There was a lovely surprise waiting for me after I returned from university this afternoon. In the back of my head and of other Mac geeks out there lingered only one thought – we were patiently waiting to see what Leopard was all about…and here we are!

I gotta say I enjoyed the keynote and really understand why Apple is keeping everything under wraps. Our friends at Redmond seemed to have caught on the ‘photocopying bug’ – as made aware at WWDC ’06 and in this industry it’s all about getting to market first. Props Apple.

Out of the 10 applications demonstrated today there were no major surprises like how Spotlight was when it was released with Tiger (10.4). It’s almost as if I anticipated some of these and knew they were coming. Their addition is nonetheless worth the while.

Take Time Machine for instance. It was only last night I was thinking of upgrading to a new external hard drive to replace my aging Iomega which just can’t handle my gigabytes worth of music and photos, and now here comes Apple with a really easy and may I add resilient way of backing up all those files. And as is always the case with them, they went the extra mile and allowed anything to be backed up e.g. iCal and iPhoto content.

The other cool thing was Spaces. I had been thinking of this for such a long time. It’s a bit like what we could with some Firefox extensions which allowed you to save a set of pages and switch back and forth from them given you had enough RAM. Definitely something worth looking forward to.

The mystical thing (if you will) about Apple is that they can release one small little feature and the rate at which its sucked up by the media is always phenomenal. Let’s take the realist’s perspective, under all the glossy Aqua icons…Photobooth just doesn’t count as innovation material yet Jobs’ show is so good it always turns up being so, so out-of-this-world.

Thanks to Jean Paul a couple of weeks ago I got to know about this truly impressive application for Mac OS X (Tiger and above) called Cover Flow.

Ever since music became computer based and people began storing music on their PCs or Macs a part of the visual experience of collecting music became lost but now it’s back with this new application that allows you to view your albums by their covers instead of just song titles and album names.

The application has a kind of Front Row feel, perhaps even more simpler than it and inspired by iChat AV. Read the description over here

It’s changed the way I listen to and organize music. In fact, after switching to Mac, my music experience has become somewhat more enjoyable. In the past I used to encode entire albums using the LAME MP3 codec and Exact Audio Copy (Secure Mode). But now, I use the iTunes Music Store to buy only those songs which I really like.

This also makes transferring and organizing music on my iPod a real piece of cake. No more browsing through thousands of tracks because I was too lazy to create playlists.

In terms of audio quality, it’s reasonable but I wish I could have the sound processing Foobar2000 offers (running my other music library) that the iPod + iTunes doesn’t have.

But generally I’m quite excited about this product because it gives us non-Front Row users a chance to enjoy some flexibility as well. This is the kind of stuff this blog likes to see.