I was one of the first people to find out about Mac OS X Leopard's new features, by accidentally stumbling upon Apple's website just as they had updated it. I was not, however, one of the first people to aquire it, having just gotten it a few days ago. But let me tell you, it has a fairly low minimum system requirement, it's shiny, it's amazing, and it's worth the price tag. If you want to know what makes it so worth it, read on my friend.
PART 1 - Why do you keep insisting that it's shiny?
And why indeed? Well, as the screenshot I uploaded clearly demonstrates, many things have changed since Mac OS X Tiger. First of all, not only has the slippery plastic look of the whole operating system been replaced with a more soothing, almost brushed metal look, but the Finder itself has gotten an iTunes style overhaul. When I say iTunes style, I mean that the sidebar has taken on the "Small Icons with Text under Catagory Headers" sort of look that iTunes has been sporting for a while. This is a good thing for mankind. Also, the icons for folders have been made cleaner and simpler than their vividly blue, striped ancestors. The dock is three dimensional and appears to be made of a very shiny sort of metal that reflects all the icons, windows, and desktop background above it. There are clever new desktop backgrounds and screensavers (I recommend the "Aurora" background and the "Arabesque" screensaver). And all of this shininess seems to have no extra cost on the system (unlike a certain recently released Windows operating system). In fact, Leopard seems to run faster than Tiger. Apple gets an A-check-plus in the graphics department.
PART 2 - So, what about new features?
Leopard has tons of new features built right into it. I'll start with an easy one. Remember that cool "Photo Booth" application that comes with Macs that have iSight cameras? Well, it can take 4-ups and video clips (with sound) now. It also allows you to set a background behind yourself (make sure you don't blend in too much with the REAL background though), and change the amount of distortion that those neat spirally and pinch effects do. Moving on to more practical things, shared computers show up in that aforementioned sidebar, so there's no waiting around in the Network folder waiting for them to show up. They're always there, waiting for you need to access them. Now, Apple has this cool thing called Stacks, where a bunch of your icons pile on top of each other in the dock (near the trash can). When you click on the stack, it fans out over your desktop in a fancy looking way. This is quite useful to get quick access to folders and files you use often. Apple also added "Cover Flow View" to the Finder, which also comes from iTunes. A final, quite amazing, feature in Leopard is Quick Look. Select any icon; a movie, music file, picture, presentation, document - and press the spacebar. It opens instantly in the Finder to let you preview it at full (as far as I can tell) quality. No opening of programs, no load time, no matter what kind of file. It's that cool.
PART 3 - There's always SOMETHING wrong, right?
Well, yes. Leopard seems to have one solitary downfall to me. That would be the fact that it is incompatible with Photoshop 7 (and likely other older programs as well). Uh, that's the only bad thing I've taken note of as of yet. Go out and get this amazing operating system NOW (if you haven't already). If you have a PC, go get a Mac. Seriously, get with the times.