again, present marketshare notwithstanding. Thus - you haven't seen OS X 10.5 Leopard yet, at least not the parts of Leopard that really matter. I don't think Apple cares to repeat it's mid-nineties history and I think Apple (Jobs particularly) believes that MS could, at any time, delay Vista again for any reason. Even if MS shoulders another beating in the press, it realistically doesn't matter because Windows customers will essentially have no choice but to sit around and wait a little longer. Leopard and it's copy-proof TOP SECRETS™ will wait until Vista is released (or so close that it's impossible to stop) and then release Leopard. And when they do, Jobs will be able to pull out the taillights slide once again and tell his next keynote audience that the competition is still looking at Apple's taillights, and no one will have any reason to disagree. If you think all of this is just raging Apple fanboyism, well, think different. You need to understand Jobs.